Tagged: politicians

Do politicians share our values?

Recently I was invited to give  a talk at the UK Values Alliance quarterly meeting, followed by a brief Q&A style debate with Richard Barrett, founder of the Barrett Values Centre.

The UK Values Alliance is a collaborative group seeking to promote values in society. They formed as a result of the UK National Values Survey, organised in October 2012 by the Barrett Values Centre. The survey demonstrated a huge gap between the personal values of UK residents and the values they see at a national level.

In my talk I sought to address some of the reasons behind that perceived gap between the values we hold, and those at the national level, using the example of our political leaders. Why do we credit ourselves with open natures, cooperative dispositions, and world-centric perspectives while blaming our politicians for being self-serving, ego-centric, and competitive?

Rather than emphasising these difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’, between ‘our’ values and ‘theirs’, I wanted instead to highlight the global system which constrains politicians’ capacity to govern in line with positive values and beliefs.

This system, which I have previously described as ‘destructive international competition’, is fundamental to understanding why politicians fail to govern in ways which reflect our deep-seated values, and accounts for their inability to tackle some of our most critical global problems.

Following the talk Richard Barrett and I briefly debated my review of  his excellent and highly influential work ‘Love, Fear and the Destiny of Nations’. You can read the full review on the Simpol website.

To find out more about the UK Values Alliance’s vital work, including how to become a member, visit their website.