As I walked through the picturesque setting of Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham (not the American one), exhausted from the fatiguing task of doing nothing all day other than watching ‘Breaking Bad’ my mind turned to my birthday. 21 on Thursday. Not that there’ll much to the celebrations, or even much of an expectancy to how it will turn out. As far as I’m concerned, I turn 21. That’s the end of it. I don’t really have very good birthday parties; I sort of want to have a decent one; but then again I’ve come to expect very little. The reality is the last few months have engulfed me in a semi-nihilism where I’m guided more by my desire to escape from the clutches of the usual monotony of family politics and routines, thanks to my recent, thankfully temporary return back home from university, than anything else. But, whilst I feebly lugged myself around the park, my thoughts turned to my future; in the emotional sense - yes, but more towards my ambitions and the way I wish to lay my mark on this remarkable planet of ours. I do not want to be remembered for being a ‘snollygoster’: noun (slang) One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than being consistent, respectable principles.
What a remarkable word. I’m surprised I heard of it in my lifetime if I’m honest. It seems almost too perfect to be true. Guided by personal advantage. If, I ever do go on to achieve the political aims and goals I maintain that I will one day achieve, “personal advantage” is certainly a principle that I hope is not my guiding policy. As ambiguous as the term is in understanding our political sphere today the truth of the matter is that I want to be ethical, respectful, tempered, shrewd, relatable, and above all, successful in delivering a better life to citizens both domestically and internationally. But I will never manage this feat on my own. I won’t be able to pass the first barrier on my own. If I was a certain Al-Assad however, I would wield a certain level of power that would not require that I satisfy the needs of my people at all. I could do as I pleased, when I pleased. Good or bad. Whatever I chose, it would be so provided I had the resources. Though I say what you see you already: such is the nature of a dictatorship.
And here in England, we certainly do not live in a dictatorship, or at least not in the inextricably obvious sense of the Mubarak’s and Assad’s of this world. Here, in the tiny islands of the British Isles we carved up the world that we know of today and once upon a time impinged a degree of authoritarianism on the people we crossed and made it known what the Great British Empire was (please bellow the term ‘Great British Empire’, in a deep, momentous voice). And what has this Great British Empire climaxed up to? Prime Minister Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Clegg. Oh dear. Well…something went wrong along the way.
Snollygosters in Government. My inescapable determination to be a force of positivity and progress in the UK’s polity. Assad’s dictatorship in Syria. What’s the link? Well, here I imagine you expect some intellectual and concise amalgamation of my ramblings to tie up what has been a fairly enigmatic piece so far. So here it is: you are politics. You, the very person reading this are the literal definition of politics. Notice the italics on literal. You, with all your breathing, your eating, your sleeping and drinking and blogging. You are politics. It is you that is the subject of some form of article. It is you that will wake up in the morning to read the detestable excuses for truth in the media. It is you that will hold Governments to account. It is I who will strive to educate myself and drive a change in this country. It is the Egyptians who will return to the streets when Morsi is either bringing about undesirable change or is being hindered by the military sharply taking their last breaths. And it will be the Syrians who decide the fate of their country and they are nothing more than a collection of individuals. Collections of people just like you.
The news of Syria’s attempts to down another of Turkey’s planes, was I must admit, surprising. I did wonder how stupid they had to be. But I was suddenly filled with a fear that the inevitable drew closer. That those who held significant power would intervene over those who did not. And it wasn’t that I was frightened at the prospect of hundreds and thousands of lives potentially being saved. It wasn’t even that I was frightened the West would attempt to instil their own MNC’s and agents in Syria to make sure that it genuflected to their demands. My fear was that, we the people, would be silenced. That our whispers would be pulled from our larynxes and contained in the box which the snollygosters empty after their customary, mundane, rehashed, bureaucratic, robotised media responses to their seemingly dictator-esque choices. It’s not a case of whether it’s right or wrong to intervene in Syria. It’s a case of whether you the individual, you the literal definition of politics will make your voice heard or whether you’ll allow it to be lost in the inextricable darkness of the box of the snollygosters.