Monday, 10 August 2020

Power corrupting? Or a way to riches?

 

Genoeg is genoeg: het is tijd om hier een einde aan te maken; het is tijd voor deze politici (allemaal, geen uitzonderingen) om de macht en Libanon in één keer te verlaten. Niemand wil ze nog als leider omdat ze allemaal incompetent, egoïstisch, gewetenloze leugenaars zijn.

The above excerpt in the Dutch language is part of a Quora report about Lebanon and the explosion in Beirut. It says about corrupt politicians who knew the danger but did not do anything for years. It says that they must cede power at once because of their incompetence, egotism and lies.

Well, it is a damning article written by a Lebanese man about the standard of public figures. We might well ask, why are politicians so reviled? Is there a grain of truth in such allegations?

We all know the proverb about how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?

I suppose it is true because I remember the furore about one of our MPs charging the public purse (on his expense sheet) for a duckpond in his castle garden. And there have been quite a number of MPs who charged for second homes (which is allowed) but either rented it out or let their family members live in it free! So yes, when in power and therefore easy access to money and influence the case can be made that some will fail. The problem with politicians is that they want to be seen to please everybody. So lying becomes second nature. To say to a constituent, 'no I cannot do that or this is impossible' would, it is thought, harm re-election.

Many politicians, existing and future seem to forget what it is about. It is about servicing the community, the country and its standing. Proper financial control, proper division of resources and good infrastructure so all benefit. It is certainly not about personal advancement or enrichment. And one of the most difficult thing for a politician, learn the ability to say no but in a kind and responsible manner with explanations as to why it is No and not Yes. On top of that we, the great unwashed should not expect that politicians can make our lives easy. That after all is in our own hands. Difficult to understand? Ask the Lebanese what they think!

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