Can British politics be described as a “contact sport”?

Can British politics be described as a “contact sport”?

Is the American view of us fair?

Paul Waugh in the Evening Standard has picked up on the cover article in the latest Time Magazine which is headed “Why Britain wants to see the back of Gordon Brown”. It’s well worth the read and interesting to see how this all looks from an American perspective.

One interesting quote from the piece is this one in which British politics are described as a “contact sport” – something I’ve never heard it called before.

“..Connecting with voters after 12 years in government isn’t easy. In a society such as Britain, where politics is a contact sport, every crunching tackle covered by a breathless and indefatigable national media, the bonds between the public and their elected leaders inevitably fray over time. But connecting with voters who believe politicians to be corrupt, venal and self-obsessed is an even taller order. And that is now Labour’s task. The party has endured a long, slow decline, but its current crisis was triggered by one of the greatest press exposés of the modern age…”

The picture of “every crunching tackle” being covered by “a breathless and indefatigable national media” has some truth in it. We do see it as a mighty gladiatorial fight which, I suppose, is one of the reason that sites like are flourishing.

I’m always amazed by the almost reverential way that the US media usually deals with its political leaders.

People might bemoan what happens here this but that is how it is and unless political leaders can adjust their style to the core environment then they probably won’t prosper.

Mike Smithson

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