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Government Distrust

PARTNERING WITH CITIZENS AND CIVIL SOCIETY

This section simply refers to the document "Together for Better Public Services: Partnering with Citizens and Civil Society" which deals quite extensively with the notion of "co-production". We will spare you the anxiety of now knowing by killing the suspense. The term co-production simply means offloading onto companies. This works for the government because they pay less than if they would to do it themselves (because of the astronomical degree of incompetence built-in in bureaucratic systems) and it works for companies because they get juicy government contracts which would otherwise not be available. And so, yes, citizens get more efficient "services" (of the useless kind) for lower costs. But what has this to do with increasing trust in governments? Absolutely nothing. This is just another bureaucratic job security advertisement and "cost saving" initiative for politicians which will act as enabler to ensure continuation in their jobs through the expedient means of spending more money in vote buying instead of "service" provision.

FOCUS ON CITIZENS

This is yet another OECD book/booklet that they are pushing in this area. They probably placed it here because it does not fit anywhere else and it is most certainly unrelated to trust. However, it contains the 10 magic spell words… guiding principles…guiding principles to support open and inclusive policy making and service delivery in practice. Which allegedly have something to do with government trust, but we are not sure. In any case, they put it there therefore it is fair game. Pull!!!! …errr. We mean, to task.

Principle #1 - Commitment

It would seem that if the government is not committed to this process, it won't happen. WOW! What a revelation. If they are not interested it won't happen. We certainly needed the OECD to provide this insight because we would have been unable to reach such a valuable conclusion on our own… we poor, poor drones.

Principle #2 - Rights

It would seem that our rights must be "firmly grounded in law or policy" and that "government obligations to respond must be clearly stated". In other words, unless there is something forcing the government to give us our rights, we have none. The fact that governments only have privileges and not rights has nothing to do with it. Got it.

Principle #3 - Clarity

Objections and limitations to public information, participation and consultation must be well defined. In other words, you have no rights unless we, the government say so… oh and BTW, we will tell you which ones and how far. Got it.

Principle #4 - Time

People should be consulted early on. This is so that bureaucrats may have the time to spin "solutions" to their own convenience.

Principle #5 - Inclusion

Now that citizens know their rights and their limits (as defined by their overlords) it is necessary for all of them to participate of this process in order to maintain the illusion of sharing power. And so everybody must be included in the process. Got it.

Principle #6 - Resources

There must be adequate resources to ensure a successful process. Translation, there must be an enormous amount of bureaucrats being paid for the duration of this process to ensure their job security with your taxes. Got it.

Principle #7 - Co-ordination

There must be internal co-ordination within the government in regards to inform, engage and consult civil society. In other words, all bureaucrats must agree that whatever is done with people, this should not under any circumstance affect their jobs or privileges. Clear!

Principle #8 - Accountability

Governments must inform participants as to how their input will be used. However, what governments will not do is to allow regular people in the actual processes that will supposedly use this information. This is so because this would prevent bureaucrats and politicians to look after their own interests. In this manner governments are accountable but this kind of accountability is meaningless. If you need examples, just Google for Trans-Pacific Partnership or Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Nicely played!

Principle #9 - Evaluation

Governments need to self-evaluate their performance and for that they need to build ad-hoc tools. Hummm…. do you see some sort of vested interest or bias in this process? Noooooo…. That can't be. Not a chance.

Principle #10 - Active citizenship

Governments need to "explore new roles to effectively support autonomous problem-solving by citizens…". No, we are not kidding you. They actually published this one. So… in summary, governments should engage in these practices in order to support open and inclusive policy making and service delivery so that in the end people may solve the problems themselves. In other words, the government wants your input and your partnership in decision making so that you end up solving the problem yourself. Small question though, if we are to solve our problems ourselves, why the hell do we need the government in the first place???!!!!

Answer: we don't!

CONCLUSION

This is the second article in a series of six detailing why you should not trust governments. Most of the information was kindly (and ridiculously expensively) collated by the OECD for our perusal… although we are pretty sure that this was not what they had in mind when they did so. The bottom line is simple; you should not trust governments because they are not responsive at any level, they provide so-called "services" we don't want, need or care for, at astonishing costs. Furthermore, when everything fails they offload on us pushing us to obtain our own solutions. The governments themselves are telling us that we don't need them! But if we don't need them, isn't this reason enough not to trust them? More to come in the next 5 articles.

Meanwhile, if you feel that you have been wronged by this article, it is your right to feel so. Next time you have your scheduled consultancy meeting with your responsive "representative" where you will disclose your orders to this person, please feel free to mention this article.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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