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Giving people a voice...

Comment
Winfred Peppinck


Bahrain; another gulp of democracy! Large crowds, at polling booths, a chance for people voicing their views, on candidates claims they stand for, in policy.

The parliament, to relay public views to the government.

For the government, holds the purse, and the funds necessary to act on legislation, which must be carried by a vote in parliament.

The well served, Westminster system, derivatives for many systems, including presidential, but always, a separation of powers, to ensure that power is not omnipotent, but the will of the people.

But in the West, for example, governments are always supported by a “neutral” public or civil service, so that they can provide, “frank and fearless” advice, leaving political decision making options for informed choices.

Benefits, choices, for and against, concerns that might arise.

Warning of consequences of action or in-action.

Now, senior levels of the bureaucracy in Australia, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, UK and European countries, as well as the US, becoming more concerned.

Governance by tweet, or a ubiquitous, “thought bubble.”

Decisions made, “off the hip,” by leaders, to populist responses, “doing deals” on complex issues, without thinking through the ramifications.

Leaving bureaucracies, shaking heads, untold damage to countries, economies and international treaties and reputations.

An Australian example; Prime Minister, for political expediency, in a thought bubble, announced that Australia would consider moving its Embassy in Israel, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Foreign Ministry, only told of the Prime Minister’s “thought,” a few hours before it was made public.

The chief of the defence force, Security advisers, “I only heard about it on a radio program!”

Most Australians were horrified, a major kick back by neighbouring countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia; Indonesia being the largest Muslim country in the world.

Belief, it was simply, pandering to President Trump’s earlier moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.

Much, saw it a cynical political ploy, for the government, “shoring up their candidate in a Sydney electorate with a large Jewish community!

A major free trade arrangement, immediately put in abeyance, by Indonesia; all the ambassadors in Canberra, from the Middle East, (there are a lot of them,) expressed enormous anger at the possibility.

The Prime Minister, following immediate unfavourable reaction, the “bubble” pricked, said, it is “ still to be considered by Cabinet!!”

Policy chaos, the public service, having a crisis of confidence as Ministers more political offices, now probably rely more on Wikipedia for information, than a frank and fearless bureaucracy!

There is a crisis in democracy, with the public, “fed up with politicians” in general, a feeling that democracy is in decline, people simply distrusting the political system

Voters are disillusioned and are more inclined to search for simple answers for complex problems, and so, therefore, turn to people stating they will, “do a deal and fix the problem.”

And claim any reports on misadventure, or views to the contrary, as merely “fake news” and see the media as “the enemy”

And go off to play some more golf!

winfredpeppinck@gmail.com