When politicians over use a word then you can be sure they’re trying to convince you something’s happening when it isn’t. Let’s take the word ‘transparency’ as an example. Practically every utterance that rattles past a politician’s tonsils contains a reference to transparency, and because it’s used so frequently we somehow believe everything is as they say…transparent. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a cunning trick.
Our political class are full of tricks, they are the masters of ‘opaqueness’. The last thing they want is for you to know too much or let you get too close to the facts. They even speak a language we don’t understand to confuse and mislead us. Transparency is anathema to them. Remember how ugly things got when the expenses scandal broke? How Heather Brooke had to go to the High Court to get transparency?
But it’s not only politicians who want to keep things hidden from your gaze. Bankers scheme and plot their next scam to bugger up your life behind closed doors, ‘lightly’ regulated and out of sight. Speculators increase the cost of your weekly shop by placing bets in commodity casinos hidden away in far off office blocks in the City of London. Diplomats obfuscate, pontificate and posture while people in places like Gaza suffer.
The greatest casualty of this lack of transparency is trust. If we cannot trust bankers to behave honestly, brokers to be responsible and our politicians and diplomats to act selflessly and transparently, then eventually tensions will rise to such a degree that there is every likelihood that something very unpleasant will result. When trust is betrayed, problems multiply. They need to change their ways before it is too late. Why? Because reform delayed is revolution begun.
Politicians’ reaction to the Wikileaks revelations this week shows all too clearly that they have yet to grasp that society is undergoing a radical transformation. The world is awash with information that can be discovered and duplicated at no cost. No government or organisation can hope to keep control. Perhaps after this week politicians, diplomats, bankers, brokers and heads of large organisations will take time to reflect that there is no longer any hiding place. Their lives are never going to be the same again. Whether they like it or not, transparency is being forced upon them. We should be thankful to Mr Asange for alerting them to the fact that they are living in a new world. It’s a world which requires them to change their behaviour. The consequences of them not doing so will not be pleasant for them – or us.