MARCH 16 2012 21:52h
- A modern politician and a modern government don't want to leave the impression of strangers compared to regular citizens. Following instructions from their advisers for public relations, they are ready to do almost everything to make people like them. For example one former PM opened the gate of Banski dvori for visitors. Citizens could walk the Government offices and conference rooms during a weekend, look around the offices of the PM and his associates. The second one agreed on taking pictures with tourists and passers-by at St. Mark's square. He also used to bring a borrowed dog in his office, and this kind of story should have probably diverted tabloid readers. The current team takes the other direction; it uses public networks, as for example they invite people over Facebook to give their advice about getting out from the crisis.
And that's how Milanovic's Government asks people over Facebook for their opinion on helping entrepreneurs. What is the biggest obstacle for a Croatian worker? In a politicized society like Croatian one, a major respond wasn't surprising. A part of the citizens were mocking the Government that runs the election with a winning program and then asks people what to do. But there were also some of them who had good intentions in this opportunity. And they really wrote down their pieces of advice to the Government.
When all the reactions of citizens would result with some serious and professional processing, the Government could win many ways. Not only this act would be interpreted as an act of a government that cherishes an open communication with people but the Government would also have an insight into people's opinions that they usually get over expensive surveys.
But a situation where the Government insists on citizens' advice over Facebook also has bad sides. Milanovic's Government just overtook the power and it still has to convince public in their actions. It won't be easy to keep this frame where certain ministers haven’t picked up basic information within their department yet, so data on how many people receive salaries from the state treasury per month, still remains unknown. The Government that just has arrived and has already started to ask people how to help entrepreneurs and workers, takes a certain risk to get interpreted as a team without vision, without new ideas and right solutions.
This call for a dialogue with the citizens over Facebook relating some major subject seems to be a pretentious and shallow act at the same time. The fact is that the Government has to find answers on difficult questions that bother much wealthier societies. It would be a real miracle to discover those solutions while carefully observing reactions from a wide Facebook network.
At the same time, while this correspondence with the citizens lasts, a few Croatian workers are trying to attract the Government's attention by a hunger strike while sitting on a chimney of Dioki plant in Zagreb. They ask for five earned salaries for five months they've been working for and severance pays in case they get fired. They don't strive for a virtual Facebook friendship with the Government. A virtual elevation up to position of an adviser doesn't work for them. They need their money. They need a government which understands that it’s a theft when you don't pay your employees. They need a Government which knows how to find a solution to stop this kind of thievery once and for all.