British politicians are still under fire for fleecing the nation, for having their fingers in the cash register, for lying about where they really live. The British political system is currently spinning out of control, thanks to a daily drip, drip, drip of embarrassing revelations about how Members of Parliament have “fiddled” their expenses.
Every political party is getting bashed hard by continuing revelations in The Daily Telegraph which obtained a CD-ROM with details of every expense claim, made by every MP. It seems that MPs are unable to replace their own light bulbs (cost to taxpayer £100) or live in one house (cost to the taxpayer – probably millions). Yes, year-on-year, MPs have been using their expense “rules” to claim for all sorts of items which most of us don’t perceive as an expense of their job. Furthermore, people who have to claim expenses because of their work wouldn’t dare make some of the outrageous claims the MPs have done.
British politicians have, at long last, been found out for being a group of people who bend the truth to their own ends. Even faced with the evidence they are still saying, “but it was within the rules”. Maybe some of the claims were within the rules, but moral? Justifiable? Honest? Beyond reproach? The game is up – we’re ruled by a bunch of rotten people.
Not surprised? No, most of us aren’t; it’s just that now we have the evidence that polticians are in the job for themselves. It is going to take a very long time indeed for them to regain our trust – probably a generation or more. After all, my nine-year-old son watches the TV news and doesn’t have a good word to say about “Grumpy Gordon”. Will he remember that politicians lied and cheated the country that he is growing up in? Probably. Will that affect his desire to vote in elections? Perhaps. You see, I’m going to have to wait until I’m a grandad before the effects of this political bombshell starts to wane.
And that is a hugely important lesson for all of us. Every online business depends, ultimately, on trust. Your suppliers and customers will only work with you if they trust you. Do anything to destroy that trust and you can say bye-bye to your company. So, before anyone makes public your “behind the scenes” activities, can you put hand on heart and say you are without criticism?
Is every invoice, expense claim, statement or other financial record in your business completely, totally and 100% honest? Or have you ever bent the rules? You might think that will not affect you – but it could destroy your business. Politicians thought they would never be found out; indeed, they still appear to think that what they were doing is acceptable.They are so, so out of touch with the electorate it is bizarre.
You might think that some of the operations and procedures of your business would be acceptable to your customers, should they ever find out. But like politicians you could be wrong and misguided. You can actually only gain the trust of your partners if you already know what they expect of you. If you don’t find out; simply having a statement of your policies is not enough. That’s just like having the “rules” the politicians claim they stuck to.
Don’t leave it too late to ensure your Internet business is based on trust. And be grateful to the British politicians whose actions have ensured we will all think about the place of trust in our business. What a boost they have given us..!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+