Tracey publishes non fiction books under the name Tracey Hill. In the first of these, We’re Not All the Same, she challenges many of the common tropes applied to politicians and argues that seeing all politicians in a negative light is inaccurate and damaging to democracy. It’s a short, entertaining book based on her six years serving as a local councillor as well as her time campaigning for the Labour Party in the UK.
“They all promise you everything, then turn up with a barrel full of mud.” Politicians don’t exactly enjoy a positive image. Anger about the people in power is often understandable, but many of these low opinions seem all-inclusive. Can it really be true that all politicians everywhere are lying, corrupt, inept and cowardly?
Campaigner and former councillor Tracey Hill broadens the question to include the many thousands serving as local politicians. In this wry, entertaining book she draws from hotly debated local issues as well as the big national topics to illustrate the barriers this universally negative image throws up between politicians and the people they represent.
She also explores the reasons behind it: the disconnect between voters’ expectations and the power of politicians to deliver, the impact of unremittingly negative news coverage, and the dangers of a desire for simplicity which can be so beguiling.
Condemning every politician damages democracy because it fails to distinguish between good politicians and bad. This lets people off the hook, achieving the opposite of what many critics set out to do, and creates a toxic political discourse which makes society vulnerable to the false promise that things might work better without elected representatives at all.
It’s not exclusively the job of politicians to fix our democracy. Anyone who values living in a system which enables transparency, accountability and choice should read this book.