Sunday, April 03, 2011

The difference between ideas and plans

Throughout every campaign ever, every candidate and their party has made a promise (with the technical exception of Grumpy the clown in Brazil who campaigned on the promise to do nothing). That's how it has always been. These campaign promises are necessary: they provide a distinction between the parties, and give reasons to vote for one party over the other. But often these promises remain just that: promises. They never end up getting realised. I can remember an anti-Bloc ad from last election, stating that of all the party's promises, none had been achieved.
But parties keep putting out promises without an inkling of how they are going to be achieved. Yes, it is nice that you will encourage government transparency, but how? It is nice that you will close Gitmo, but what will you do with the people held there? It is nice that you intend to enact some reform or other, but do you have the legislation ready to hit the floor and start the approval process? In short, it is nice that you have an ideal, but how will you get there?
If the whole point of a promise is that it gets realised, would it not be logical, then, that it be as easy as it could to get it achieved? Isn't that the whole point? But my suspicion is that solutions are actually less appealing than the idea at heart. It is much more appealing to say that we will make government more transparent by making information free than to propose that the documents be publicised on a main government webpage, that government expense reports be published, government funded expenses be published (credit card style), and that all agencies receiving government financial support comply with these standards. Something just tells me that "Government Transparency" is more appealing than the detailed solution.
But those are just my thoughts. What are yours? Tell us in the comments below.

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