Politics and authenticity

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We’re told that this is one of the most important elections in living memory - the chance to protest against Brexit or Tory austerity, or even to stop a self-described “democratic socialist” entering the chambers of power. 

But we’re somehow turned off. Have we given up? Are we just bored of the rhetoric? Have we lost all faith in people meant to represent our values and aspirations? All of the above.

I spend a large amount of my time with clients, suggesting they should be authentic about who they are, as this will attract more candidates and retain their employees, but are any of our politicians truly authentic?

Perhaps we’re channelling the great Carl Sagan, who described the Earth as “a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” elaborating poetically: “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”

Those generals could quite easily be political leaders competing for our vote, regardless of reality or long-term cost. You only have to look at the recent fact check debacle to see the lows teams are willing to take to win a debate. Meanwhile, no matter who gets into power, the world will keep turning and we’ll do the best we can to live a happy, fulfilling life. 

In a galaxy far, far away, Brexit happened

‘Brexit’ sits alongside ‘moist’ as one of the UK’s most hated words and is surely the point at which even political stalwarts started to lose hope. The bus, the images of Farage slurping pints, the constant divisions and in-fighting… What started off as something of a very British drama ended up as a horror franchise that won’t die.  

The will they, won’t they narrative has divided parties to left-wing and right-wing - with the centre-ground a cavernous space between the two extremes. In my opinion, the parties have failed to be authentic and therefore none of them has captured the ‘hearts or minds’ of the politically homeless, leaving many voters with no direct affiliations to any one organisation. Coupled with the ‘Brexit shambles’, lies, damned lies and statistics, this has left many voters scratching their heads, or worse still, retreating towards ignoring the election altogether.       

For the politically disillusioned, Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity (no, not the Tory one...),  helps voters cut through the bullsh**, and make their own minds up. Getting reinvigorated about politics isn’t about reading through reams of pledges, it can simply be checking the facts and getting informed. 

Not voting isn’t a protest

It’s easy to sit in a bubble and avoid the election. In fact, as a company, should we behave as per a dinner party guest and side-step any political conversations? As employees look to their CEOs and organisations for information - over the media, according to this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer - we have somewhat of a duty to promote political, economic and social conversations amongst our people. 

We have a varied workforce of differing ages, views and backgrounds. In fact for some of our people, this will be the first election they’ve voted on. Given this diversity, it would be easy to encourage avoidance of political topics for fear of causing a combative environment, but instead of hampering discussions, we want to facilitate them. 

Everything we do is focused on STEM businesses, with the impact of Brexit a huge talking point for clients across automotive, pharma, technology and more. Coupled with stats on skills shortages, the rise of the flexible workforce and productivity stagnation, it’s vital we’re keeping up-to-date with our industry. Rather than burying our heads in the sand, it’s our responsibility to understand each marketplace and the factors impacting them. Our very success is dependent on the world around us and that’s why we don’t treat politics as a taboo topic. 

On election day, we’re operating our usual flexible working policy to allow our people to vote, I encourage everyone to have their say, however, I completely sympathise with anyone who is unsure, because for me, it’s not as clear cut what the parties stand for - like it used to be going back a decade or so.

Have your say and vote!

 

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