The lot of a wee daemon is not an easy one. You waft a few thoughts around but you know that ideas take as long to bear fruit as seeds in a barren landscape, especially when there are no great orators and philosophers in the agora to guide people. As for finding truly honourable leaders prepared to take unpopular steps in the country’s long-term interest, they are as rare a find in the market place as decent tomatoes at a reasonable price. It doesn’t help that leaders are surrounded by advisers and scavengers who seem immune to the voices calling for a change of political mindset, so busy trying to be malin that they fail to notice that their masters have become victims of their “friendly fire”.
Anyway, just as primary school teachers have to repeat things several times in order for new concepts to be understood, your spirit friend has decided to give a fresh dose of fertiliser to the seeds sown this time last year, suggesting that these glorious islands should aim to be a model for things that matter even more than economic statistics:
There are certainly several things that need sorting out in order to obtain a Certificate of Paradise. Plato warned that democracy gives rise to popularism, measures taken to appease this or that group, which can eventually lead to huge debts or even bankruptcy, as is close to happening in much of Southern Europe. That, he suggested, leads to despotism. There’s also been the rise of greed, led by self-serving leaders and their families and friends. Not that the Admirables are any better, contaminated by the poor example from on high and the idea that state largesse is endless. Lurking in Highgate Cemetery is the root of many misconceptions.
Might not Independence days best be used to think how to avoid further pitfalls? Not that the most obvious measures are likely to be introduced. What are the chances of all political parties getting together to agree to select candidates based on merit? Or of sectarian lobbies disbanding themselves? They speak of national unity but flies on the wall tell a different story when the cameras are turned off and the sniggers commence. A way forward may be to concentrate on qualities like prudence, wisdom, courage and justice – and a good dose of self-respect – with a new motto: Don’t think what you can screw out of others, think what you can do for them. Leaders talking about recent measures or of their promises if they return to power are all very well but wouldn’t the Women’s and Independence days be better spent outlining a vision for an even more splendiferous future?
Together, the islands could aim to become a model for the world in how to reform society and tackle the issues that leave lesser mortals trembling: a slimmed-down public sector (easily achievable if tittle-tattlers, poor performers and communalists are sent to Sotravic for recycling), proper urban planning, protection of the marine and land environment, teachers dedicated to educating everyone including the disadvantaged, and so much else, all much more important than huge wealth. Little Rodrigues could become a centre for pilot projects as it’s already shown Mother Mauritius the way in reducing the use of plastics, as well as introducing octopus fishing seasons.
In most countries in the world where there are difficulties, the first problem is dictatorial leaders or obscure forces. A vison for these fair isles would be of inspirational figures, stateswomen – and men – committed to consigning corruption, avarice and tribalism to history. Hope springs eternal in your spirit’s breast but how many of today’s politicos and their acolytes have such an agenda?