Dalai Oliver

What with the ongoing eurozone crisis, G8 summits and NATO confabs, politicians from around the world continue to dominate the headlines – but things don’t seem to be getting any better. Amid all that hot air, though, were a couple of nice pearls of wisdom in the past week. Both suggested salvation from beyond the world of politics.

At a press conference on the occasion of his receipt of the Templeton prize, the Dalai Lama blamed last summer’s riots on young people “being brought up to believe that life was just easy. Life is not easy. If you take for granted that life will be easy, then anger develops, frustration and riots.”

Indeed. Politicians spend a lot of time promising to make life easy, alleviate risk and absolve individuals from the consequences of their behaviour.

Meanwhile, in a BBC interview prompted by the government’s scrapping of nutritional regulations for school lunches, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver said “I’ve given up on politics. My focus for the next 15 years is business and people. That is where the hope is. Governments are too short term. They’re too transient…They really don’t understand. There’s a political agenda but when you make these changes there’s very physical things that happen that they know nothing about which is very dangerous.”

Indeed, again. Jamie will probably be more successful spreading the gospel of healthy eating as a businessman than as a lobbyist.

Both express a sentiment reflected in the UK’s recent local elections when just less than a third of the electorate bothered to vote. That was the real news in the election – the vast majority of the population recognize that the government is just irrelevant to most of their needs and aspirations.

Whatever politicians may say and promise, life is not easy and they’re unreliable partners.