29 Aug 2014

A Politcian telling the truth is a contradiction.

Based on an article by Warwick Smith
The Guardian: Edited by S.W.T.Read

Most politicians enter politics for ideological reasons. They want to contribute and make the country a better place initially.
However, the primary game of politics in a democracy is one of vote winning. You can’t implement your policies if you’re not elected and once elected the most important thing is to be re-elected so improving the country takes a back seat.
As a result, many politicians sell their soul in order to prolong their political careers.
They know that the best place to set up their ice cream stall is right beside their political opponent, with just enough flavors to differentiate themselves from the other side.
They face the choice of openly and honestly standing up for what they believe, or what will maximise their vote.They either lie or they lose.
The federal election of 2013 in Australia was a perfect example of this new era of political strategy. During this election campaign there was an unprecedented proliferation of fact checking units and web sites monitoring and reporting on the validity of politicians’ claims.

The verdict indicated that politicians of both major parties were lying and exaggerating their way through the campaign it was remarkable and they continued to make many of the false statements even after they were exposed.
Now that the Coalition are in government the lies haven’t stopped. In fact, it’s reasonable to conclude that the coalition government are using lies and exaggeration to justify the overwhelming majority of their agenda, this gives them licence to break many popular pre-election promises.
The Labor opposition tried to lie their way into keeping power. We know that the government is lying in order to cover up its real policy agenda. Yet, knowing all of this changes nothing, this is politics.
This contempt for voters and for democracy is a predictable product of the conflicting pressures politicians face.
The rise of the Greens and other small parties in Australia and elsewhere is largely a result of the same phenomenon. Major parties positioning themselves side by side on the political spectrum.

This opens up a lot of territory for other parties to move into. However, for Australia at least, preferential voting systems will see the majority of votes ultimately returning to the parties in the centre, making the strategy sustainable.
This framework explains many of the lies told by both major parties in the Australian federal election in 2013. Tony Abbott’s coalition government have won power through four principle strategies:
1) Exaggerate or lie about the record of the government they were trying to replace.
2) Make promises to the electorate they knew they would not keep (given the evidence of the budget).
3) Make promises to corporate donors they intended to keep.
4) Excuse breaking the promises to the electorate by inventing a budget and debt crisis.
These strategies have allowed them to appear to be all things to all people while actually delivering to their corporate backers.

The reality is that it’s much harder to justify to a corporate donor why you haven’t given them value for money than it is to an average voter as to why you haven’t done what you said you were going to do.

In a system where all the major contenders stretch the truth, lying is not that much of an electoral liability.
So how do we get great government, this is a mystery I've yet to unravel, should anyone have a clue to solving this mystery please let me know.

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