Arrogant and Condescending

Don’t tolerate your local politicians and representatives who have an attitude problem

Arriving at the council offices of the borough in which I live, you can tell they inhabit a world of their own—a sort of enclave insulated from the nitty-gritty of the outside world by landscaped gardens and reserved parking spots. As you enter the lofty, double-height “atrium”, you are greeted by a towering vitrine filled with trophies and trinkets which attest to the authority’s supposed greatness and put you, the mere citizen, in your place. This sense of grandiosity seems to have afflicted the councillors and bureaucrats who live under that roof, manifest in the outward haughtiness, pomposity and gross indifference to people’s concerns they display.

I write this now following a recent planning case which represented something extremely negative in the eyes of many and provoked the formation a major campaign in opposition to it. The application made it to committee and, among the many asinine comments and assertions made by the panel, one line (aimed at the campaigners) stuck in my mind in particular:

“Where were [you] five years ago[…]? And why is it [only] now that [you] are coming to light?”

I see :— so what you’re saying, Mr Councillor, is that because the campaign group happened not to exist in the first instance of this scenario’s drawn-out history, their opinion is now therefore invalid? And, because your minds have (evidently) long-since been made up, no additional commentary is relevant anymore? Wonderful!

At the moment I am in the process of setting-up a local group aimed at promoting the betterment of the area. It is hard work — it takes time to assemble people, scrape together resources and plan the next movements and, unfortunately, there have been times when we should have been there to respond to certain issues but (for one reason or another) were not able to. Owing to that I anticipate that we will likewise be subject to the same sort of petty hole-picking and will likely be asked the same question of “where were you at such-and-such a time when this happened before?”

Were we confronted with this feeble attempt at detraction by a town hall egghead I suppose my response (as campaign director) would be that, at the time, we were bumbling around individually with the naive idea in our heads that the council and its staff were there working for us — on our behalf and using their authoritative powers to tangibly improve our area and ward-off detrimental development. One might add that it was because of the apparent failings of the council that we saw fit to form our own collective in response. Finally, I would sharply remind them that they are, by definition, public servants who are supported by public money; we on the other hand work on a voluntary basis and are not paid to fulfil duties full-time. Indeed, since these people are servants, they would be mistaken to believe that they have any given right to belittle us as members of the public.

So, in brief:

  • Don’t tolerate your local politicians and representatives who have an attitude problem.
  • Don’t let them scrutinise and pick apart your credibility as an organisation—ring them up on their credibility as servants to their community (the very thing which represents their livelihood).
  • If you are bold enough, explain that it is because of their failure to represent the people in the past that you are here representing them today.
  • If you are bold and smart enough, dissect their decision-making process and compare it against their own drafted policy on the matter, using quotations to demonstrate their hypocrisy but all the while making sure that your quotes are relevant to the case.

You might consider reading Arthur Schopenhauer’s The Art of Being Right (1831) in preparation.

— Gavril Postnikov

Excellent and well written analysis by Gavril Postnikov of the workings of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor and the contempt they have for the local community.

The ignorant jobsworths and councillors tend to forget, they are there to serve the local community, not the other way around.

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