Thursday, 14 June 2007

In an Idle World

I was recently asked by a friend about another mutual friend’s political ideology. In those words. Not ‘what party does he vote for?’ Not something about how he feels about Mr Blair’s impending departure. He asked ‘what’s his political ideology?’

I wasn’t really sure how to answer. I’m not a total moron, but have that wonderfully inbred lack of confidence talking about such subjects from bad schooling and a fear of misunderstanding the maturity/fun balance ratio. I read the Economist most weeks – I even subscribe – and get most of my sense of news from this.

I’m sure Mr Blair would be upset to know though, that if I were honest I would say that I read the Economist for snippets of news, sound-bite factoids and the like. In fact, I think that the nature of how accessible news is, how quickly it moves and the frequency at which it is repeated and replaced means that most people don’t or can’t really follow the news in its totality. The problem is that most news stories refer back to something that happened in an earlier episode, and without a fuller understanding of world history, leave one feeling only half informed.

I imagine that in the future newspapers will be done away with as we know them – partly because of the lack of natural resources, the eletronicisation of everything and just time really – instead we will be lucky if we see a four page, three dimensional object, beamed straight into our minds. The front page will just contain a single word, either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to set the general mood of the day. The second will contain stories and pictures about celebrities and soap stars. The third the television listings - in fact television won’t exist in the same way, we will read about programmes, and then store them on vast hard drives to maybe actually watch one day in the future. Finally, of course the back page will be about sport.

Back to politics.

I’m not sure I could answer what my political ideology was, let alone a friend’s. I’ve never voted for the same party twice, partly because I just want to see if it would do anything, partly that I almost hope that the parties would court my vote, put some effort in and offer me something for my precious tick in the right box.

I would probably fit into something along the lines of ‘cynical, realist, conspiracist’ – a handy model that you fit to any situation, lend it half a sense that you might know but that you can’t go into it here/can’t be bothered to go through this again/hate them all for this very reason.

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