Connecting with you – ordinary people.

A moderate irritation for me is politicians and commentators talking about ‘connecting with the public’ (or ordinary people). We’ve had a good dose of that just lately. All too often what this actually amounts to is talking the way the ordinary people are supposed to talk and, of course, avoid mentioning them having to pay extra for anything. In many ways I welcome a more fragmented politics but that does have the drawback of more politicians all crowding in to connect with the public.

At one time it was easy to expect, or at least hope, that experts could advise politicians and run everything in between elections, rather on the Schumpeter model of democracy. Some people still hanker after that, although the disasters of American neo-conservatism (notice all the ‘neo-‘ these days!) should have put most of them off. Even with prediction and forecasting, the speciality of experts and touchstone of science, the various elites of modernity have proved all too fallible. That, I suggest, is why everyone from politicians to comedians now has to connect with you – the ordinary people – right or wrong. There may be different ways of doing this; the so-called ‘neoliberals’ (economic liberals) tell us markets always connect with you better than anything else whereas what used to be the ‘Left’ still want us all connected into the community. But all, except perhaps the Arab monarchies, claim to be democrats and to listen to the people. I agree, if only because there’s no alternative.


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