A Letter from Dartmoor: What it Means to be a Politician
Renew Potential Parliamentary Candidate Dræyk van der Hørn reflects on the definition of political service
This letter is prompted by a friend, Robert W. R. Walker, who recently posted on social media, “The problem with politics is that wanting to be a politician should immediately disqualify you”!
As someone looking at being co-opted as a Parish Councillor and considering my position as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, this gives me pause.
Am I a politician? To be one is currently defined as; being actively involved in the activities, actions, and policies that are used to gain and hold power in a government or to influence a government, or to hold opinions about the management of government.
Well I certainly have opinions. But when asked by the Parish why I wanted to be a part of the Council, what did I say?
I wrote, “I believe in public service, in actively supporting our community to be the best that it can be.”
In this I find myself reflecting on my sheep. My service to them is in food, providing grazing and shelter, keeping them healthy and getting to know them. I won’t postulate on what I think they do for me - that’s their business.
It’s so simple, to take time to get to know them, to see their behaviour, how they recognise me, and notice if I’m sad. Ever had a sheep nudge you then fall asleep on your leg when you had a bad day?
If I can be that person to other humans, how would the world look? To be of service one needs to be able to listen, not just to the clamour of opinion, but listen for something else. It could be listening for how great every human being is and then see how they show up for me? Or simply stop speaking, stop running responses or formulating a “comeback” when someone is speaking to me - this is not listening, and the other person knows it.
So, if there is one thing I will do and keep doing, it is practising this - to listen with no agenda, to hear another speak. To behave as someone with two ears and one mouth, so as to hear twice as much as I say. Then I might be a human being, being. Perhaps then a politician could be defined as; someone actively involved in listening, being of service and assistance in the wellbeing of others.
By Dræyk van der Hørn
Watch Dræyk van der Hørn from his farm in Dartmoor