A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Leadership, Democracy & Twitter

Recently I read an opinion piece in The Hill Times decrying the 'Lack of Leadership' in both the U.S. and GB given the current Cluster Fk in both countries. It goes on to say 'The answer is fairly simply: lack of leadership.' and that 'Unbridled populism fails unless it is given direction, order and coherence from good leadership. Without such leadership, both our nations appear destined to continue their saunter towards this form of government by self-inflicted anarchy, a truly unfortunate state.
Whilst it is unclear exactly how this writer proposes to 'fix' this 'lack of leadership' I would suggest that leadership or the lack thereof is not the problem. In both countries you have strong leaders unable to proceed with their proposals due to equally strong opposition from other elected representatives both affiliated with their 'party' and not. The problem lies not so much with the leadership but their fixation on looking good in the public eye so that they not 'the other lot' will be elected to power the next time around, its not so much about good governance as maintaining power to move forward their particular agenda.

There is nothing new about that mindset by politicians of all stripes in all democracies what has changed is the interaction between those we elect and those who elect them. Back in the day, way back, the 'representative' had very little direct contact with his or her constituents, they got their information as to what was going on days or weeks later via a newsheet and writing a letter was perhaps the only way for the average citizen to contact him (and was always a him back then). Over the years that process has gradually evolved so that now such communications are instantaneous for those who who, like the twit in chief in the U.S., subscribe to such services, and certainly quite timely via on line news. Those few left without internet connections who rely upon printed materials delivered to their door are perhaps at a disadvantage in not knowing about the daily shenanigans issuing out political mouths (or perhaps that is a distinct advantage!) but will still get most important news, probably filtered by the authors point of view, within a couple of days.

Perhaps the point here is not so much the increased ability to communicate a point of view or intended decision but the instantaneous reaction and feedback from pundits and political junkies that are increasingly coloring the decisions made by those in power. The request from the press for a comment from this politician or the other on an item of news before the ink is dry, to use an old outdated phrase, hardly encourages thoughtful and meaningful responses either. We here in Canada are not yet governing by twitter bursts but you may be sure that as we approach the upcoming federal election day that such communication will have a disproportionate effect on both the perception and the results of said election. Much to our detriment IMHO!

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