Simon Anholt has probably become the highest-proﬁle co-author of Beyond Branding, to which I also contributed in 2003. In the latest Time he is quoted in ‘No More Heroes’, a piece on the public’s disappearing trust in political leaders:
Simon Anholt, an international consultant who advises political leaders on ways to improve their nations’ brand images, thinks the answer lies in moving away from the current obsession with polls and focus groups. “Most governments provide second-rate customer service rather than leadership,” he says. “Governments are popular when they have real problems and deal with them well.”
The article is noteworthy for this other matter, in my view:
So what’s the solution? Transparency and a willingness to listen and adapt and help. While November’s unrest and arson attacks affected many suburbs around Paris, the town of Issy-les-Moulineaux to the south of the French capital was largely spared. There, Mayor André Santini has bet heavily on technology infrastructure in a successful bid to attract international ﬁrms such as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems. He’s also used technology to interact more openly with Issy’s 63,000 residents. Issy was the ﬁrst French town to start an Internet-based local TV service, and last December it held an online election for councilors for Issy’s four districts. Candidates campaigned via their own blog pages and discussed issues with voters through the town’s website. Such measures have bolstered Santini’s local support: he won a landslide victory in the last municipal elections.
I’m awaiting the ﬁrst nation that can implement this level of trust and transparency. I suggested it to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, but she passed the matter on to one of her Cabinet members and I never heard more. The United States has the infrastructure, though I doubt it’d be courageous enough. The Swiss are the most likely, in my book, with their binding referenda—but it would be perfect to see it done in a larger nation.
Del.icio.us tags: democracy | voting | online voting | trust | transparency | politics Posted by Jack Yan, 01:18
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