Steven Poole has a short review of Colin Hay’s Why We Hate Politics (Polity, £14.99) in today’s Guardian. Poole summarises Hay’s argument thus: the reason for declining interest in politics is not public apathy, but instead lies in the behaviour of politicians themselves.
“Politicians themselves, he points out, have been notably energetic in “depoliticising” large swathes of public life: privatising utilities, handing interest-rate control to the Bank of England, and so on. Thatcher and Reagan operated under the sway of “public choice theory”, which argues that governments can’t do much of anything very successfully, so why should the voters be blamed for agreeing? Indeed the stereotype of politicians as incompetent and corrupt buffoons, Hay argues, is extremely convenient for politicians themselves.”
There’s an interview with Colin Hay, about the book, from the BBC’s Bookmark programme (Realplayer required).