"I was writing something on Twitter the other night and my wife, ever the voice of caution (unless shopping), says to me, "you want to be careful..."The Gist, of what followed, was that I should be cautious not to risk offending any potential voters by saying what I actually thought. Because what I thought was phrased 'exuberantly' or might not meet with universal agreement.
The thing about blogs, facebook, Twitter and such things is that you don't know who might be listening. The thing about my approach is, I don't care.
The thing about being an elected representative is that people say this to you all the time. It's like a constitutional requirement that after you are elected you have to be slightly dishonest. You have to think about everything you say and decide if it is 'politically' correct to say it. I hate giving in to that. I believe that what people want in the new politics is open honest talk. I think people want to hear what we think and whether they always agree with us or not, they will know when they hear us, they are hearing us being honest.
It is no surprise that people are so cynical about politicians speaking when they hear a constant stream of the least controversial drivel from them.I think it is why we have so many of the new breed of politician who can't or daren't argue their case anymore. Because by shying away from saying something that other people might disagree with, they have lost the skill of debate. I understand that not everyone will agree with me, not everyone will vote for me, I'm not losing sleep over that.
I just want people to know that they can trust me and that they will know enough about the way I think to know what decisions I might make on their behalf. And in the world of open honest communication with them, they can tell me what they think too.
And I know that I'm not always right, pretending that I'm not normal is another insult to the voters. When we aren't prepared to make mistakes and admit them we are setting ourselves above the normal people we represent. I have a bit more respect for them.
I keep hearing that politicians need to be more transparent. I think the public can see straight through us already. Time to accept it. If I'm wrong it will cost me an election, but it will be the people who decide. As it should be. I'm not going to pretend to be someone else to steal their vote under false pretences. Those days are over. And good riddance to them."
As the sharper amongst you might have worked out from the reference to the wife, the above wasn't written by me, but by a guest blogger, the unfeasibly tall Cllr Tim from Barnsley. Although not strictly a guest blogger because I just lifted it from his site without asking him.