Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Time for Collaborative Government

It's been an interesting week in British politics. Last Thursday's General Election failed to produce an outright winner and we found ourselves with a hung parliament, with no one party enjoying a decision-making majority, for the first time in a generation.

The initial reaction of many pundits in the UK was very disappointing. Instead of looking forwards to a positive change requested by a disillusioned electorate, there were concerns about the lack of a stable government able to enforce their policy.

If you follow me on Twitter you will probably have seen some of my occasional complaints about the childish behaviour exhibited by our politicians, particularly during Prime Minister's Question Time each week. We have lived in a highly tribal environment where everything is black and white, good and bad, right or wrong. The system has lacked subtlety or the recognition that your opponents might have something useful to say.

Looking from a distance at politics in the US, there seem to be similar issues of entrenched battles rather than a shared vision.

At the time of writing this the outcome of negotiations to form a coalition government wasn't known. Yet already we are hearing positive sounds about working together and even respect between politicians. It means there could be a refreshing change ahead. Then again, I might be naive!

I strongly believe that the tribal politics we have experienced has no place in a modern, collaborative society. Instead of worrying about hung parliaments and minority governments, this is an opportunity to reframe our approach. After all, coalitions aren't exactly new elsewhere in the World. 

Let's start looking instead at collaborative government. After all, networking doesn't have to just be about business or individuals. It applies to Government as well.

How much better could policy be if the views of all sides were taken into account before finally formed? Nobody has the monopoly on great ideas or the best approach. Moving away from dogma and towards collaboration will, in my opinion, lead to stronger rather than weaker government.

The rules of engagement have changed in politics as well as in business. It is down to our leaders to grasp the mantle while it is there.


  1. This is so true. The face of British politics has to change. The reality of the fact that the system has been 'stacked' in favour of the 2 larger parties for years and still there is a situation where they cannot get 'past the post'.

    16.5 m people did not vote, the system needs to find out why.

    35 m did not vote for the Conservatives, so they need to listen.

    In fact a minority vote has alwasy Governed the country and like business, politics needs to adapt to the changing landscape.

    In business we have non-executive directors to monitor progress, Sarbanes-Oxley, company law changes and countless other checks to ensure things are done correctly.

    Businesses have been working on partnerships and sponsorships for years, and getting the most out of them a win, win, win for all.

    Politics, as business, must remember one thing. They are there to serve their customers. In the past they seem to have forgotten this, and this vote is proof that the electorate has had enough. If politics were a business at this stage it is currently Woolworths, lots on offer but no real appeal.

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