Green shoots and glimmers of hope

Green shoots and glimmers of hope

Now that we have had the elections in Egypt, France and Greece we have the least worst outcomes and have only to wait for elections in the US and maybe our own end to the hung Parliament agonies.

In Egypt the voters faced a “no-real-choice” choice between Hosni Mubarak’s ex-Prime Minister and an Islamist candidate and many who voted last time decided either to stay home or put in a blank paper.

Egyptians entered this round of elections in an atmosphere of suspicion, resignation and worry, voting in a presidential runoff that will mean the difference between installing a remnant of the old regime and bringing more Islam into government. In a final runoff election marked by relentless fear-mongering and negative campaigning on both sides of the contest, many polling stations remained near-empty for much of the two-day ballot.

Potential voters were equally put off by scorching temperatures, which reached 40°C in the capital and the increasingly oppressive political climate of military-led manipulation and national division that has gripped the country 18 months after the celebration of its purportedly successful revolution.

In France, newly minted President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party is battling to ensure a solid majority and fulfill his vows to boost growth in Europe, and redefine the presidency as one beholden to the people. He will follow this final round of French legislative elections with pressure on his German colleagues to follow the Spanish bank deal with a pro-growth anti-austerity extension of time for Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

In Greece, the real winners were the pollsters who managed to predict that New Democracy would beat the coalition of left, lefter and leftist parties (Syriza) that will become the total opposition party in a hung Parliament.

Now all we have to do is wait for the good news from Mexico where Julia Gillard is meeting with the leaders of the big 20 leaders before using her leave pass from Tony Abbott to go to Rio for more on our marine parks and that price on carbon. Then we can have all the turbulence of our own continuing election campaign.

And then of course there is the biggie – the Obama/Romney race to create jobs, curb illegal immigration, bring back the troops, protect the environment and promote protection of hometown advantage. Just think of President Obama and Administration officials – people with a vested interest in convincing us the world is on the mend – talking about “glimmers of hope” in the economy.

Bringing these elections into perspective should provide leading companies with the following assurances:

  • Voters around the world are looking for shoots of growth.
  • Customers want to be encouraged to shoot the Grinch.
  • Leaders of the major economies will shoot the messengers of gloom and doom.
  • “Green shoots” seem like child’s play when set next to “glimmers of hope”.

All of this means that it is time to follow the lead of the central bankers who will pump money back into our purses, pump confidence in our economy and prime the pump for a couple of years of global growth. To paraphrase orphan Annie, the next financial year is only a few days away.

Dr Colin Benjamin is an entrepreneurship and strategic thinking consultant at Marshall Place Associates, which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up a universe of new possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Colin is also a member of the global Association of Professional Futurists.


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