A former British politician once told me “Decoys and distractions are a government’s number one strategy to keep the populace from demanding accountability.” I have been reminded of this quote on numerous occasions over the years, and with it I have come to learn that the number one resource a politician has access to is… politics.
And boy, do they make use of it!
So for all current and budding politicians, if you aren’t quite meeting targets and you need to create a little distraction while you sort yourself out (maybe a nice trip to Dubai, because you need a break), here are some suggestions.
- All Out Drama
Let’s start with a little political bickering because really, who does not love drama?
The plan is to turn up at an event, be it a funeral, wedding or political rally, to greet all your adoring fans. If it’s a funeral, you stand up looking morose and grief stricken, take the microphone and say, “He was a good man. He’ll be very much missed.” You’ll wipe your eyes (those eye drops from Sarit Centre really come in handy!), and then add, “the last time I saw him he was wearing a green shirt. It was the same shade of green as the ties worn by that opposition leader during the election season, that opposition leader who is claiming we stole the election, that opposition leader who wants to thwart our plans for economic progress. He is a liar! We ask you to support us during this time and ignore the naysayers. Anyway, may this man Rest in Peace!”. A sad smile to the camera and you’re done, because words won’t bring the dead back to life so you may as well make the most of the funeral!
If it’s a wedding then one needs a slightly different approach. First, make an entrance because hell yeah, you’re going to upstage the bride. In between mouthfuls of wedding cake (which later you will say tasted terrible), ask for an opportunity to make a little speech to congratulate the newlyweds and then take to the stage (just don’t forget to wipe the crumbs off your shirt). You’ll begin by mentioning how this special day reminds you of your wedding and shyly mention your wife, how you would be nowhere without her. “She has stood by me in our darkest moments,’’ you’ll say. ‘‘She has tolerated, she has endured! Never did she ask me for money or a gift or to be taken out! Not like young girls these days wanting a girlfriend allowance! She has been my rock, my chef, my maid, my driver and so much more!” Then finish with a bit of wisdom. “Today 20 members of the opposition have defected and joined us. Show each other love, tolerance, kindness and it will ensure that none of you will defect. Remember, marriage is about unity, just like our government is united!”
If it’s a rally, then the world is your oyster! Dress smart. Make sure you take a little drive around as you protrude through the sunroof and give everyone a wave. You are the Beyonce of politics, act like it! As you prepare to address the crowd, remember to remove your designer sunglasses. Use your designer handkerchief to wipe the sweat off your brow and then speak. “I feel your pain,’’ you’ll say. ‘‘There are those among you who are skipping meals to feed your children. I am here to tell you that I too was forced to skip meals because the opposition made a negative comment about my weight.” Then, express empathy regarding the hardships they are experiencing. “I know many of you are struggling with unemployment,’’ you’ll say. ‘‘I am here to tell you as an employed person that it is not easy. The opposition, the media, the activists, my predecessor, they are all causing trouble for me. It is difficult, so while you are at home jobless, please remember, it is not easy. Please pray for us (sinners?).”
- Let Us Prey
As the saying goes, God helps those who help themselves.
Some are helping themselves to state resources; taxpayers’ money; other people’s land – just small small things. You have a bigger job for the lord, it’s your way of saying thank you for the many gifts and blessings bestowed upon you – the cars, the houses, the suits imported from London (because why are we spending money in a currency whose value is weakening?) and all that international travel where you get to hobnob with the rich and the shameless.
God is to be your wingman, and so in all that you do and say you will reference God. You will tell your populace that it is God who has chosen you to run the country; it is God who will help take this country to greatness; because if anyone can, it is God!
Then, when things get a little thick, a little tricky, you will declare a day of prayer and fasting, of course you’ll need to get a new suit made for it because there will be a big event for everyone to get together and prey, and the catering better be top notch so you’ll need to take the afternoon off for the food tasting. It will be a day for everyone to come together and give thanks for all that we have and request divine intervention for delivery from the country’s many economic woes; the debt crisis, the post-pandemic recovery, the failing public services, the drought and the rising taxes.
- Propose New Laws
Let it never be said that your reason for entering political leadership was not an act of altruism. People don’t understand just how hard a job it is to be a politician. There will be times where it gets a little overwhelming, a time when people are asking questions for which you do not have answers, like “Why can’t that $10 million be accounted for?” or “How come that contract was awarded to your nephew’s company?”
In times like these, the pressure may get too much, and you just need a way to cope. For some meditation or yoga may suffice. For you, suggesting a new law which will trigger national debate may be the way to go. You could suggest the lifting of term limits, for instance. After all, look at the wonderful ways in which countries without term limits have flourished! Alternatively, perhaps create a stricter, harsher anti-homosexuality law because what’s a little more oppression between friends? However, if you’re feeling really smart, you could ask one of your fellow politicians to propose a pay rise for MPs then step in and veto this, making you look like a real hero!
As we call it, Eat, Prey and Love (yourself).