The title could well be “Revolution” instead of governance – this post is about good governance vs bad, and all sorts of pitfalls that national leadership can find themselves dealing with when they are seen to be misbehaving.
To start off with – there is a very big problem that governments around the world face in the every day business of running their countries. That is the access to information that joe public has these days. The internet is a wonderful and terrifying thing where anyone can come along, say what they like and be sure that at least someone will read it at some point. Truth is very much optional. Most people ignore the most obvious quackery, but how many of us can say we’re not at least a little bit interested in some of the conspiracy theories that the internet seems to soak up like a big sponge. We’ve all read a few I’m sure. What if some were true? (cue scary music…) how do we know? (more scary music…) and what effect does this have, when the narrative in the main stream media seems to say one thing, conspiracy theories seem to suggest the opposite, and foreign news sites like RT and Al-Jazeera come along and really confuse you. And what does this have to do with governance?
Ok. It is true (at least I think its true (music again please…)) that the main stream media of any country is not really that independent from either A) corporate interests and B) when it comes to things like international conflict, fairly accommodating of their own government’s position on such things. The further “Right-wing” the media organisation is, the more accommodating they seem to be. Here is where the problems start to occur. It is neither in the interests of right wing media, nor government, to mention any shady dealings that anyone is getting involved with (unless it’s the bloody liberals whining about something again), but things like arms deals, backroom deals, shady deals, beheadings (except when its done in an enemy’s country), torture (except when its done in an enemy’s country, abetting and supporting dictatorships (except when its done in an enemy’s country) gets mentioned. Now forget for a second who is right and who is lying, (its actually not important here) – but between the left hand side of media and the right hand side, two news stories about the same thing may end up with not a lot in common. This is not such a big deal if you eat right only or left only, but for those who like a bit of balance in their media fodder, it gets pretty confusing.
Now is the part where I reveal that, to no one’s surprise, I follow more leftist media. Or at least I will read as much media as I can so as I can make an informed decision. Even China’s CCTV, their state run comedy central news station I regularly visit, just to see how far propaganda can actually be pushed.
Clearly they had a production budget for this, and borrowing a bit of Top Gun footage would have helped enormously in reigning in costs. Pretty cheeky just the same though.
If we head back west, where production budgets are a bit higher (and so are the stakes…):
As the article states, this was one of the rallying cries to get us in to the war there.
We were initially not that willing to go in:
Clearly, $$$omething changed between then and when he became one of the key architects of the invasion.
Amid the cries of “So what, all politicians lie, its their job!!” comes a rather more insidious conclusion. At what point do people start to lose whatever threads of trust remaining in our governments and cause unrest?
Roughly about now.
Pretty much no one believes anything any western politician has to say regarding the middle east. It’s as if they think that since it is the desert inhabited by a few backwards tribes sitting on our oil, well, anything goes. Generalising. Badly.
Could the bad guys there be defeated? For bad guys to be as bad as they are, they need a lot of bad guy supplies – guns and ammo. They tend to run out fairly quickly when all you do is fight all day, so you have to keep shipping them in, and when you have a look at where they are coming from, for the most part, it’s through one country that ostensibly claims to be one of the good guys, even a NATO member. I’m not sure Francois Hollande approves particularly. It’s that we’ve been lied to, and when caught, lied to some more, and then lied to about being lied to, and then angrily told to not get angry.
And at some point, our much loved Freedom of Speech and all the nice things about living in democracies are called into question, and that is what we are seeing:
Turkey isn’t really known for liking nosey western journalists and they were arrested, yelled at, moved around a bit so no one could speak to them, and then told to go home. Sometimes the story gets a little darker:
Which is of course completely plausibly deniable by everyone. But convenient for authorities nonetheless.
Enough YouTube. Back to governance.
There is a threshold, below which, pissed off people stayed merely pissed off, nothing gets too out of hand, and the show rolls on.
At some point however, and, very much granted, this happens purely at a perception level (Facts optional), people start saying “we’re over it”. For this and 101 other reasons. But the more reasons, and the more bullshiat we are fed, the more over it we become.
A conversation with my Mum a couple of years back we were comparing life when she was young to life now, there was one small comment she made that showed the huge contrast – a lot of who we thought we were was captured in the music that came out at the time. (Nixon and Vietnam were front page stories too, so it wasn’t all Scott Mackenzie singing about San Francisco) – but she said there was a lot more optimism back then. We were all ok with the propaganda, because we were the good guys and we knew it. These days, the waters are a bit more muddy. Cheney’s volte face and subsequent disaster in Iraq was clearly not the USA at its finest. We’re still wondering what that was really about. The pretext was WMDs, and I bet when Cheney and Bush said their prayers every night, they were hoping that they might find a few the next day. Libya? If Iraq was a flimsy case of lets invade and hopefully we’ll find a reason for invading later, Libya didn’t even offer them that excuse. They just went and punked a country for no reason at all there.
The point is, the more the perceived duplicity, the greater the obvious bullshiat, (and the lower the wages go too, let us never forget that) – that our ability to be governed disappears at the same time.
Revolutions start on the backs of angry people.