Honest! Open Government in operation!

English: Steve Webb MP makes a speech at the L...

Steve Webb- our Pension Minister

Last night I spent time with some market researchers.

I had to read various statements from an asset manager about its brand.

All of them included the word “transparent”.

The word “transparent” is a syllable too long to be “honest”.

Companies don’t like to use the word “honest”. If you aim to be honest in your pricing, it suggests you may not have been honest in the past and that kind of “transparency” is a step too far.

“Lord make me honest but not yet!”


Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality. (TS Eliot- Burnt Norton)

If you aren’t annoying people it isn’t working

English: Comedian and actor Ricky Gervais perf...
human kind
Cannot bear very much reality

(Ricky Gervais yesterday on Radio 5 live)

Open Government does not need transparency, it needs honesty. Honesty is a two way street. Government must be honest with us and we must be honest with Government.

Bill Galvin read my blog yesterday and he responded, not with offence, not with defence but with the good news that a head of DC was on its way and that , though the Pension Regulator may not have got it right, it (he) is getting there.

That’s open Government. I blame Steve Webb – it’s Steve’s fault. Ever since that man turned up in the DWP in the Pensions Spring of 2010, there has been a door open to those who want to talk to Government. The dialogue between the various interest groups that Webb deals with and the various parts of Government that include the Regulator has been relaxed.

We have got used to laughing with our Minister, eagerly awaiting his talks , his videos and his television appearances. We have followed his laborious progress as he carried the single state pension from a pipe dream to a reality. We have seen him pick up Labour’s policy on auto-enrolment and make it happen and we have seen him rant at the purveyors of “sexy cash” that encourage the transfer of risk from companies to individuals.

This is not transparency, a cold word for Governance and Government that has the jargon of the speech and copy writers. More this is “honesty”, the emotional committment to know what is good , promote what is good and make what is good happen.

Perhaps a better differentiator between honesty and transparency is that honesty comes with soul.

And part and parcel of knowing what is good, is knowing what is bad. If we cannot point at what we think is bad and demand change, we do not have open Government. If  Steve Webb or Bill Galvin or Lawrence Churchill are to operate open Government, they must listen to the criticism and deal with it.

Too often, we, who dish out the criticism, forget to acknowledge the bravery of those who take it, deal with it and make things good.

Mankind cannot bear very much reality but those who are leaders of men are marked by their capacity to deal with reality – honestly.

I am pleased to hear that the Regulator is soon to have someone to lead on Defined Contribution Pensions, and because I trust the man who made the appointment, I am confident that the Regulator will raise its game in making DC good..and honest!

Bill Galvin -our Pension Regulator

Bill Galvin -our Pension Regulator

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in auto-enrolment, brand, dc pensions, de-risking, ezra pound, NEST, Ricky Gervais, social media, TS Eliot and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Honest! Open Government in operation!

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