How often to those involved in British politics hear the words "you're all the same- just in it for yourselves"?
The contempt for politics and politicians- never far away even under normal circumstances- seems to have become a mania of hatred- and is irrespective of political party.
I can understand a certain scepticism about what politicians can actually achieve, in fact I think it is healthy, but the hatred of all things political is extremely corrosive and could undermine the very basis of our free society and way of life.
What politicians might do to change perceptions is to inject some courtesy into the way that they interact with each other. If our politicians took each other a bit more seriously, then the yah-boo-shucks of the House of Commons at its worst would not be the fist image that people have of politics, but a rather more serious view.
If we begin to think that politics is irrelevant, then the very fabric of our freedom becomes vulnerable to simple populists and authoritarians. The lack of respect for our constitution and our ancient liberties is at the route of Liberal disagreements with the ethos of both Labour and the Conservatives, but the response that we get is not usually a considered discussion of our criticisms, but an infantile "even if you have a point who cares? You can't win anyway". It is this puerile dismissing of serious arguments (that all parties are guilty of, I admit) that turns off most people from politics.
Most people who are politically active are not selfish or greedy. Many political figures that I profoundly disagree with hold their positions from feelings of deep principle. That there are people in politics like the Wintertons, whose behaviour is rightly condemned, should not distract from the worth of the vast majority of our elected representatives.
So, a resolution for the new political year: I will (try to) engage in argument and not invective.