Respect and dignity seem to be no more

I don’t know if I have become more critical, or the whole world is changing so rapidly. I can remember when I didn’t have anything to moan about for days on end, and yet these days it’s a daily occurrence. I always thought that conduct in such august institutions as the White House, Parliament, and 10 Downing St, demanded an adult approach which was dignified, respectful, rather than like a three ring circus, or a brawl in a downtown pub.

With respect to politicians, it would seem that more and more are being steered to make exhibitions of themselves for the sake of sound bites, to gain popularity, and most of all at the behest of spin-doctors, making instant decisions. The most glaring example was when Obama, the supposed leader of the world, theoretically, if not practically, suddenly took a decision to have a hamburger, in a hamburger joint, for lunch. Can you imagine what the surging of all the hoard into one restaurant, must have done to the quick snack of the regulars, with the security that is required, the advisers, the hanger-ons and the Press, all jostling. The fact that it was a publicity stunt dreamed up by some spin doctor, only adds to the indignity.

I wonder what genius decided that our Prime Minister should go on to You Tube. Anyone conversant with his withdrawn character would have known that it was a disaster. He hasn’t had, nor never could have the devil-may-care outlook of Tony Blair, who might have got away with it because he could speak off-the-cuff. Once again, spin doctors, with a totally different perspective, were shooting from the hip. I always thought Prime Minister’s Question Time was a publicity jaunt, rather than a political tool. I consider that it is designed to please the electorate that our representatives are attending the debates, when we all know that usually only a few are, because the rest are either in committee, in their own offices, or in their constituencies, if not in the restaurant. That particular showpiece is nothing more than pure theatre, and the PM got it right when he said that the leader of the opposition was screaming personalities, and therefore fighting the next election, not important matters that should have been dealt with in all our current crises.

This business of being able to record TV programs, and then play them later is a great advantage when you have the most disorientated programme ever, The Apprentice. I have mentioned this before because I find it so undignified, so disrespectful, and so totally divorced from common business practice, that it must be engineered, even scripted, for sensationalism, offered as entertainment. We have experienced time and again the way the programmers of TV fool the viewer, by using outtakes, and other ruses to enhance what is basically a dull subject. What I object to most is that this is presented as the efforts of people who were chosen because of their high ability as contestants for a senior post in a viable organisation, and in consequence pretending that the backbiting, the ill manners and the undermining behaviour are acceptable in the UK business world. We are supposed, I assume, to think of it as a lark, because in the following part of the programme, these people are held up to ridicule, with flashbacks of their off-camera behaviour. I just wonder if they knew what they were getting into when it all started, and, if they are not actors, how it will affect their future. On the second thoughts, the whole set-up, the projects and the behaviour are so farcical, theatrical and absurd, that I have decided it is scripted and the contestants are actors. No one, seriously hoping to become a senior member of staff could possibly behave in the way they do.

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