Friday, 1 May 2015

The Long Road Ahead


Another non-debate last evening.  Thank goodness it’s all going to be over soon.

Ah…but it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

Oh oh.

Kind of on the cards that there's not going to be much singing on Thursday from fat ladies or anyone else.  Instead we are going to have a long drawn out process, the outcome of which no one knows at this point.

And this is why an already distasteful election campaign is getting even more distasteful.  Of course, we could be like America, where campaigning has already begun more than 18 months before the actual election. We’re not that bad…..yet.

However, the scrabble to get votes is still focused on what’s wrong with ‘everyone else’ and what’s right with ‘us’. There could be deals being done behind closed doors, but if you believe what you read in the papers, on social media and the telly, hardly anyone wants to do a deal with anyone else to create a smooth transition to whatever is going to happen next.

This got me thinking about role models and what all this very public behaviour is telling us.

Because Impact Factory is an interpersonal skills training organisation we are hyper-alert to the spoken and unspoken messages that leaders (sic) and other high profile people give to all the rest of us.

What are some of the messages the party leaders are giving out at the moment?

                Win at all costs
                Wallop the opposition at every opportunity
                Make unrealistic promises
                Finger point and blame
                Make ultimatums
    Lie
    Speak in absolutes…never and always
    Prevaricate

A weensy part of me understands why Russell Brand urges his followers not to vote because the inevitable sameness of it all is quite disheartening.  But it’s a very wee part and the bottom line is that votes do matter.

However, my question watching all that blather last night was about what kind of role models  are our politicians presenting?  I don’t think Russell Brand is necessarily a good role model for civic progress but even more so ‘our’ politicians are poor role models as well.

Let’s step back a bit and reflect on the role models who have influenced your life. If they’re anything like mine they might be your immediate family, inspiring teachers, individuals in the forefront of change, friends you admired, books you loved, sports teams/people you cheered, music and musicians who ‘spoke’ to you, movies you watched over and over, and yes, perhaps even the occasional politician.

These are the messages I received through the role models in my life and maybe they were similar to the ones you got:

                Be brave
                It’s OK to be different
                Kindness and empathy are essential
                Love and more love heals many wounds
                Keep going even when the prospects seem bleak
                Bring joy to others
                Look for opportunities to help
                Ethics and values are important
                Passion is good
               
Compare the two lists.

What kind of role models are we accepting as the face of British politics?  And what messages do they keep churning out?

One of the biggest messages I’m getting is how childish it all is - the way our ‘leaders’ (sic) insist they won’t do back room deals, join forces with one or another party, blah blah blah. 

Rather than being honest with the electorate and saying, “OK, no one is going to win this election outright, so we need to look now at how we can ‘rehearse’ forming a government after the 7th.  

Instead, every leader is campaigning in the hopes that there will be some magical breakthrough that will sway the voters and bring in a majority.

Under a coalition government (check out some of those proper coalitions in The Netherlands, Belgium, etc.) there would be genuine cooperation and that cooperation would start before the results of the election are known. 

Now that would be the kind of role modelling I’d like to see.


Check out Impact Factory’s Leadership, Communication and Creative Strategic thinking courses

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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