The FT Weekend has an interesting interview with Kevin Rudd, Australia's foreign minister and ex-PM. At the end of the article, he says:
“I believe in politics for the two questions it asks of us. One is, ‘What do you stand for and why?’ And the second is, ‘Do you know what you are talking about?’”
In posing those two questions, Rudd sums up what I believe politics should be about. No, he hasn't painted the whole picture. After what Rudd cryptically describes as "the events of June 24" last year, he might have added the abilities to keep up basic relationships with colleagues, manage factions, count heads and see around corners.
But after more than 30 years' involvement in politics, in two countries, I have come across a lot of politicians who could do the transactional bits but couldn't answer the questions that Rudd poses. Fortunately, I've also come across a few who stand for something and know why and who understand what they are talking about. I'm clearer than ever about which is more important.