From my article in The Sunday Times today:
“Our relationship with power is a slightly more sophisticated version of the native islanders who show the colonists the way to the gold mines in exchange for mirrors, combs and trinkets. We ignore the rights of others as we cash in on the government’s generosity with our own resources: permits to build higher while casting everyone else in shadow, permits to build further as the commons are carved out and I’m given a disproportionate share.
“This transactional policymaking is at the heart of our unwritten constitution as a community that is smaller than the sum of its parts living a regulated rat race fuelled by greed and lubricated by a political class that indulges our basest instincts.
“In this context, a national conversation about strengthening institutions in order to detect, interrupt and punish corruption would be incongruent. A debate that looks to address how laws must be changed to frustrate cupidity would bleed into a discussion on how we are to change our civic sense, our sense of duty to each other, our shared responsibility to preserve the commons in trust for future generations and our enlightened egoism of fighting and defending the basic rights of the most vulnerable.”