Politicians and mobile phones

  • 2007-10-03
  • Harry Gaffney, Riga
Few will argue that use of a mobile phone whilst driving is detrimental to road safety. Laboratory tests show that, mentally, the offending driver is trying to control the vehicle with the minimum amount of awareness, as up to 60% of his attention is diverted to the use of the phone. If stress is involved this figure can increase dramatically.

Which is why in some countries a fatal or near fatal accident involving the use of a phone whilst driving will usually result in a custodial sentence for the wrong-doer. Political incumbents, placed in office by an expectant and trusting electorate, gratefully accepted their newly acquired power with a promise to do all they could on behalf of a people who ask little more than transparency, objectivity, probity within reason and courageous decision making. Qualities which people have a right to expect from those who aspire to privilege.
Few people are totally free of dishonesty whether it be the employee who uses a boss's work time to browse the internet or the motorist who corrupts both himself and the policeman by paying a bribe to escape a misdemeanor, or the policeman who... etc, etc.

But when people in high office, tasked with the day to day running of a country, have one eye on their job and the other on self-enrichment, it is reasonable to assume that the country and it's inhabitants will be the poorer for this perfidious behavior. Corruption of political leadership by thought, word or deed will retard a country's progress at the very least and may even nullify previously hard won gains - as assets are surreptitiously diverted or misappropriated, be it by means of favors done for a fist-full of dollars in an attache case, impeding the progress of an investigation or a public contract handed out at an inflated price. Examples are limitless. Internationally the country will be seen as a lame duck, not to be taken seriously and with little voice on the world stage.

There are, no doubt, many in Government with the country's best interests at heart who are equally contemptuous of those who use parliamentary privilege or mayoral license as a means of "making hay while the sun shines." They will have to undertake the time consuming and expensive burden of rooting out and curtailing the activities of the few whose attention span on behalf of the nation is limited, and to exert appropriate retribution where applicable. This will need both courage and tenacity.
We wish them well in their endeavors as we watch from the side-lines.

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