Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Fantastically Foolish

David Cameron decided to break the ice with the Queen by lightheartedly making an ironic dig at global corruption, particularly in Nigeria and Afghanistan. A strange decision for a man who recently stood up in parliament to stridently defend his father's calculated tax avoidance, despite having previously publicly criticised comedian Jimmy Carr's tax avoidance arrangements. 

It is true that there is corruption in Afghanistan, much of which is down to the regime installed by the USA and Great Britain. Nigeria also has a chronic problem with corruption which is actively fed by the money laundering expertise of British banks. The corruption in these countries has been responsible for underdevelopment and systemic inefficiency. 

However, Great Britain historically and under David Cameron has not been a corruption free state. There has been the cash for questions, cash for peerages, MPs expenses, British Aerospace bribery, Libor rate rigging, mortgage payment protection, HSBC money laundering, Weat Yorkshire police, BHS pensions scandals; to name but a few. So it would appear that there is an equally fantastic amount of corruption going on in Britain itself. 

Addressing corruption in the developing world is necessary but mocking and deriding the countries does call into question how sincere Great Britain's efforts really are. It will be difficult to win the trust of people who are held in such low regard. David Cameron may point the finger at others for being corrupt but the fingers pointing right back at him suggest he has a lot of work to do to clean up corruption back at home. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

5 Reasons to Vote

A cousin of mine expressed his frustration with the state of Nigerian politics by questioning the reason for voting. He feels politicians are not there for the people and do not offer any real public service. I can see where he's coming from given the rampant corruption in public office and the absolute greed and superficiality of legislators. He seemed to think that politicians in other countries are a lot more conscientious and work harder in the public interest. 

There are a world of reasons why any eligible person should vote. I am going to explore five of them in this post

1. Choosing a government (be it the right one or the wrong one) is a duty that every citizen must undertake. Government in its true essence represents the will and power of the people. Even though this has been subverted in modern times striving to achieve it is a never ending quest. 
2. You can strive for equality and justice but it cannot be realised unless championed by a governments and lawmakers. If you don't select the the best available you can't expect those that are there to bring about a better world. 
3. Even if there are no ideal or suitable candidates in ones view, voting against the worst candidate is both a statement and act of opposition.
4. Fixing society must be done on many levels - a thought, a view, an act, a protest, or a vote. If you need to be in it to win it then casting a vote is the way you get in. 
5. Improving society is dependent on people understanding what it means to be moral and just. Good civic behaviour needs to be modelled. Not voting suggests a cynicism and lack of belief that doesn't promote the idea that it is possible to improve the world. Voting is one of the key behaviours that suggest a willingness to change things for the better and the conviction that a better world is within reach. Casting ones vote us the very essence of setting a good example. 

Voting may not always give us the government we desire but it is a declaration about the kind of government we don't want. And it is an effort towards realising what we believe good government should be.