Loyalty, pride and shame

Thursday, June 20, 2013

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One of the more discouraging features of our politics is the doling out of rewards, in the form of jobs and contracts, to loyalists of political parties when those parties form the Government.

Given the nature of our politics, we don't expect that this practice will end soon. However, the fact that political loyalty is more important than qualifications, experience or performance should not, we believe, prevent an appointee who has failed from resigning.

There's no doubt that being a loyal member of a political party gives people a sense of entitlement to positions which they are either not qualified to fill or are not competent to execute the duties. This entitlement is spawned by an attitude that working in a political campaign should be rewarded, as well as by avarice, narcissism and economic need.

What is it about working on a political campaign or being elected that makes people qualified for jobs? With what special qualities does political activity endow persons, enabling them to do jobs for which they have neither aptitude nor energy?

To be fair, the appointment of inappropriate persons to jobs and their retention must not be blamed entirely on the supplicant. The blame must be shared by political leaders who also embrace the general rule that the ultimate guarantee of placement and security of tenure is to be loyal to the party leader.

We get the feeling that adherence to political philosophy, party principles and genuine fraternity are secondary concerns in a system that facilitates political leaders who can only energise party members by dangling the prospect of jobs.

In this sort of political jungle, it is unfortunate, but understandable, that you cannot find people who want to give service with the sole goal of nation-building.

What is difficult to understand is why is it that when political appointees are not performing or have committed serious errors they are not removed from office or are told to resign?

Is there no shame by either the appointee or the person who made the appointment? No sense of justice? No desire to do better?

It seems that political leaders and political appointees are oblivious to embarrassment. Indeed, the more public opprobrium, the more it is necessary for political leaders to demonstrate their appreciation for loyalty and to defend the infallibility of the decision to appoint the loyalist.




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