Search This Blog

CCE in brief

My photo
Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 1 November 2013

Work Done Right

Best of all, it's communicated in a user-friendly way.

That's smart business.
Embedded image permalink

I wonder if Scott Reid likes Chronicle

Putting a Polish on True Grit

Everything about the Conservative approach to politics fits within their emotional pitch to Canadians; sound-bite, reactive, targeted.  The whole operation is designed to make people feel reactive - to crime, to corruption, to anything that makes them feel like someone else has an unfair advantage.  That includes social services and education.  The Tory narrative also encourages voters to think strictly about their immediate issues, which don't include the environment or lateral, structural thinking.

When the Liberals try to ape the Conservative approach, they help grow more conservatives as surely as if they were to talk strictly about conservative issues like crime and punishment.  Even when the Liberals gain votes from this approach, it comes at the expense of realigning Party interests to lighter shade of blue.  The results are the same.

Liberals need to be Liberals in how they operate, which means exploring the tools that engender proactive, patient, pro-social and long-term thinking.  We're finally seeing a move in that direction now through the way email blasts are framed, an emphasis on listening over messaging and the kinds of positions that are being taken and through big picture moves like open data, open government and crowd-sourced policy ideas.

The trick for Liberals at all levels now is to rediscover their sense of purpose and optimism and to have the courage to keep building what they believe in - which, at it's core, is a stronger Canada for all.

Colle On Political Staff

Colle's empathy for political staff and concern for both their immediate well-being and the impact of deleterious work conditions on their long-term interests is to be commended.

Given the enormous power, high expectations and partisan stresses being placed on them, it's no wonder stories of staff are emerging in abundance.  When it happens so regularly, it's not an individual thing, it's a structural thing.  Where are young staff learning to act against the public interest when they're spending their entire working careers in politics?

Next, there will be more questions about exactly what training and supports they get to do their job as effectively as possible.  That, in turn, will lead to interest in hiring practices, which will lead back to elected officials themselves and the institutions that support them.

Yet another reason why smart pols are going the Open Government route now - best to own up and fix one's own house proactively rather than risking being called out on poor HR management later.  There's a lot of focus on occupational mental health, productivity and innovation these days, with pressure being placed by governments on the private sector to do better.

And if there's one thing we should be noticing, it's that there is low tolerance for political hypocrisy these days.

Why I Won't Be Calling For Rob Ford To Resign

"I was taken aback," said Morris.  "It was over the top.  That is not his job."

Clearly, we're in uncharted territory here.  Under circumstances as incriminating as Ford's are, most politicians feel compelled to show at least some contrition, even if it's only to mend their reputations rather than preserve the integrity of their office.  

After initially saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," Bill Clinton eventually conceded he'd acted inappropriately; it didn't hurt his reputation any.  It's become trendy for politicians to admit to pot-smoking - as that's something a lot of average citizens due regardless of the legality, these confessions humanize the politicians and suggest it's the law, not the people that need adjustment.

But this isn't the case with Rob Ford, is it?  Crack cocaine smoking isn't such a common vice.  The production of cocaine is complex and tied to vast illegal operations that pose a significant threat to civil society.  Beyond that, Ford appears not to have any instinct for reputational defence; intransigence is his singular method of operation.

And there are still those who love him for it; he's a man on a mission, functionally fixed and steadfast in his position, no matter how ludicrous it becomes.  It's the same approach Stephen Harper is taking to the Senate Scandal, like so many of the scandals that have preceded it; stick to the messaging and wait for the whole thing to blow over.  

Both men still have their admirers, even among those who are completely frustrated with their approach and apparent lack of ethical compasses.  Ford and Harper have survived no-win scenarios before; you can't count either of them out yet. 

Which is a significant problem.

There's this crazy thing where we have begun to associate survival with leadership.  The ability of Ford and Harper to hold onto the reigns of power no matter how egregious the actions they themselves or the people they have hired commit isn't a sign of strong management skills, it's testament to their capacity to do wrong and get away with it.

Survival is inward-focused, selfish and all-to-often, detrimental to the well-being of the broader community.  Criminals who kill their enemies, catching civilians in the cross-fire are extreme examples of skilled survivors.

Leadership, on the other hand, is about obsolescence;  it puts the long-term interests of the community first.

Which trait do we tend to reward among our politicians?  It's the bombast, the story-telling, the heavy focus on bullet-point marketing and micro-targeted messages that win votes, not a thoughtful dedication to policy and a focus on accomplishment over sales.

Rob Ford has proven himself a political survivor, but his survival has come at the expense of the well-being of his office, his institution and the reputation of the city itself.  Reporters and Police Chiefs have been caught up in a net of "I know you are, but what am I" - completely unprecedented situations for professionals to find themselves in.

Were Ford a bureaucrat, Ford the Mayor would fire him with the full support of the public.  Ford the Mayor wouldn't care about why Ford the Civil Servant was a mess; that wouldn't be his problem.  That kind of scenario plays out all the time in the real world; people grappling with performance-impacting mental health issues, personal crises and familial challenges get fired irregardless of the added strain losing a job will place on them.

The system, in aggregate, is being given preference over the people who allow that system to operate.  Is it any wonder why we have such massive structural challenges in Canada?  Does it start to make sense why mental health is quickly becoming the civil rights issue of our time?

Rob Ford isn't an average employee who can be let go of easily; he's the Mayor of the biggest city in Canada.  There are no mechanisms to force him from his office between now and the next election - if he refuses to go on his own, it becomes the responsibility of everyone else to figure out how to deal with him.

That means it's up to us to lead the way forward.

I'm a big believer that every challenge provides an opportunity (which is why I tend to be good at problem-solving).  Toronto will unquestionably survive in the long-run; dare I say it's too big to fail.  

As we have a broader recognition that we need to do a better job at mental health comprehension and accommodation and as it's now very clear the Mayor has mental health-related concerns, let's make that our focus.  After all, if we can successfully remediate and accommodate a Mayor, supporting lower-level employees should be a cake-walk.

Project Remediate Ford needs to target his inner circle of enablers, chiefly his brother.  I'm sure Doug has Rob's best political intentions at heart and sees that as his appropriate focus, but come on - his brother is a heart attack waiting to happen.  You can't celebrate political wins from the grave.  It should be Doug's fraternal imperative to put his brother's health first.

Same goes for Ford's key Council supporters and financial backers; put the man ahead of the interests they see that man representing.  Empathize with him a little bit, help him onto a more sustainable path.  

That requires a big shift, though, from a "what can you do for me" enabling approach to a "what can I do for you" supportive approach.  That requires revisiting priorities, even putting one's own interests and relationship with Ford the Mayor at risk in support of Ford the Man.  Mark Towhey has already demonstrated it's possible; if enough people follow suit, we may actually be able to convince Rob Ford that intransigence isn't a strength and seeking help isn't a weakness.

To be fully comfortable in this approach, Ford's enablers will need the support of the community at large; they will by default have to become strong advocates in the vein of a Michael Kirby, pushing for a paradigm shift in how we look at mental health.

In other words, to fix the Ford Problem in a sustainable way requires everyone to change their view about the nature of mental health and the purpose of personal relationships.  If the people at the top communicate with the people at the bottom and create a shared vision of what an improved perspective could look like, that is absolutely doable.  It also happens to be critically necessary.

This is why I am not in favour of sweeping the social challenge that is Rob Ford under the carpet - there are too many mental health-related problems under there already.  We are actually fortunate to be in a position where we have no choice but to revist our beliefs if we want to clear the barrier before us and keep moving forward.

We've gotten into a bad habit of removing people who are symptoms of a structural illness instead of holistically and collaboratively seeking to fix the problem.  If Rob Ford is the tipping point that catalyzes a different approach, that's not a bad legacy to leave behind.

Thursday 31 October 2013

The Best Policy

Two stories that have been getting a fair bit of attention today:

Rob Ford has been called out by the Toronto Police for acting in a disappointing way (i.e. taking illegal drugs and fraternizing with drug dealers) - and for lying about it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on his way to Calgary for a Party Convention is being dogged by the Senate Scandal and the mounting improbability of his not having known what was going on before he said he did - (i.e. he lied about it).

Then there's story number three - how it is that Harper (and his Finance Minister) ended up at a media availability with Rob Ford while Ford was in the midst of scandal but before it was confirmed as legitimate, tainting his own brand.

All in all, not a good day for political trust-building in Canada.

There are plenty of differences between what's happening to Ford versus what's happening to Harper; while Harper is a workaholic whose vices appear limited to pop, hockey and spinning, Ford (as evidence demonstrates) is less committed to his day-job and, well, there's the crack and booze thing.

Where Ford seems to have been rather hands-on in the attempted cover-up of his crack-smoking video, Harper appears to have worked overtime to create a narrative of plausible deniability in relation to his Senate Scandal.

The key point Ford and Harper have in common is that they have been dishonest - likely with themselves as much as with the public.  At some point, both partook in acts they knew were inappropriate and, not wanting to face personal accountability for those acts, chose to lie about them.

Both men are now being haunted by their initial lapse of integrity and the subsequent spiral downward that has followed, catching more and more people up in their nets of deception.

Three lessons can be drawn from this.

First - there's a reason they say that honest is the best policy - because it is.  Lies are like rust, they can eat away at your reputation and your conscience (provided you're not a psychopath and don't have one).  Under pressure of cognitive dissonance they can be very tempting as quick-fixes, but that's like taking oxycontin to dull the pain caused by work stress - it doesn't solve the problem, it creates new ones.  Yes, people get away with lying all the time, but when you're in a position of power, when you intentionally withhold information pertinent to the public and when you act like a bully, that's a delusional risk to take.

Second - it's worth noting that Harper never planned to become a politician, he was coerced into it.  Throughout his time as PM he's said he doesn't enjoy the social aspects of the job, which, as communicator-in-chief and leader of the people are crucial.  Ford seemed content as a bullish Councillor and has never really changed his approach since becoming Mayor.  We hear, periodically, that people should pursue what they love, not what they find convenient.  That is particularly true for leaders.  There's no shame in not being a leader - few people truly are.  

Leadership isn't about power, but being a conduit for power; leadership isn't about what you gain, but what you give.  Being a leader is a noble sacrifice for the greater good; by the nature of the position, your own interests must come after everyone else's.

Third - it's crucial to have realistic expectations.  As a society, we don't.  Most of the time, we don't measure expectations by anything other than feeling, which are poor metrics.  We expect our leaders to be superhuman, our employees to be machines, our partners to be constantly exciting and our kids to be soldiers.  None of that is realistic.

People will present themselves as perfect, because they know that's what sells; in this way, pinning blame for your own mistakes is as narcissistic as demanding continuous compliments.  Other folk will consider themselves failures for not being unrealistically perfect.  

Based on what the three people who saw and described the Ford crack tape, the Mayor himself said something along the lines of "I'm supposed to be this Great Right..." Supposed to be, implying he knows he isn't.  What kind of internal dialogue do you think Ford had about what was expected of him vs. who he is and what he's capable of?  Could any of his bad behaviours have been attempts to escape that cognitive dissonance?

We're all human and must recognize each other as such.  Some people are short, some people are tall; some are good at math while others are natural athletes.  It's important to test ourselves in various fields (that's how we grow) but standardized standards only succeed in creating false expectations, to the detriment of all.

Now, let's do these in reverse:

- Set reasonable expectations as a whole and accept each other as human - do unto others, etc.

- to thine ownself be true; take the time to know who you are, who you aren't, and work consciously to be the best you possible.  I'll never be you as well as you can be, but with effort, I can become a better me.

- The truth will set you free.  It's a poorly understood cliche, because although we talk about accountability and transparency all the time, we never stop to consider the deeper meaning.  Truth is freedom from false expectation; truth removes the invisible bonds that shackle us in ignorance and keep us from reaching our full individual and collective potential.

The trick is being conscious of this underlying truth and acting in accordance with it.  Not any easy task, certainly, but fortunately, it's not one we're meant to complete alone.

UPDATE:  Whatever might be meant by Wright's later email to a colleague, that "the PM knows, in broad terms only, that I personally assisted Duffy when I was getting him to agree to repay the expenses," and regardless of the officer's statement, offered elsewhere, that "I have seen no evidence to suggest that the Prime Minister was personally involved in the minutae of those matters," it seems clear that he knew a great deal more than he has let on.  Which was, you will remember, nothing.

You can focus on circling the wagons and attacking your opponents, but when it's about crafted messages rather than sincere conversation, you're invariably going to say something that serves a purpose rather than represents the truth.  From there on in, you're trapped.

Which is why, as cliche a phrase as it is, the truth really does set you free.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

An Unconventional Truth

 V for Vendetta

But then, it is only a convention that we obey the law.
In general, people like peace, order and good government.  Regulations are a part of that.  Gripe as we might when caught driving distractedly or otherwise cutting corners, we get that the rules are in place to maintain a shared standard for everyone. 
When it's blatantly obvious that those who make and preach the sanctity of those rules disregard them, that doesn't sit well.  Nobody likes to feel they're unilaterally held to a standard ignored by the folks in charge.  It makes us feel taken advantageous of, treated like lesser-thans.  When the law is seen to be inconsistently applied, it ceases to be recognized as law. 
It becomes a convention.  It's much harder to get people to hold to conventions that are counter to their interests and clearly skewed towards the interests of a select minority.
And that's just the truth.

Diomedes in the Rough: Landing Bridges at the International Economic Forum of the Americas

The Forum's gathering in Toronto begins today; on the agenda are heady topics such as recalibrating the global economy, the global energy revolution and doing business with Russia.  Speakers include heads of multi-national corporations, advisers to Heads of State and former Vice Presidents.
While the Forum caters to senior decision makers, business leaders and world leading experts, they have also seen fit to invite a handful of folk like me
Count on me doing what I always do - identifying common ground, making connections between unlikely but complimentary partners and adding value to the conversation with some unique insight, always with a focus on developing shared solutions for our collective future.
It's going to be fun.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Polio In Syria

The greatest threat humanity faces is not an impending Zombie Apocalypse.  It's not secret government programs to inflict mind control through fluoride or immunization programs.  It's not even that the actual calamity that is war, although war is always a contributing factor, World War I being an example.
That threat is the same as it has always been - disease.
Living in the comfort of clean buildings in clean cities with access to public healthcare and pharmacies on every corner, it's easy for we of the Privileged World to buy into the myth of a superhuman, more "natural" ancestor that was better off than we are today. 
In truth, however, our ancestors led shorter lives and were crippled by illnesses we brush off as easily-treated inconveniences.  This was a problem exacerbated by urban density and mobility, as best exemplified by The Black Death
Illness does not know rank, nor river bank - it infects king and pauper alike.  It took the recognition of this simple fact, that what cripples one of us puts us all at risk to spur a culture shift that began to recognize people not as immutable silos, but parts of a system.  Public infrastructure, civic duty, cleanliness, conflict resolution and yes, immunization programs and even wealth redistribution are responses to this reality.
But we've become complacent.  We take the boons of civilization for granted; instead of considering the impact of issues like individual civic engagement, income levels, housing and access to proper nutrition, justice and healthcare on society on a whole, we've started look at our neighbours through a lens of "us" and "them" again.  We do this at our peril - poverty and crime aren't individual issues, they are social sicknesses, signs of a system out of balance.  When society becomes sick, when it goes to war with itself, illnesses of the individual follow.
Take Syria, for example.  The government chose the path of violence over the path of compromise, leading to an ever-escalating conflict that has seen the return of illnesses once considered eradicated within their borders. 
Diseases don't use passports, nor do they care about state-of-the-art metal detectors.  The infectious illnesses in places like Syria will spread, eventually finding their way to places like Canada.  Were we to have a fully-immunized populace, this would pose no problem; the immunity of the individual would protect the masses.
But we've been cutting back on in-school health programs as cost-savings measures.  As more and more people slide out of the middle class into poverty, the correlating access to preventative medicine, everything from infectious disease inoculation to proper dental care will decrease, increasing susceptibility to other illnesses.  Conditions of poverty are not conditions of cleanliness, creating incubators for disease. 
Then, there's the green-living naturopathic movement that, in its extreme forms, views medicine as detrimental to the God-given immune system strength that was the gift of our superhuman  ancestors.  Add to this the anti-centralized government movements that see inoculations, fluoride and taxation as systems of state control that enslave the people against their will.  The extremes of the Tea Party crowd have made it clear they are willing to let the State crumble as they stand tall in conviction of their individual righteousness.
Society has increasingly moved into a laissez-faire, individualistic pattern of behaviour.  The Syrian civil war was unfortunate, but fundamentally not our problem.  Poverty and insufficient education and civic engagement among certain demographic groups living in expanding pockets of society are the fault of the people themselves; it's their responsibility to pull up their own bootstraps.
As the fringes of our social system decay, we are collectively becoming more susceptible to civic viruses, as we're witnessing within our system of governance.  As that system is increasingly crippled by democratic deficiencies and service/infrastructure rot, we are collectively becoming more susceptible to the epidemic that has done in Syria; if that happens, it won't take long for infectious diseases of the body to follow.
The solution to this impending problem, the "burning platform" issue, is the same now as it has ever been; recognize the whole as more than the sum of its parts.  Accept that individual freedom in a social context cannot exist without an equal measure of civic responsibility.
And for God's sake, think ahead.  After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 
That's offering value

Monday 28 October 2013

Patterns of Evidence


I was never a fan of sitcoms growing up; it never struck me as funny, watching people back into completely avoidable, completely pointless conundrums of their own design.  It's probably the same reason I cringe when I see political advice taking the form of "avoiding risk" when it comes to providing answers or the whole thing around playing word-games to frame convenient truths.

There's a sort of geocentric logic to this, certainly; if you refuse to recognize a problem or never clearly connect yourself to it, you will always have the plausible deniability excuse to fall back on.  If self-preservation is your goal, it's a good medium-term fix, but a medium-term one only.

Obfuscation joins "but they did it to" and "but look what they're doing" as the childhood throwbacks of political discourse.  The people have short-term memory, as they say in politics; they vote against, not for.  Attack ads work, no matter what anyone says about them, which is why they remain popular.  Politicians needn't run faster than the bear, only faster than their opponents.

But there's that niggling pattern of behaviour thing.  Nobody wants to be fooled twice - no, correction, nobody wants to be played for a fool twice.  When we hear through scandal after scandal that nobody knew, it isn't a big deal and various repetitions of "we are smart and ethical, they are dumb and immoral", we eventually grow tired of being treated like imbeciles.  There is a certain element to the Senate Scandals that after ten years of taking inches, Canadians have finally decided to deny Harper the full mile.

Alas, it would be short-sighted for the Opposition Parties to suggest that Team Harper is the embodiment of this pattern of wanton bad-behaviour and cynicism; to do so would be to deny a bigger pattern that is emerging and set themselves up for a similar fall from grace.

When it becomes about winning exclusively, hypocrisy is inevitable; in politics, so is the ensuing additions to our democratic deficit.  Few Canadians still trust political righteousness, which is why they're turning out of politics entirely.

There's the rub; politics is about control, victory and self-preservation.  Leadership, on the other hand, is about empowerment, trust and communication.  Both trust and communication require a willingness to accept fault and to amend one's positions, which in turn means an admission of vulnerability.  In politics, weaknesses among your opponents are opportunities to exploit, rather than admissions of humanity which remind us we all stand upon common ground.

Which brings us to another emergent picture; our democracy is not well.  From all levels, there are many who are willing to let it go, or would rather undermine the people within the system than try to make it work.  It could all turn out so differently, if we were willing to make the effort, if our leaders were willing to internalize the concept of sacrifice they demand of others.

And there's nothing funny about "if only."

Driving to Distraction

People tell me I have trouble focusing.  When I talk to them about the connection between things like space design, communication, mental health, labour and driving practices, they tell me I''m grasping at straws, that none of these things connect.

Until they do.  Then they just look at me funny.

We are individuals, but we don't exist in a vacuum, either physical or temporal.  We are shaped by space and time just as much as we individually and collectively shape the future.

Work design impacts cognitive function as much as social space, including roadways, do.  The experiences of our day, including traffic, do the same.  Until we understand these forces at a conscious level, we are slaves to them.

Until we map out the dark spaces between thought, action, self and society, we are driving blind.

Political Skyfall

Listening to the beautiful theme from Skyfall while reading the morning news got me thinking about Canadian Politics.  As secret emails and whispers of political hit-lists become public, the average citizen is getting a dark look at the process behind our politics and it's not a pretty sight.

Arrogant agents gone rogue, or acting with the tacit permission of eye-turning political bosses.  Truths being buried, forgotten and spun.  Tales of money lost, of individuals threatened and a select few people living by a set of rules that differ from what's expected of the average public.  Then there is the messaging, the carefully crafted turns of phrase designed to communicate in one direction only.You know the rules of the game; you've been playing it long enough.
You'd be surprised how many political operatives see themselves as pseudo James Bonds; tough, competitive, willing to do what needs done in a dark world to keep the forces of evil at bay, or to keep their own team in power.  They stand tall, frequently drink hard, and are extremely confident in their ability to do what they do - it just happens that what they do isn't very nice.

To them, the world's not a particularly nice place.  It's full of operators just like them, playing to win; spying on Brazilian Presidents, issuing deliberately misleading robocalls, parodying then cribbing Opponents' policies, playing one segment of the population against the other to secure votes are all just tricks of the trade.  There's no middle ground in this game; you win or lose, and if you're not willing to do what it takes, someone else will.

That, political people will tell you, is the uncomfortable truth that people don't want to hear - politics is an ugly business.  Attack ads are used for one simple reason - they are effective.  Nobody likes to talk about this reality, but it remains the reality none the less.  Politics is war and someone's got to do the bloody work, which is why we have War Rooms, isn't it?

When you see yourself as the tip of the spear, you see yourself as doing the essential dirty work that others don't want to get their hands dirty with.  As such, there are certain compensations one feels entitled to.  

Bond abuses the public purse for the finery to which he feels entitled; he treats the bits of public property that line his utility belt with abandon.  He disregards the rules of superiors to maintain the security of his country, ignoring that fine mental line between aggressive service and bloody revenge.  After all, that's the job he's paid to do - use his judgement in the field and keep threats to his employers and his country at arm's length. 

For their part, Bond's superiors are willing to give Bond a lot of leeway, because he produces results.  They tend not to worry about the destruction of public property that goes along with his methods; in fact they turn a blind eye to what he does, so long as he wins.  

Until, that is, that methodology becomes public.

That's where Skyfall finds James Bond and M - relics of a less-connected, more individually consequence-free past, operating with yesterday's code of conduct, getting in trouble for unjustifiably collected secrets and quietly unethical practices for which justification can't be spun.

That's kind of where we are with politics, too.  

Mike Duffy was hired to do a job - beat the drums of war and motivate the Conservative base to open their wallets, which they did; does that not deserve a bit of leniency on the hard-and-fast rule of political ethics?  Could that explain at least part of the story he's spinning of willful enabling by the Conservative Party?

Nigel Wright did the same; he was given a crisis to King and Party to solve and did his job.  

David Price and Sandro Lissi?  You can't train loyalty, which is why Ford brought them in.  He knew they would get the job he wanted done; broader consequences weren't an issue.  Should anything untoward come to light, the politicians just need to minimize, bait-and-switch or if all else fails, sacrifice the agent to protect the sanctity of the Party (which often as not stands in as cover for their own skins).

There are more than a few leaders attempting to pull the plausible deniability card; they didn't know what their operatives were doing, be it about scandals, video tapes or gas plants.  It's an old line, but in these days of transmedia, social murmeration and stories that seem to have legs beyond where they should,  the appearance of accountability and authenticity doesn't cut it.  People are demanding the real thing, raw and unfiltered.

Which is why the War Room spinmeisters and the bosses that enable them are facing an existential crisis.  They have operated under the convenient belief that people don't want to be consulted on process or end product; the job of politicians is to present visions that the public can choose from, period.  The rest of the political process they compare to sausage making; people don't want to know what goes into the product, they just want the product itself.  So back off, people - and let them to their work.

It's an apt metaphor, worthy following through; politics is like sausage, as are the policies they result in.  The end product is not as healthy for the people as it could and should be, largely due to the lack of transparency around what goes into making it.  In today's climate with email trails, social media and citizen investigative journalism, that process is increasingly coming to light and people don't like what they see.  

In fact, there's a growing social movement for both increased transparency of process and increased input from the general public; the more we see what goes into political sausage, the more we realize we've been duped and sustained on a diet of chum bits.  There's blood in the water; what we crave now is meaty substance.

The revelation of process doesn't reflect well on the politicians who have sanctioned War Room politics for so long.  As the cognitive dissonance of standing for one thing but practicing another reverberates more loudly, something has got to give.

This leaves the War Roomers in the same precarious place Bond finds himself over the course of Skyfall - as champions of old ways being questioned, uncertain if there is still a place for what they do.

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all

It's a question the pointy-end people have a hard time answering at face value.  Confident, competitive and aggressive, they don't get ahead by giving in to doubt or insecurity or by questioning their own tactics.  They get ahead by exploiting the doubts and insecurities of others.

These folk aren't trained to register crises of institutional faith or paradigm shifts - to them, the political landscape is just an ever-shifting battle field. 

For seasoned political operatives, the shadowy battle for public hearts and minds and against enemy Parties never ends.  Is it any wonder they fear the trend towards open government and open data?

It's no coincidence that we're seeing a growing friction between politicians and the political operatives that have served them loyally, just as it's not happenstance that this tension is mounting at a time when more and more people are recognizing that our democratic system is broken.

War Room political operatives see two-way consultations and meaningful dialogue as weaknesses, creating openings that less-civic minded opponents will exploit.  They will fight to keep the Berlin Wall of politics in place.  

Of course, change will happen - it always does.  As with any good story, the question is who will get sacrificed before the last act is over.