The train smash that doubled as the recent Australian federal election, and more tellingly, the ‘cluster-intercourse’ (politeness overcame me) that is the US presidential race have something in common.
They both lack any sort of the foundations for prosperity that we demand, indeed, regulate for, in our corporations.
In a corporation, when you do not deliver the results, shareholders move their money elsewhere. Not so in Government.
In a corporation, when the leadership fails to deliver promised results they get fired. Not so in Government, although some do carry the can for the rest, usually on a Last In First Out basis.
In a corporation, if you tell a lie to shareholders, you can go to gaol. Not so in government.
In a corporation, when you do not adequately articulate a realistic and achievable financial plan, bankers will not lend you money. Not so in Government.
In a corporation, when there is a noisy minority mouthing nonsense, you ignore them, or make polite fun of them. Not so in Government, indeed, it seems that the noisy minority often successfully drives the agenda.
How have we allowed this to happen, after all it is supposed to be a democracy, although sometimes I wonder, as who in their right mind would vote for any of the above.
A year ago, the notion that an ego driven billionaire with no experience in government, little affinity to anything beyond his own interests, and little apparent relationship with the truth would be the US President was a laughable prospect. Now he is one of two in a race to the finish.
No laughing matter anymore is it?
How has this happened?
It seems to me that Trump has succeeded wildly where the Liberal party in Australia failed.
He has mastered the tools of immediacy marketing, social media platforms, particularly Twitter, and leveraged the fact that our journalistic capacity has been so gutted, along with the attention span of the electorate, that the capacity for sensible and measured comment and debate has been removed. Have you noticed that everything anyone on the Democratic party side says gets a Trump response, often an outrageous one, on twitter within 5 minutes. The media picks it up, and in the absence of anyone on the newsrooms not playing Pokemon Go, reprints it in entirety as news. Then a few huff and puff for 24 hours and it is forgotten or replaced by the next piece of shambolic inconsistent nonsense. By contrast, the Democrats take a day or so when they are awake to comment on the next of Mr Trumps blatherings, and are not nearly as colourful and entertaining when they do so.
And I have not even mentioned Britain’s new Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, whose mastery of the entertaining absurd rivals that of Mr Trump.
The simple fact is that you do not get headlines with measured, thoughtful analysis of the facts, together with projections that are never favourable to everyone, but you do get headlines with sensational brain-farts that disappear almost as fast as they are produced.
Headlines are now news, there seems to be no demand for substance in excess of 140 characters.
However, that current state is no excuse for not trying. Without the effort to reform from the grass roots the way we select our leaders, and demand from them some level of quality in the political and economic debate, on top of a reasonable degree of integrity and transparency, we are all in deep doo-doo, and it is getting progressively deeper the longer we allow this to keep happening.