It is the Opposition’s job to hold the government to account.
The best way to do that is by intelligent criticism of policy and the promotion of viable alternatives.
The easiest way to do it is through personal attacks . But dirty politics is dangerous politics because mud slung usually spatters the slinger too.
Pete George raises this in a post entitled Labour’s Mallardy, Parliament’s Malady:
. . . Political mudslinging is also a major turnoff for a lot of the population outside the political bubbles, and I believe is a significant factor in increasing levels of public apathy towards politics and parliament. Politicians as a group are generally not respected – for good reason.
Most MPs go into parliament with the aim of doing good for the country. Most give it their best shot. Some MPs give the whole group a gutter level reputation through the use of gutter tactics. . .
Most MPs do not deserve the low opinion many hold of them. Unfortunately their business as usual isn’t usually news and we rarely see them doing the bread and butter work of helping constituents and running the country.
In a comment on my previous post, Johnsonmike wrote:
. . . I believe that the massive dumbing down of the media and its obsession with tawdry minor scandals, beat-up crime scares and celebrity mindlessness has brought us to the state of turn-off with politics we are now at. . .
Just as it’s easy politics to attack the person, it’s easy copy for journalists to dwell on the side shows.
There is a line between justifiable criticism and personal attacks. Those who cross it not only find themselves covered in muck, they can find that the public’s sense of fair play is aroused and that interest in the attack changes to sympathy for the attacked.
Hat tip: Keeping Stock: