Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

What if . . . . . . .

Sunday,31 August, 2008

Not all relics of the industrial age are quite as ‘photogenic’ as this old tub!

By now, we are pretty familiar with the principle: ‘the polluter pays’.

Our cars must be disposed of responsibly, we have to pay to get rid of materials containing asbestos, and so on.

But could we, and should we, apply this principle to other aspects of our life?

Here’s a few ideas for starters.

  • There’s a clear link between fatty and sugar laden foods and obesity – which is set to cost our Health Service a fortune in the years to come.  Should such foods attract a special tax, both as a disincentive for consumption, and to make sure those eating these foods meet the total cost resulting from consumption?
  • Late night pubs and clubs spill people onto streets at times when shopkeepers are not around.  It costs money to provide police at this time, taking resources away from previous normal daytime duties.  And if a drunken fracas develops and a shop window gets broken in, it rests with the shopkeepers to answer a call in the early hours, arrange emergency repairs, and then install security shutters.  Should the cost of all this be met by taxing those who run licensed premises which serve areas where these problems occur?
  • People end up in hospital for all sorts of reasons – sometimes as a result of accidents caused by dangerous driving, sometimes because of violent assaults.  Expensive therapy may even be needed to help victims cope with the aftermath of criminal activity.  Should the costs be met by the perpetrator, rather than by the tax payer?
  • Disposing of household rubbish is increasingly expensive – whether for landfill or by recycling.  Most householders battle with junk mail they don’t want, as well as with unnecessarily elaborate packaging.  Shouldn’t those generating these materials, be expected to meet the cost of disposal?
  • How much money is spent on cleaning up after chewing gum?  Shouldn’t clean up costs be met by the companies who make and sell it?

What do you think?

Would this help people understand the full consequences of their actions?

Can you think of any other examples?

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Happy 90th Birthday, Nelson Mandela!

Friday,18 July, 2008

Today’s the day to wish Nelson Mandela a “Very Happy 90th Birthday!”

A recent BBC Radio4 ‘Any Questions?’ programme was asked why established democracies don’t seem to get politicians of the stature of Nelson Mandela.
A great question!

It occurred to me that Nelson Mandela was locked in prison for 30 years, and then became a President for three years. In other words, he had 10 years to think, for every one year he practiced as a politician.

We are probably lucky if our politicians are given one year to think, for every 10 that they act.

Of course I am not suggesting that we lock all our aspiring politicians in gaol!

But the shear breathtaking audacity and generosity behind the concept of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, shows the power of thought – if only we can give ourselves sufficient time.

And action without sufficient thought, can be pretty dangerous – especially in the realm of world politics.

What would be YOUR answer be to the question “Why is it that established democracies don’t seem to get politicians of the stature of Nelson Mandela?”

Do share your thoughts.

Politics, Marketing, Leadership & Management

Saturday,7 June, 2008

In the UK we have had experience of partnership working, involving people from different political parties, as well as involving people who are not involved in party politics. Things go well, and often a measure of agreement can be reached on difficult issues, UNTIL we get near election times. Then the reality of party politics requires that politicians exaggerate their differences because of the need to get elected ahead of the ‘other lot’ – using the language of the market place, they have to grow “market differentiation”.


But at the same time as the media demands conflict and differentiation between the parties, the media analysis and debate often narrows down the options available – leading to arguments about who came up with what ideas.

And if this wasn’t difficult enough, sometimes we may be in danger of Leadership and Management becoming inverted:

* Leadership – often defined as “doing the right thing”; and
* Management – usually “doing the thing right”.

Is Government, and its legislative processes, becoming too Managerial – focusing on “doing the thing right”?

Should Government have more trust in managers – so that our leaders can concentrate on making sure that we are “doing the right thing”?

How does this all look from your viewpoint?

If any of these concerns are valid, what does it mean for the future of politics and our society?

And what does all this mean for partnership working between politicians and non-politicians?

Of course, asking the questions is easier than giving the answers – that takes more than one brain!

Do share your thoughts . . . . . . . . .