Identity, where the understanding starts…

I suppose I probably should have been more observant during my first five years as a Councillor to the identity that the Council has of itself. My experience in life suggests that it’s very difficult to really understand a person until you understand the identity they have of themselves. So, the identity that any particular council has of itself is generally the consolidated identity of the majority of the Councillors. In fact, the real truth about the results of any Council, both at a local and regional level is the direct out-working of the very personal identity(s) of the majority of the Councillors.

I think without exception, the real difficulty is that where there are really bad results, those stem directly from situations where the identity of each of the leaders of the group is more important to them than the results they produce.  So we had to ask ourselves, what is it about the identity of individuals who produce really bad results that is the real problem? So I think it comes down to a few really important things, all of them are very personal character identity issues…

1-The first is the obsession with the titles and positions: I am the leader of this or the leader of that, or I am chairman of this or chairman of that… This of course breeds the delusion that they need to convince anyone who will listen of how important it is what they are doing…
2-The second is the view of superiority that these people have over the others, they actually believe that they are “better” than all the others… They believe that they got to that leadership position because they really are better, faster, quicker, and more effective than all the others. And if you are to have any dialogue with any of them then, you need to reinforce that otherwise you really have nothing to talk about… The realty is you will walk away eventually with one understanding: “the Emperor has no clothes”…
3-The third is that they will do anything necessary to keep their positions. They have no compulsion about lying, cheating, or doing anything else necessary to stay in their positions. Their positions are like the oxygen they need to breathe…
4-The fourth is that they have perfected the art of diverting any questions about actual results to the activity that they believe will distract you from understanding anything about any actual results in any area. So if ever questions are asked about what they were accomplishing in this area or that area they will immediately tell you about all the activity being engaged in regarding that particular issue. No matter what you do to try to get to the bottom of what is actually happening that you will continuously and relentlessly be diverted to the activity they are engaging in… If you ask too many questions in any area, they will make it their mission to destroy you…
5-The fifth obsession is really two sides of the same coin: leadership will take any possible credit for anything going right, even with the flimsiest association to the truth. And on the other side they will aggressively point blame away from themselves about any difficulty making it someone else’s fault, even when very clearly it is their fault…

So, understanding English local politics is all about understanding the very personal identities of the people that make up that local politics. Essentially, there are really only three levels of government in the United Kingdom: Borough Councils, County Councils, and the central government. However, the real truth is that “all politics is local”.  So if political decisions don’t seem to make sense to you, then step back and look at the identities of the people making those decisions, the truth will soon come out…

4 thoughts on “Identity, where the understanding starts…

  1. You don’t refer to any particular council. But in my opinion much – not, perhaps, all – of what you’ve written does apply to Surrey Heath. The willingness to take credit, and the lack of willingness to say when things aren’t going well is, as I see it, astounding. We suffer from the fact that the local authorities are dominated by one political party. We need much greater challenge of what’s being said and what’s being (or not being) done.

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