As our shop is located in the heart of Wellingtons political CBD, this is a subject close to our hearts as a large part of our clients work in the government in one capacity or another. It’s an interesting perspective as we often hear the day to day musings of our nations bureaucrats. Not only that but some of them work in some obscure jobs in some obscure parts of that bureaucracy! On that note, did anyone know that two government employees have the job title ‘Herald at Arms Extraordinary’ and ‘Judge Advocate General’… I want one of those job titles!
This year of course is a big one as its our election year & no doubt the atmosphere will heat up as our beloved politicians start drawing their battle lines. This brings me to the thought of how do we want our government run and are our governments serving us the population as best they can? A few events/articles in the last couple of weeks have made me think about this.
Radical democratic politics
First is a video that was shared with me from a speech Audrey Tang gave here in Wellington last year about how the Taiwanese government are using technology to transform themselves into the worlds most open democracy. Its fascinating listening & brings so many questions about how it could work here in NZ. One of the fascinating aspects of this talk & the approach being taken by the Taiwanese is the high value of EQ taken into account by their system, something I’ve never really heard much from people talking about political systems. My feeling is that we are a very conservative bunch when it comes to how things are run and this style would freak a lot of people out! Have a close listen, fascinating and worth considering as a way for the fututre.
The other events that played out is the sad situation in Syria. A complete mess involving the Syrian, Russian & USA governments, then rounded out by the situation in North Korea. Although the USA is a democracy you could argue that President Trump is starting to act as a dictator, as the other countries mentioned are already doing, all be it brutal versions of such. There are other examples around the world, like South & Central America, that run dictatorial styles that are looking to look after people as best as possible as opposed to just oppressing them. To an extent Singapore is a place that is championed as a great example of this style, particularly by a certain sector of New Zealands political class. They take the approach of bypassing our need to have a say and rely on themselves as experts and leaders to guide us. Is this the right way?
Radical system breakers
We have seen in the last year to 18 months two political events happen that are based on peoples feeling that ‘the system’ isn’t working for them and have thrown up unexpected results. I’m referring to Brexit and Trump. Now there is the very real possibility that an ultra-left outsider could again shake up Europe by being voted into the French Presidency, Jean-Luc Melenchon. Although he is a veteran of French politics his policies are those of ‘an outsider’ of the system, he wants to withdraw from NATO, IMF etc (& a host of other acronyms). Read some articles as he has some radical ideas to reshape France that are scaring the establishment but are appealling hugely to disseffected voters and this could become another result that could be a real surprise to the so-called informed. There is still a way to go before the result is known but he has established huge momentum & he uses holograms too!
All of this is very thought provoking and my feeling is that we are witnessing a gradual erosion of the power structures that have governed us for most of the 20th century & the beginning of the current. Nothing stays the same forever & we should embrace the change. Will we be challenged with some of this global sentiment here in NZ? Only time will tell…