Whispering has never been so well paid…

During the COVID period we discovered new names: Mckinsey, PWC, .… 

We could already contemplate their brand-new, extravagant offices, established close to power in Brussels, but we could believe that their actions were limited to large multinationals.

We now know that their collaborators are constantly weaving a web that bridges the gap between the private and the public sectors, with the aim of making profit and always making profit.

If you’re stuck in the last century, where the common interest was paramount in the public sector and the well-being of workers in the private sector, you’ve missed a few episodes.

But let’s jump ahead a little in time and space.

Financial and/or political interests have always whispered in the ears of decision-makers. They’ve taken on the label of advisors, sages, scholars, emissaries, you name it. They served various causes with varying degrees of conviction. Their actions have always flirted with knowledge sharing, influence, corruption and now that late 20th century invention, lobbying.

The latter term tends to make the active and passive corruption of elites legal. We no longer have anything to envy the countries designated by the West as « underdeveloped », with Africa at the top of the list, accustomed to European preachers.

Perhaps we could establish a new mathematical rule, a totally exponential curve, like this one:

It would make it possible to correlate the use of the word democracy in the mainstream press with the level of corruption among our elites.

It’s not worth the Nobel Prize or the Fiels Medal, don’t worry, but it’s a good way of sniffing out the trends of an era.

So we’ve rediscovered consulting firms, lavishing their good care on everything and in every discipline, not for pleasure, but for sound and stumbling money. Euros, dollars, anything that can be sold and exchanged, laws, decrees, trade agreements, influence — it’s all good. Do you know what all these transactions have in common? Do you know what the adjustment variable is? Yes, you do! You, me, he or she.… We all are. 

When advice touches and influences reality, you’re the one who pays. I don’t know if it’s fate or pure logic, but advice never goes your way, in your interest. 

You and I are starting to get the hang of it, but it’s interesting to note that the state bodies, leader-follower, are starting to take official offense at the same failings as the little people.

We all hoped for a military upsurge, a peaceful, reasoned force, when the state took an entire section of its citizens by the throat, but that was without taking into account a cleverly orchestrated doctrine. We have a professional army! Yes, sir! 

All vocations have been rationalized according to their function and/or trade. Military personnel will be working in the same way as other public service employees…

In the morning, he leaves his heart and conscience at home, while at the end of the day, he leaves his duties at the barracks. It’s a well-choreographed sweep that ensures the hemispheres never cross or collide. Everything but the spark that would allow the fire to be reborn.

Let’s stop flogging and look at the positive. 

Yes, a president of a military union reveals and slams his fist on the table. Why continue to squander public money on advice the military doesn’t need? The latter has a wealth of in-house expertise, and must manage itself in the interests of the nation.

Déjà vu, you might say. Yes, it’s true that the indignation could stop there, but let’s take it a step further.

Isn’t the Belgian army a sensitive sector requiring a certain discretion? Shouldn’t decisions be taken internally, without a foreign power interfering even in the staff organization chart?

Emmanuel Macron declared in November 2019 that NATO was brain-dead. He wasn’t entirely wrong, or perhaps right. European armies have been unravelled over the years, with the promise of a highly competent, professional army with state-of-the-art equipment. Instead, we find that armies have been thoroughly privatized, to the point where some people are wondering who’s going to do the cooking on the battlefield. Europe’s armies are brain-dead, dependent on the private sector (i.e. subject to the logic of the market and free trade), under American material perfusion (to the detriment of European arms companies) and whose staffs are remotely piloted by consultancies whose bedside books we all know who wrote them.

Let them go to war on their « new world » continent, get out of Nato, and renew mutually positive alliances with our neighbors and other friendly nations. Let’s upgrade our excellent training courses and our army, which would serve its people.

Let’s be clear, I’m not denigrating this regalian function of our state. It has its role and deserves better. Most of our soldiers have faith and a sense of duty. Staffs make do with what they’ve been given for too long. A little introspection might help us understand why « defense » no longer attracts and is struggling to retain its workforce. It is certain that these latest revelations will not help the soldier in the field to regain the confidence he needs to take action. 

Gentlemen of the armed forces, this well-known adage should appeal to you: The advisors are never the payers. Free yourself from the whisperers and make your voice heard.

Jérôme Delforge

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