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Don't leave politics to others

15 August 2013

I HAVE just returned from my holidays. This year I visited Romania. Bucharest is a fascinating place to visit.

In 1989, when the Iron Curtain fell and communism was defeated, it was Romania which was the scene of the most brutal revolution. It culminated in the execution of the dictator Nicolas Ceausescu and his wife, Elena.

This was all less than 25 years ago and what strikes you is just how engaged people are with politics. Because people realise that politics is important.

Before the revolution, people lived in fear, their freedoms were curtailed, they lived in poverty as the dictator robbed the people to build his palace. Today Romania is free. It is a freedom the people appreciate because it was denied them for so long.

We are fortunate in this country that we enjoy the freedoms we have, but many of us take these freedoms for granted. It is profoundly depressing that fewer people engage in the political process and the number of people who even bother to vote is in decline.

In some ways this is because the Conservatives won the battle of ideas in the Eighties, with the result that political debate is in the middle ground and politicians all look and sound the same.

The passion in our politics engendered by the battles between right and left has gone and with it public interest.

There is considerable cynicism about politics. The yah-boo of so much of our political debate is a massive turn-off for so many people who have real things to worry about and who perceive politicians as more interested in point-scoring than fixing the country.

The fact is your politicians do have beliefs and are determined to make the world a better place.

My message is if you have beliefs, get involved. This country would be a better place if more people were engaged in the political process. Politics is too important to leave to everyone else


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