There is an intensely irritating advertising campaign showing currently on British TV, its cumbersome catchphrase: “If you don’t do politics, there’s not much you do do“. It is run by the Electoral Commission and goes one step beyond explaining to people how to exercise their democratic franchise by promoting “political” interference into almost every aspect of quotidian life.
The animated advert features two men in a pub. The first’s gauche attempt to bring up some tedious manoeuvring in the European parliament is deftly dismissed by the second’s sensible rejoinder that he “doesn’t do politics”. Our statist ‘hero’ is not so easily assuaged however, as each subsequent time the second man complains about various items from pub closing time to sporting achievements, he is pointedly reminded by his friend that he “doesn’t do politics” and thus implicitly isn’t entitled to an opinion on such things. The assumption behind this campaign is that everything that matters – “not much you do do” – ought to be subject to political mediation. In reality, the only reason the pub landlord closes at that specific time is because “politics” forces him to do so. If he “didn’t do politics” so much he might close at a time of his own choosing which may suit him and his customers better.
It is telling that this latest promotion of a society based on political mediation to replace that based on voluntary interaction is not by a political party or a pressure group but by a supposedly independent body. This surely demonstrates the folly of assuming independence as to the proper role and size of government in any body funded by the government.