So who are we? And where are we?
We are the people – composed of various tribes – who built the biggest empire in the history of our small potato world. So we are not insignificant when the day of reckoning comes.
We are the British. But we are currently bitterly divided – and there is deep political malaise here and disillusionment with the way things are run.
You know things are quite desperate when the BBC takes the political posturing of unfunny comedian Russell Brand seriously. It was deliciously embarrassing to see him interviewed, post-Paxman, on Newsnight. Embarrassing for the BBC, I mean. Brand himself is clearly way too deluded to feel anything like embarrassment.
Next May there'll be a General Election in the UK. Who will we choose? Which party? More importantly, which human being will we choose to lead us?
Lim-Dem Leader Nick Clegg is, by his mannerisms alone, eminently slappable, so it's no surprise that his personal ratings are so low.
What is a little surprising, perhaps, is that the leader of a major political party, Labour, is even more unpopular with voters. Or maybe not …
Now, I’m a card-carrying member of the Labour party. (That’s all I do, mind. I carry the card in my wallet. I do not respond to the condescending emails which the party sends me, asking me to get involved and donate ever more money to the cause.)
Part of my reason for not getting involved with Labour in the run-up to the General Election is the pisspoor quality of the current Labour Leader, Ed Milliband. He’s a dork from Central Casting, frankly, and anyway I simply can’t trust a man who stabbed his real-life brother in the back, politically.
I don’t know how things will shake out when we get to vote, when we all get to be free for just for a day and vote for a new British Government. No-one seems to know, frankly …
Another part of my reason for disengaging with the political system is the system itself – representative liberal democracy within the context of global capitalism. It just doesn’t work properly any more.
But it's all we’ve got at the moment – so we really ought to make ourselves engage with politics, even if only as a kind of duty until we work out a better way of organising human affairs.
Human beings need laws and law-makers. As philosophers have rightly observed, between the angels and the wild beasts, there is the law.
Law – based on the moral values handed down to us – is the only thing that can keep us relatively safe; stop us tearing each other apart, following selfish instincts. We can enjoy freedom under the law within nations.
Hmmm … The ‘within nations’ bit has, of course, become a little complicated in this era of rapacious capitalism and ‘controversial ‘international law’ (which often takes a secular, proscriptive and unpleasantly ‘liberal-fascist’ view of the world).
And for me, a desire to promote the common good and to respect the dignity of all human life is also very important. Those are the two main aims of Catholic social teaching, as it happens, but don’t let that put you off.
Soon enough we British, in all our multi-ethnic and argumentative messiness (including the Scots), have to choose a government and as part of that, a leader for our disunited nation.
And, believe me, nations, do need leaders.
Even when politics has become such a game, not to mention a role-playing TV-focussed circus, it's hard to forget old party allegiances and focus our minds instead on our country’s potential leaders; the men and (in a few cases) the women who lead our political parties.
Over time one gets a gut feeling about politicians, I think. You decide whether you can tolerate the cut of their jibs.
Ed Milliband, sorry, you’re absolutely intolerable; ditto Nick Clegg. UKIP’s Nigel Farage?! You’re having a laugh!
David Cameron, the Tory Leader, I judge is probably OK in terms of jib-cutting it and general trustworthiness. I don’t really care that he’s a toff – but then I‘m unlikely to vote for him … because I don’t on principle vote Tory. And I can’t see that changing before the general election.
Frankly, I rather wish that some good woman political leaders would emerge in the major political parties. But I just can’t think of any right now that would command support from the public.
Theresa May might have been good, but here role in messing up the appointment of a chairperson for the inquiry into the Home Office’s handling of child abuse allegations has effectively ruled her out. Plus her dress sense is dodgy – talk about mutton dressed as mutton!
Esther McVey (Tory glamourpuss) and Harriet Harman (Labour)? Well I’ve met both of them personally and I’m not impressed.
One politician who does come across well via television is Jim Murphy, now standing as Labour’s new leader in Scotland. Hope he gets it. He seems an intelligent and serious man. I wish he were standing for leader of the Labour Party UK-wide. He’d definitely get my vote.
PS Ed Milliband, do the decent thing and resign as Labour leader. Do it NOW!