Weathercocks vs. Signposts

Direction Signs With Weather Vane Outline Silhouette Illustration

Gotta love the refreshing honesty of Mhairi Black, youngest member of the UK House of Commons.

Wrapping up her maiden speech, she quoted Tony Benn’s analogy of weathercocks and signposts in politics.

Weathercocks spin in whatever direction the winds of public opinion blow. Benn gave the example of a politician who gave up everything he believed in to get power. In the end, no one believed him about anything.

Signposts, on the other hand, stay true to their direction and principles. A politician who is a signpost say what they mean, do not use spin, and make their positions clear so that people know what they stand for. Of course, a signpost has to be pointing in the right direction too if it is to be valuable, but that is another story.

The same could be said of how we live our lives. In our speech and behaviour, are we more like weathercocks or signposts?

Do we say what we believe and what we mean, or endlessly worry about appearing politically correct and socially acceptable?

Do people know what we stand for(not just against)?

Are we pointing people towards what is good, truthful, loving and just – or away?

Serena Low