Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A deadening of feeling....

Just watching the excellent Ian Hislop's "Stiff Upper Lip : An Emotional History of Britain" and had a bit of a PING moment.

He refers to Wellington, in his chart of how we ended up such an emotionally repressed nation - in part as a counterpoint to the dreadful French of course - but this is fascinating

Wellington "I always say that next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained. Not only do you lose those dear friends with which you've been living, but you are forced to leave the wounded behind you. Of course you do the best for them, but how little that is. Every feeling is deadened"

And, as Hislop goes on to say - "it was that very deadening of feeling that Wellington decided was essential, if you were to answer the calls of duty, or public service."

This is especially evocative as a symbolic moment in Wellington destroying his violin - the playing of which he was very good at - by throwing it in the fire. He felt it would get in the way of him winning battles.

How many of us as politicos are throwing away what we consider our "violins" in order to "win battles"? How many of us are deadening our feelings in order to move onto the next doorstep, or to win this election or that one? Does it help?

And crucially - does it help the voters relate to us or do they think we're more out of touch and not like them than ever? 

Maybe that might get the attention of politicos more than focussing on the damage it's doing their own emotional health. Never let it be said I don't know my audience. ;)

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