A smoke plume rises from lower Manhattan September 11, 2001 in this photo taken from space on the International Space Station (ISS) and released by NASA on September 11, 2011. REUTERS/ISS Expedition 3 Commander Frank L. Culbertson/NASA

From the Greek, politics means “of, for, or relating to citizens” and is the practice and theory of influencing other people. Everyone in this country is affected by the decisions made at Whitehall, whether it be the reduction in the welfare cap, the introduction of a “snooper’s charter”, or any other policy. The impact of these decisions means that citizens have a duty to be politically engaged and scrutinise what the government is doing, even if doesn’t affect them directly. By contributing to the conversation you are doing that.

You won’t have a massive effect, but you shouldn’t have; you are one in 65 million. Actually, you are one in 7 billion; we also have a responsibility to scrutinise what our government is doing in other countries, and what other governments are doing. And besides, the consensual politics we normally have in this country can be relatively boring (although that seems to have changed).

Be open-minded and willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence; strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true; and think about others’ perspectives. And heed the words of Christopher Hitchens: “Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.”

Original opinions are preferable to news. Ideas can and should be more interesting than people.

Enjoy the blog.

Joe McKenzie – Politics Editor


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