Who’d be a politician? With expenses fiddles getting harder the pay is well below your going rate in the outside world, you are assumed to be an idiot or out for your own selfish goals, and on Twitter and elsewhere extraordinary abuse rains down on you.
And every few years, you have to pitch to keep your job in an election. Which is fine, until you realise that the only winning strategy is to lie, and lie hard.
Take the economy, for example. In almost every developed country the last 30-40 years have seen a horrible stagnation of living standards for most of the population. Left wing or right wing government? Makes no difference as the reasons why this is happening are all global (there are a few billion people in developing countries willing and able to do a significant proportion of the West’s jobs for a fraction of the wage rate) and there ain’t nothing going to stop it.
Sure you can inflate the economy in the short run, governments have been doing that since democracy began: boom before the election, bust after it; tax cuts before it, tax increases afterwards… But that’s hardly a responsible way to run the economy, creating huge debt levels that will hang over your successor’s rein (yes you, Mr Blair!).
As for the things that might actually make a difference like education or health, these are institutions so huge, and so hard to influence and manage, that little is going to improve over the course of a parliament. And voters pretty much insist that you don’t change anything anyway.
So yes it might be fun to be a politician for a while, and making it to Prime Minister has its benefits (lucrative speaking tours await you after you get fired), but once you’ve done that for a few years, why stick around? I bet Sam Cam is hoping she’ll get her husband back rather than have him go through the mill of public abuse for another term.