This is an introductory post for a new political blog – politics for beginners. There are three main reasons for this name, relating to the kind of posts we intend to write.
Firstly, information has never been so freely available as it is now, including information about how our rulers and would be rulers organise themselves. Post-election exposes from high-ranking members of the Tory and Labour Parties are fairly typical and normal actions, not seen as a betrayal of the party as they once would be. Most major political figures, and a large number of campaigners, are active on social media, allowing people the length and breadth of the country to get involved in what would once have been an elite level of political discussion.
And yet, it’s incredibly difficult for the ordinary person to know which sources to trust, which to dismiss as propaganda. Data on how our political systems operate has never been so freely available, but meaning is still hard to grasp within all the noise.
In dealing with complicated political issues, it’s very difficult to know which potential rulers are the least untrustworthy, and who the few good politicians fighting the good fight really are. One of the main aims of this blog will be to try and give people a foothold in the political world, before moving on to smarter writers than ourselves.
The second meaning is that we feel very much like beginners ourselves. Although we’ve always taken an interest in political issues, we’re regularly overwhelmed in one way or another.
Over the past couple of years, as well as learning the practicalities of being involved in an election campaign, we’ve been re-examining opinions, often not coming to a definite conclusion. As a result, we’re very much aware of our own limitations as political thinkers, trying to bring the various contradictory ideas rattling around in our brains into some sort of coherence. We’ll be writing in part to establish for our own benefit what we believe to be the truth on a range of issues. Polite debates in the comments section will be welcomed.
The third reason behind the blog’s name is that we find the Buddhist idea of ‘beginners’ mind’ very useful. Basically, the concept (shoshin) is that a person should aim to retain the open-mindedness that comes with having no preconceptions, even as they delve deeper and deeper into a subject. Retaining a beginners’ mind means that false certainties and apparently self-evident truths are less likely to limit a person’s thinking. Beginners’ mind shouldn’t go as far as ignoring previous evidence, but in a political world that’s confusing and rapidly changing, we think it’s worthwhile to constantly re-examine what we ‘know’ to be true. Hopefully by examining modern political assumptions at base level, this blog will encourage it’s readers to re-examine beliefs that have previously gone unexamined. We will, of course, try to re-examine any beliefs of our own that commenters believe to be inaccurate.
To make our political beliefs and biases clear up-front, we are both low-level members of the Green Party. However, we’re at such a level of obscurity that we’re unlikely to ever get financial benefit through the party, and unless you know us personally there’s pretty much no chance you’ll recognise our names. We have no interest in getting into politics as a career, but we’re dissatisfied with a range of powerful people and institutions.
We’re meek people, so we’re a little reluctant to open ourselves up for potential abuse by sticking our heads above the parapet into the political line of fire. We’re also wary of acting like jerks when we’re disappointed that friends and family members don’t share viewpoints that we consider obvious, given that politics is obviously a high-stakes matter.
So we’re writing anonymously as a way of easing ourselves in to political blogging, although our approach may change in time. (Or we may totally abandon this blog as an awful idea within a few months.)
We’ve decided to set up promotional accounts on various platforms (WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), so if you feel that anything we create is worth sharing (and that’s a big if) feel free to do so.