Posts Tagged ‘Richard Branson’

In recent weeks we have been beset by varying scandals of one kind or another which have galvanised the popular press, mesmerised the general public and caused deep concern at the highest levels of Government.

All of them involve acts by individuals which, when considered in the grand scheme of things, are unacceptable to society. Let’s list a few of the recent incidents, some still under investigation. The Jimmy Savile scandal, the BBC (several scandals of its own), a former Anglican Bishop (child abuse), allegations of gas price fixing, Lance Armstrong and NIKE (misuse of drugs), the Bank Rate fixing scandal (corporate collusion), the Waterhouse enquiry (North Wales child abuse, allegations of a cover-up even in the report), the Hillsborough disaster (a massive cover-up by police), Denis Macshane MP ( MP’s fiddling expenses) and of course, many others.

Throughout history there have always been crooks, gangsters, child abusers, rapists, fraudsters and the like. This is nothing new. They existed in ancient Rome, in Jerusalem at the time of Christ and exist pretty much anywhere else in the world at any time.

But whilst we are happily caught up in the drama of all these scandals, tut -tutting the actions of all these people, perhaps we are failing to notice the wider issue, something that has been prevalent in our society for years. All of these people were/are active within organisations. In most of these cases, as is slowly being revealed, others within these organisations were aware of the perpetrators’ actions. They were aware, and yet they did nothing.

In some cases, these people aided and abetted the perpetrators, for example in ‘covering up’ their actions. For some there would have been a financial incentive. For others, their loyalty to the perpetrators and /or the reputation of the organisation would have ‘encouraged’ their silence.

In the case of NIKE, the senior management had been alerted and made aware of Lance Armstrong’s misuse of drugs for some years but it seems were driven by corporate greed to retain him as one of their key advertising faces, only dropping him when it became pragmatic to do so, with of course deepest apologies all round.

In the case of the church, until recently, perpetrators have generally been brought to account by the church hierarchy though often little appears to have been done beyond a cursory slap of the wrist as these people were often able to return to work as active priests, where once again they could prey on vulnerable people. Every effort was made to keep such incidents out of the public eye. Thankfully things have changed.

In their recently published book “Click Click”, the Kavanagh sisters talk of the systematic abuse they suffered at the hands of their father over many years in Ireland. What remains the most tragic aspect of this story is that when they finally plucked up the courage to tell their local priest about it, he did absolutely nothing. He turned a blind eye. This has been the way of things for far too long.

A change in morality

In his book “Screw Business as usual”, Richard Branson said “Never has there been a more exciting time for all of us to explore this great next frontier where the boundaries between work and purpose are merging into one, where doing good, really is good for business.”

What Branson is alluding to is that simply DOING (i.e. doing whatever is necessary to become financially successful) is simply not good enough any more. For far too long people have had two sets of morals – one for business and one for Sunday best. There is a huge consciousness shift taking place on the planet and people are beginning to stand up and fight for what they believe is right. They are no longer prepared to accept double-standards. Both individual and corporate values now need to be working off the same song sheet. People are finally beginning to wake up and realise that we can’t live this life of moral duality any longer.

As a result, and as more people have the courage to stand up, so institutions and organisations of considered great standing have been shaken to the core by revelations from within. What we are seeing is a reassessment of the place of moral values within our society. Institutions and indeed the culture within these institutions is being challenged and rightly so and it is time they put their houses in order. Life is not all about how much money we have or the reputation of the organisation at the cost of our own personal values. That is living a lie. That is the basis for a corrupt society and one we have been participating in up until now.

So let us welcome these changes. Let’s set aside the drama a little and think beyond the scandals. There will always be rough diamonds in our society but what matters is whether we allow them to get away with it (or worse still become participants), when we know it is wrong and against our own moral values and standards. Let’s stand up and be counted and follow the lead of those who are already standing tall. They are beacons of light in a rapidly changing world.



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