Saturday, 20 November 2010

Putting the ‘p’ into politics

Politics with a big ‘P’ is the arena of political decision making and its associated organisations and institutions.  Westminster, your local council, the European Union.  These are all big ‘P’.  The party  politics as reported through broadcast and print media is almost always big ‘P’ and is one reason why many claim a lack of interest in anything political.

politics with a little ‘p’ can be roughly defined as relationship in which a power relation exists.  That is, any situation in which one person, organisation or institution exerts influence over another. The relation between husband and wife, teacher and pupil, advertiser and consumer, these are all little ‘p’.  This carries it way beyond concerns of left vs. right, Labour vs. Tory, concerned as it is with ‘big’ concepts and philosophical positions.

The significance is that, although my ramblings and observations will cross into both the realms of the little and big ‘p’, I make the claim that the world cannot be understood via the big ‘P’ alone, the problems of our world reside in the former whilst the solutions originate in the latter.  Ignorance, deliberate or otherwise, of this fundamental principle may well explain why those who practice big ‘P’ Politics often fail to tackle the underlying problems that vex them.

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