At the risk of making a bad pun, “The signs are everywhere.” Quite literally as it turns out. The roads are lined end to end with the smiling portraits of the various candidates for the upcoming elections. This newspaper is littered with glowing statements of intent to bring milk and honey to the electorate if only they would cast a vote in their direction. I get it. And it’s no better or different anywhere else except for one critical thing. That single thing is a healthy dose of cynicism and a critical and inquisitive media.
At a guess I think I must have passed pictures of 60 candidates from four different organizations. Of these 60 I recognized a few names and faces but the others are ghosts. Are they, or are any of the others, any good at what they do? Who knows? And why don’t we know? Simple, no one is asking them that question. And so I suggest that this newspaper publish the resume of each candidate. A real resume, not a political speech or manifesto full of pie-in-the-sky promises but a nuts-and-bolts resume.
You know … Formal education, grades and how that education applies to what they are running for. Accredited professional training and certifications that give them the training they need to run a country. The last three jobs held and what job they hold now. References from that job. If the last job was as some sort of politician, list the accomplishments they achieved during that tenure and their attendance and expense record. You know, the kind of information you would have to provide if you were applying for a manager's job at Burger King or Domino’s or something.
After all, shouldn’t the people you elect actually have the credentials necessary to do the job?
How many times have they promised to deal with the short-term contract issue yet nothing ever happens administration after administration. How long has the Mullet Bay thing gone on or GEBE been out of control? And how many times is it that the first thing the newly-minted or appointed politician does is hire a consultant or some sort of expert to solve the problems the politician or appointee claimed they already knew how to solve when they were running for office?
I know it’s a novel concept, but why not actually elect people that know what they are doing in the first place and not need the consultants or experts? And how do you know if they know what they are doing or are any good at it?
Another novel concept, you ask them straight up for their qualifications. Just like you would ask the person you hired to paint your house if he ever painted a house before or knew how to do it.
I remember about 20 years ago , an individual wrote a letter to the editor complaining that the bank had turned him down for a business loan. The basis of his complaint was that the bank was being terribly unreasonable for noting his complete absence of credentials, asking him for a business plan in writing and questioning him on the fact that he knew nothing about the business he proposed to run. This individual then became the pet of a specific political party and was soon shuffled into the directorship of a company dealing with critical infrastructure that he then ran into the ground. He was rewarded for that failure by getting appointed to an even more important company which he is currently and single-handedly running into the ground.
Mark Twain said it best. “You deserve the government you elect.” And was he ever so right about that.
I am reminded what was said at a VROMI [Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure – Ed.] hearing in answer to a charge that the specifications provided for a building permit were simply and basically wrong. When questioned about it the defendant's lawyer said simply and without any embarrassment, “Well you know how politicians are, you can't believe anything they say.” And mind you, that was the lawyer for the politician himself speaking on the record.
And so I ask because no one else seems to, “Who are all these people on the signs and what have they ever done in their lives that that says they are qualified in any way to run your country?” I would really like to know. And maybe you should as well before the curtain closes on that booth.