On Macron, the UK election, and zeitgeist

Sat down to late breakfast here in my gym before cranking out a few super-quick laps before heading home to mother the oldest one and supervise repair of washing machine which has been bust for three weeks (since my last laundrette pics we have acquainted ourselves with two other laundrettes in the area – I’ve just had no bandwidth to play with the story but I could prob have made a whole Hopper-style miniseries out of it documenting the lesser-seen faces of Britons, almost all coloured, in their everyday struggles getting by). Up at the crack of dawn to head to Madrid tomorrow and, of course, I haven’t packed…two highly productive conf calls already this morning and I am feeling the burn a little. But loving it.

This post is about zeitgeist.

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The FT’s cover story on Macron winning his “solid majority in parliamentary elections, giving him considerable power as he embarks on reforms to reinvigorate the economy and restore French influence in Europe”, caught my eye. (And the cover story of the FT special report: if you scratch past the surface re financial education, is all about the rising need for an increasingly interculturally fluent workforce. I repeat – zeitgeist.)

I shared my deep frustrations accumulated over the last 10 years of living and voting here in London, and watching as an ordinary resident, the entrenched stupidity inherent within the hopelessly broad-brush, laughably insufficiently fine-tuned, long-past-use-by-date antiquated mechanisms for basically enabling a country’s people to avail themselves of the best leadership, through truthful, useful, information being made widely available, training of the populace in the fundamentals of wise decision-making, a system that permits truly capable leaders with the right hearts, minds and hands in place to rise to positions of open choice where said population can THEN exercise their choices, whether those choices be for individual policies (à la Switzerland’s direct democracy, in some aspects), individual representatives, or parties.

Ha.

The first step is electoral reform. Now I speak as someone with complete ignorance of textbook politics, having studied neither politics or economics at an advanced level. But I do know a thing or two about how humans tick, and storytelling and story-buying, and making decisions, and making change happen. And as a layperson, when I saw the headline of the email from the Women’s Equality (WE) Party landing in my mailbox that said, “It’s time for consensus politics – join us”, my heart and mind and will resonated completely with that message.

I clicked through, and their email, which I’ve shared in full here and in our little chat group, still strikes me with so many of the *right* notes. The same way I felt, reading the article about Macron right now.

Zeitgeist.

Staring at my ballot paper, I hated – hated – the choice I was being forced to make.

I hated the fact that I could not vote for the really decent Tory candidate, despite the fact that she was a competent and hardworking human being who has delivered consistently good results for the last 10 years we’ve lived in this borough, because I could not vote for her without voting for her party, too.

I wanted to give the Labour candidate a chance…but she did not even have a local address. How in good conscience, I asked myself, could I vote for someone whose work it is to serve our area when she does not even live in this area?

I had been looking forward to voting again for the WE. But I was dismayed to see that they had not fielded a candidate (yet) in my borough.

So I did the only thing left for my conscience to do. I voted Green, even though I knew they did not have a chance in hell. But “be the change you want to see in the world” was the principle I used to guide me. (Did you know that Gandhi never actually said that, by the way? What he really said was:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi”)

When I subsequently read the email from WE, it was with pleasure as much as surprise to see that they had independently been working with the Greens to bring their new, collaborative, engaging, authentic, optimistic style of serving the public’s best interests to the seats they did contest.

Here’s what they stand for:-

“This was never a contest between the two biggest parties but between regressive and progressive values and visions.

At the start, Theresa May looked unassailable. She insisted what people yearned for was stability, not change. WE said the last thing people want or need is “politics as usual”. Our founding principles encompass a new, collaborative politics and the fundamental reimagining of the democratic process.

WE also pointed to a consensus for progressive values that traversed party boundaries yet was constantly stymied by old-style partisan politics.

This election has proved the scale of the appetite for those values and for the new politics WE embody. The hung Parliament means any parties seeking to implement the mandate for those values must learn to follow our lead and focus on finding ways to work together.”

Here’s what popped out for me from this morning’s FT Macron article:-

“Taras Wankewycz felt France had lost its way when he left 14 years ago for Singapore (!) and set up H3 Dynamics, a robotics company. But after Emmanuel Macron was elected president last month something changed for him.

“”I felt inspired by the dynamic Macron is trying to create,” he says. “I left France because there was no dynamism. Now Macron has a chance, but he does not have much time to make it happen. I wanted to contribute personally to the effort.”

…[Macron says], “I want France to be a start-up nation, a nation that thinks and moves like a start-up,” he told the crowd.

…but there are criticisms of France’s strict labour laws, rigid administration and struggles so far to turn more than a handful of its start-ups into large, internationally competitive companies. [Singaporean friends: sounds familiar…?]

…This weekend his party is expected to take an overwhelming share of seats in the National Assembly, completing and cementing his electoral victory and giving him a platform for further business-friendly reforms.

…”Macron carries the same enthusiasm that the start-up ecosystem has held for years…he is disrupting politics in the same way that start-ups are seeking to disrupt their sectors.” ”

Zeitgeist, people. You know – I take a considerable personal risk, putting my opinions out like this. I might yet fall flat on my face and the skeptics and doubters may yet be proven “right”. But the tug on my heart, the rising of joy and determination, is a force irresistible. This is a waaaaay bigger playing field than pure intellectual machinations or political gaming.

This smacks to me of life-leading. This is the level I have already quietly invited myself for months now to play, in conversation with several of you.

And I’m finding, as I believe you too will…at *this* level, there really isn’t a “choice”. Is there? Other than to start serving the life you know deep inside at some level you need to lead. (I use this distinction all the time in my career coaching: “xyz, what do you -need- to do that you haven’t done yet? Not ‘want’ – NEED.”)

Or face a lifetime comprising exactly no more and no less than day after day of “man I could’ve”s…strung together from right now till your last breath. 

 

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