Bastille Day, 14th July, a day of celebration and joy in France and the cry of Libertè, Égalitè, Fraternitè is heard throughout the streets on Montmartre and a general sense of bon homme prevails across the country. Can you imagine, however, just how well 14th July 2008 was celebrated in Riyadh, Dallas and Aberdeen, not because any of them particularly love the French and their sense of freedom, no simply because on that day oil went to $145 a barrel, its highest price in the last ten years.
Democracy as we know it, has it already peaked as an effective form of ensuring that the “people,” other than professional politicos get what they truly want?
Can you imagine “Dave of the people Cameron”, being kicked out simply for failing to deliver on his promises of five years ago? Or can you visualise “Jacob protector of the constitution Zuma”, being thrown off his constitutionally destructive perch just because he lied, cheated and stole the people’s money? The answer is probably no to both, which is in itself a very sad and troubling position for us all to be in, given that we believe that we live in a democracy.
I enter the cool environment and smell that manly aroma, immediately you see them and know that they are all lost souls. In a dreamlike state, they wonder the isles looking for things they neither need or require things they will possibly, no probably, never use, but for a brief moment they must own it more than anything else in the world.
It has been said that “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”, but what is more subtle is the ability of politicians all over the world to forget almost instantly their previously stated positions on many issues.
At first I felt rather sick listening to the American big guns become instant lovers of free speech, freedom of the press and generally “freedom” of everything. My first impression was that they are just acting like a “real Charlie” rather than relating to anything that Charlie Hebdo actually stands for.
In January 1990 I stepped off a ferry in Ceuta Morocco and started a love affair with Africa that has lasted 25 years and one I hope will last another 50 years, as long as I still have my wits about me as I will then be 102 years old.
What then followed was a six month journey covering fascinating lands, lakes and rivers and took in over twenty African nations, all varied, challenging and fascinating in their own way. The memories from that adventure will live with me forever, but it will remain uniquely the only six months of my life about which I can recall, even a quarter of a century later, exactly where I was and what I was doing in any particular month. A truly amazing experience and virtually impossible to repeat today, as many areas of Algeria, Nigeria, DRC (Zaire as it was then) and several other nations are simply no go zones and or completely inaccessible.
Sitting in Sydney Australia earlier today, it occurred to me in the middle of a business meeting that it is, as they say, “twenty times harder to win a new client than it is to keep an existing client”, listening to certain people here I can see that it applies as much here as in SA, because as many people don’t get the idea here as anywhere else!
When is a contract not a contract, when does acting in a fit and proper manner not apply, and when does acting in a fit and proper manner still lead to debarment?
Someone I know well, a colleague and partner that I have grown up with my entire working life, let’s call him Mr. Jones, has been a horrible substance addict for around five years. That is actually a little unfair, as he has been clean for almost a month and I personally think he is going to make it all the way back to a normal functioning existence!
The wonderful thing about democracy is how politicians are just so much more intelligent than the mere people who elect them into power in the first place.
Yes, it is a common fact that democracy has to be seen to be, rather than actually be, democratic. The man with the vote matters very little, he is spun a ‘manifesto’ of ideas that he votes for, but he must then accept that these were simply nice to haves and not necessarily things that would ever occur. In fact he might even find his chosen politician, and or party, swimming in the opposite direction to that for which he voted.
Ian Kilbride Appleton Warrington, Ian Kilbride Appleton School, Ian Kilbride Appleton the Company. A long term association, a slow progression over many years and a lifelong love of Appleton as a concept, village and as my home. My name and that of Appleton have been linked, and or used, in the same sentence since I was nothing but a wee boy, in fact even as a big boy when I captained Appleton Grammar School 1st XV rugby team, well to be honest I wasn’t very big then either!