The Hidden Power
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Check 11 - 4th Separation of Powers - Statutory Duties

Statutory duties for the behaviour of politicians and officials at work, including the duty of straight speak, shall be set.


If you stopped, for even a second, to wonder what might increase trust in government, or any governance, you might start with Being Trustworthy. This week (mid April 2021)in the UK, a Welsh MP - Hywel Williams - referenced a bill put forward in 2007 by Plaid Cymru ("Plyed Kimri"), proposing to make lying by politicians illegal. He asked the Prime Minister, known for his extravagant attitude to the truth, whether he would support the principle behind the bill. The Prime Minister responded that he would “concur with the basic principle that he just enunciated”. Is that a yes? A no? An evasive circumlocution? An evasive circumlocution. Does it increase anyone's trust in the Prime Minister?


There was once a version of trust within government, a fabric of norms and tacit agreements which maintained a standard of behaviour but - crucially - wasn't encoded. Over the decades around the turn of the 21st century, this culture of trust has decayed to the point where, with the ascent of Boris Johnson to power, many MP's have fled the parliament at Westminster, whose culture is routinely described as toxic.


This week we discuss:


Feedback effects of lying, cultural depression


Corruption as waste - Ceaucescu and the orphanages, China and the pandemic


Cultures of lying - in corporations and politics


Sources of lying - politicians are required to make promises and defend performance


Blame vs. improvement (design authorities)


From failure - we learn


What have we elected people for?


Trust and learning - getting away from "good" and "bad"


Governing is a team sport - it's about teams, not glory


Hywell Williams and Boris Johnson


David Cameron's lobbying woes


Statutory duties would also protect government actors from risk


Decay of culture of trust within government


Rehearsal of some essential statutory duties


How would they be enforced?


...through intention, and through institutional enquiry - ultimately through judiciary and constitutional court


Need for clarity and strictness in corrective


Relating this and trust in government in countries with Proportional Representation


Analogy with company principles - eg Amazon



Links:


Great explication of Greensill affair with reference to inadequate rules (FT podcast, 30 mins)

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/paynes-politics/id975569919#episodeGuid=d040d631-8d89-4cbf-8b2a-17836e29ce2e


Hywell and Boris:

https://nation.cymru/news/boris-johnson-just-agreed-with-principle-that-politicians-must-not-lie/


Truth and untruth in ocean governance (Netflix - Seaspiracy 1:03 hrs):

https://www.netflix.com/watch/81014008?trackId=14277281&tctx=-97%2C-97%2C%2C%2C%2C


David Cameron and Greensill:

https://www.ft.com/content/ade87a61-b1e1-433a-a79f-25fc6b9a0aaf


Amazon's much-vaunted leadership principles:

https://www.aboutamazon.com/about-us/leadership-principles


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