One politician’s recent assertions about victimisation reveal a pervasive culture. Now, when it comes to victimisation in politics anywhere, all are guilty. There is no innocent political party.
Talk to anyone who is impacted by politics, from the business owner to the public officer, and there is clear acceptance that the matter of victimisation is as pervasive as it is real.
One great example is the refusal by United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson to offer a customary peerage to John Bercow, former speaker of the UK Parliament, because of his stances on the Brexit debate.
However, political victimisation takes various forms, from the insidious to the outright overt.
The more damaging types of victimisation are the subtle. This type of victimisation is meant to emotionally suppress the victim. It takes the form of marginalisation.
Here a minister will form a clique within a ministry, and that clique becomes a type of mini cabinet. There is disrespect for protocol. A junior officer will be offered access to pertinent information over his or her seniors.
This causes embarrassment and discouragement. The junior will be invited to “parties” over senior officers, who, due to protocol, should be invited first.
Then there are the rude gestures: a refusal to acknowledge staff through appropriate greetings but acknowledging a “chumminess” over a more favoured officer, for example.
Soon a culture of favouritism develops, and the result is low morale generally and even lower productivity.
On the other hand, the wise politician swiftly forgives his enemies after an election victory. Magnanimity is a great tool in politics.
Forgiving an enemy actually turns that enemy into a much less threatening individual. And in certain circumstances that “forgiven enemy” can become the politician’s greatest friend and asset due to the fact that he or she is shocked at being forgiven for their prior partisanship.
Victimisation is never a great idea. Why? Because as many understand today, one never knows what is around the corner.
One politician who believed he was invincible and was a master in the politics of victimisation got the shock of his life, and the boot out of office, at a general election.
Who did the kicking? Most likely scores of people he victimised, and who took out their revenge at the ballot box. The victimised are citizens and voters. That is easily forgotten when power gets to the head.
As the great and wise H. Lavity Stoutt stated once, “One enemy is one too many.”
For Julius Caesar, it is far better to be kind and magnanimous than “nasty” and “vindictive.” His career will last longer.
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