… and laws then how can we trust the decisions they make?
A valid question from a radio phone in this morning. The whole expenses scandal has raised lots of interesting questions. Not just why is the upkeep of a swimming pool so integral to performing the role of a Member of Parlaiment? One phone in listener last night admitted fiddling expenses himself yet was outraged that MPs were doing exactly what he had done. It is true that we hold our leaders to higher standards than ourselves. And rightly so if they are to lead. The moral component of leadership has certainly come to the fore again in recent months and years. we want leaders we can trust, who act with integrity. Yet on another level they are flawed individals like ourselves – but does that mean we should simply excuse ther actions? The issue of trust for me is perhaps the major one. If a leader loses the trust of those s/he claims to be leading then obviouslt those people are no longer following and their leadership in many ways simply becomes positional or in name only. When trust between a leader and those they lead breaks down, how can it be restored? Gordon Brown’s apology is a beginning, and then we want to see evidence of changed behaviour. I’ve been wresting with this question of how trust can be restored when it breaks down as I see it not just in the expenses scandal but in churches and work situations. Patrick Lencioni argues that a lack of trust is the foundational problem in dysfunctioning teams. Again I agree. But how can trust be restored? I’ve grown up hearing “trust has to be earned”, but recently was also challenged by someone who added “trust also has to be given”. How much are we prepared to give our trust again, and how much should we if we keep having that trust broken? Where does Jesus stuff about not just forgiving a few times but many come into play?
For many of you the obvious answer is probably yes – our celebrity culture has gone far too far, and our obsession with celebrity and five minutes of fame has become destructive in how we so quickly write people off, and dispose of them once their celebrity usefulness is over.
Jade Goody’s very public struggle with cancer has been making me think a bit. Her openness at living out her illness in the public eye has resulted in many women going for cervical screening and all sorts of other screening. This is a good thing. The media’s attitude to Jade has been fascinating. She tends to be a love her or hate her character. The was vilified in 2007 over the racist comments in Celebrity Big Brother. Even then what did we expect when people are put in such an intense environment and despite what Endemol may have claimed they are put under pressure so they do and say shocking things, cos we all know that’s what pulls the viewers in. So we despite our verbal disdain often fuel that obsession with celebrity. It’s interesting watching how the media are now responding to her – tragic is the word often used. Have they forgotten how they treated her? Does her illness wipe the slate clean in their eyes?
Today she has gone for more surgery but there is something that just makes me very uncomfortable about watching what looks like her eventual death in the public eye. The article is peppered by statements from her publicist, the very phrase ‘her publicist’ makes me squirm and I just wonder how morbid we have become? Are we quite content to watch someone’s life ebb away in the public eye? Are we just taken in by the dramatic twists and turns in her very public life? Does anyone else feel the deep unease I do? When it comes to the end stages of cancer we often hear the phrase ‘dying with dignity’. What does that mean to die with dignity? Is it a completely subjective thing or is there a point when we should say no – enough is enough?
I’m also intrigued that she plans to get christened with her two sons next week. I hope and pray she finds even more than she is looking for…
Never one to shy away from controversy Sammy is at it again. I once encountered him once at a Q&A session at Queen’s and was impressed by his sharpness and handle on the issues. This sense appears to have deserted our environment minister in recent weeks. From foreign workers, and now to the very subject of his assembly portfolio he likes to be his own man. Northern Ireland’s environment minister has banned a UK government advertising campaign. Yes the unionist has turned against the Union he seeks to uphold. Sammy calls the advertising campaign on reducing CO2 output ‘insidious propaganda’. As someone who doesn’t believe that human causation is one of the main factors in climate change at least he is demonstrating some consistency. It seems ridiculous enough that our environment minister thinks this way, but why on earth appoint such a person to the post in the first place? I’ve never thought the DUP particularly well hinged but surely they can’t be so crazy? Enter party leader Peter Robinson, who told the NI assembly that Sammy was entitled to his opinions but that they did not reflect the party as a whole. Now Peter please stop talking such shite. The DUP in their manifesto and as official party policy are committed to reducing CO2 output, the very subject of the banned ads. So the DUP put someone in a post who even disagrees with their own policies in the portfolio he is given, never mind most of the other parties, and then defend him? The Green party and a host of others are calling for Sammy’s resignation. You can sign the petition here. At least Sammy is showing some integrity and not rapidly backtracking as many politicians do. The biggest question however is what sort of game are the DUP playing? Why go to such ridiculous lengths to defend Sammy their constant source of controversy? Surely they would be better off without him and all the flak he attracts, or perhaps that flak distracts from what the DUP is actually doing (or not doing s the case may be)?
This story is almost unbelievable. To be raped is bad enough but to then be punished for breaking social rules – a woman in the car with an unrelated man, both of whom were raped by a gang of 7 men. Not sure what happened the rapists. This from the country whose King had the audacity to tell the UK it wasn’t doing enough to fight terrorism. A country whose human rights abuses the UK is willing to turn a blind eye to as long as it can sell them weapons. I realise I am being simplistic, and was impressed that ‘The Kingdom’ tried to address some of the subtleties of life in the middle east. However this court ruling just seems crazy. So much so it leaves me speechless…