In the wake of the athletics corruption, we now have a call for investigating corruption in tennis. This is during the first few weeks of 2016. So in whom do we trust in Britain and the wider world in the year 2016? We trust in ourselves to accept the past, acknowledge that the future will have surprises, twists and turns, but live in the present, appreciating the here and now.
When the news at the end of 2015 broke that #Volkswagen had been tampering with their Diesel engines to make them look more efficient thank they were, simply to sell more cars at any cost, really stopped me in my tracks. I found myself gasping and actually feeling upset. Up to that point I had taken little notice of the various scandals along the way, but of all the companies, the one I had on a personal pedestal, how could they do that, why VW I found myself saying why not some other cheapskate company I might expect this from.
I think it was at this point I realised that even the most reputable organisation can be blinded by the draw of more and more sales and more and more money for profit and I began to think back just over the last few years in the UK alone we have seen some of the most spectacular examples of corruption in our society.
In 2008 the UK Government put in place a £500 billion bank rescue package to save banks that had essentially put aside too little for a rainy day, or even worse had gambled away their reserves and were on the brink of collapse. In the case of Royal Bank of Scotland, this company had been on a run of acquisitions without investing time and effort in due diligence, that it was left with a purchase so toxic that the bank was hours from collapse. The resultant 8 years of austerity piled on citizens has been felt throughout the world. Looking at the results would it have been better just to distribute a lump sum to every adult in the UK to spend or save as they please. Pumping billions into Bank vaults does not appear to have had the desired outcome, the trickle down that is described by economic professors just isn’t even forming a droplet as of yet.
In 2009 the UK Parliamentary Expenses Scandal broke, revealing that a small number of our political representatives had been claiming expenses for some of the most amazing items, some of which would be considered a luxury in normal circles. The cost to taxpayers running into thousands of pounds and coming direct from the labour of their hard work in a method not unlike the common pick pocket stealing from right under your nose.
In 2011 David Cameron ordered the Levison enquiry into phone hacking following revelations the lowest of the low that included the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone, UK armed forces, the Royal Family and many many more that were revealed along the way. Our electronic devices can now hold information as diverse as phone numbers to bank details, personal files and images. The devices sold to us as personal assistants while at the same time knowingly open to marketers, browser companies and phone companies, determined to squeeze every last penny out of the consumer regardless of the security implications. We now know that our devices can be secured as tightly as we wish, given the right tools and knowledge.
In October 2012 Andrew Mitchell resigned from his post as Chief Whip following allegations made about his conduct during an altercation with police at Downing Street on 19 September, the incident becoming known as “plebgate“.
The 2013 Labour Party Falkirk candidate selection, which began following the announcement that the incumbent MP Eric Joyce was to step down at the 2015 General Election, erupted into a scandal after allegations were made on the significant infiltration of the selection process by the trade union Unite, currently the Labour Party’s largest financial backer.
In April 2014 Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, resigned following pressure relating to the results of an investigation into her past expenses claims.
The political classes that we elect to represent us have become so detached from their constituents that they no longer have any idea whatsoever how the ordinary citizen lives in Britain’s 2016. While the arguments rage around what rate is good for the job of a Politician, the rate is at the higher end of the spectrum of what is considered “average”, indeed the Politician now earns some 175% more than the average UK salary. The fact is that many people don’t even reach “average”. I imagine retaining and increasing that income level is at the top of the agenda for Politicians and not the needs of their constituents, or is that an opinion contaminated by cynicism ?
Between 2012 and into 2016 the ongoing corporate tax issues with multinational companies goes on. Google have “negotiated” an agreement to pay back dated tax of 2.5% on agreed profits. The first of possibly many but what stands out here is the Google’s of the world get to “negotiate”, the ordinary citizens of the country will be hounded and that is not a word randomly selected, that is the fact. HMRC will hound ordinary citizens for tiny amounts of missed tax, they will demand 20% minimum rate and will penalise by adding interest and penalty charges. The joy.
I’m not convinced these widely diverse groups of people, companies, organisations and governments can recover the trust of the people that they serve. What happens in societies devoid of trust in the establishments around them ? 2016 and beyond could be interesting….. BUT ….
You could be forgiven for thinking all is lost, reading through the preceding passages, the negative the destructive, the devisive, the criminal nature of our modern lords and masters, but far from it, people see through this they are tough self reliant and know that it is a minority behavior all be it with massive consequences.
The rise of self help, positivity, mindfulness and similar personal programs, indicate a shift away from reliance on what we once knew and trusted to be the pillars of our societies the world over. In 2016 ordinary citizens are taking control of their own path through life, the internet has opened up knowledge silos that are vast. Many of the programs people are turning to are based right back as far in time as we have knowledge about and they’re needed as a result of the massive rise is information. The information overload era, the massive let down of corruption all around us, the crisis tsunami that is the new economic world, people are realising that we can and should slow it all down, accept the past, acknowledge that the future will have surprises, twists and turns, but live in the present, appreciate the here and now, your family, friends and all that you have now and make 2016 a year of personal change, turn against the negative and embrace the positive.