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EDITORIAL – Dirty side of campaign

marciadottin, [email protected]

EDITORIAL – Dirty side of campaign

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ONE OF?THE prevalent, but unfortunate aspects of political campaigns is the negative language used. This is expected given the cut and thrust of electoral politics where the aim usually is to minimize the opponent in the eyes of the voters, along with promoting your case and your position.
 Because winning is everything, the ends, it seems, justify whatever tactics are deemed necessary to succeed.
The language becomes very muscular; very ugly, very undignified, very lacking in honour.
Given this we have heard individuals, some of whom are honourable members of Parliament, being referred to as thieves, scoundrels, vagabonds, frauds, scallywags, idiots, clowns, and even profane terms that are not printable. And some of those making these statements are sitting, would have sat, or have aspirations to become a member of that elite group.
We consider such behaviour degrading and unbecoming of the moral standards we hold so dear in this country, and which we consistently seek to inculcate in our youngest citizens. This crass speech is more associated too with uneducated individuals who have to resort to such language because of the limitations of their vocabulary.
As those individuals guilty of making such statements are usually supposed to be well-educated – certainly well-certificated –  it can only be construed that their actions are deliberate, and they only persist in doing it because they think the crowd expects it and would accept it. As such, these lowly tactics have become the rule rather than the exception.
Does this seeming widespread acceptance of this behaviour suggest that we consider such methods part of our political culture and an essential element of our politicking?
We shudder to think it is.
We take issue with the crude invectives that have been hurled like missiles back and forth by the competing political parties in this St John
by-election. It is this type of behaviour that discourages people of merit who have the skill and competence to serve this country to shy away from politics.
We believe that politicians, as leaders and policymakers in our society, need to set the right example in their every word and deed. As representatives or aspiring representatives of the people, they should be able to be admired for their fine oratorical skills and the work done in their communities, rather than feared for their sharp and dirty tongues.
As such, politicians should be able to state their differences clearly on their respective platforms without pulling one another into the gutter or engaging in character assassination.
We therefore add our voice to those who have condemned this practice, and we appeal that good sense and clean speech will prevail for the rest of this by-election campaign.