Who is being institutionally arrogant?


images (122)The calls from the Conservative Party and Number 10 Downing Street for the BBC to be sanctioned over offers for Political debates in the run up to a General Election would be funny if they were not so absurd and disturbing. Whenever there is a breakdown between people or organisations there is almost always things both sides could have done to avoid the problem. It is almost certain that this is the case in the context of the talks over the arrangements for the leaders debates which David Cameron was calling for back in 2009. This is particularly the case bearing in mind that there are a number of broadcasters and several Political Parties, all of whom want their voice and opinion to be heard clearest. If one wanted to find Institutional Arrogance in most Broadcasting organisations or most Political Parties, the task would not be hard. One could argue that in the institutional arrogance stakes, the BBC is at the top of the pile when it comes to Broadcasters and the Conservative Party when it comes to large political Parties. Sadly because so many of the discussions prior to this point have taken place in private, ironically in order to achieve a level of success, it is only the organisations and commentators close to them that can realistically be expected to know some of the truth of the accusations now being flung about. If the Conservative Party cannot see the danger of this when they claim to be purveyors of democracy and transparency then they really do lack the political instincts which they claim to possess in large measure. In November 2010 Francis Maude wrote “Opposition parties are always remarkably keen on greater government transparency, but this enthusiasm mysteriously tends to diminish once they actually gain power. Not so in this case. Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats campaigned for greater government transparency in opposition and today we are setting out the latest step we are taking to achieve this. This government has the clear ambition is to make the UK the most transparent and accountable country in the world.” In some senses this ambition has been met. Speaking in January Sir Tim Berners-Lee stated that the UK government was the most open and transparent in the world, according to global rankings looking at public access to official data of 86 Governments. However he also claimed the country has “a long way to go” before it has a fully open government.” I have no problem believing the charge of Institutional Arrogance in the case of both of these organisations. I have worked for the BBC albeit as a lowly sound engineer in the 1980’s and I have worked alongside the Conservative Party in the context of an election in 2012 where I declared as a candidate long before the party had worked out how to choose theirs. I spent a lot of time speaking to their activists and to the party themselves. However blaming other partners at this stage in the process is really irrelevant and clearly very stupid. If the Conservatives do want to continue along those lines, the solution is easy. Publish the minutes of the meetings that have taken place so far. Let us the people act as the judge of which of you are being most unreasonable and arrogant. If you won’t put up, its time to shut up and show up, for the debates. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I believe that these debates are important and I have written here previously arguing for them to be shaped differently. For not just the leaders to be involved and for them to take place regionally and not just nationally. I have also argued for the regional debate(s) to include candidates from even smaller parties such as the NHA. However just like the Institutionally Arrogant Conservatives, my wishes have not been fully accommodated. That is the past, what matters now is that they participate with what is on offer and avoid behaving in an even more arrogant manner. We the people deserve better than that!

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About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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