The imitation game
With Amii McKeever's daughter sporting a new hairstyle to be like her mam, she takes a look at imitation in the world around us, including in politics

I was brushing my four year old daughter Dia’s hair the other day when I noticed that she is now sporting a fringe. This new style was questioned, and denial came from all quarters. It transpired that her sister had given her said fringe. Both were rebuked for this.

Dia McKeever with her mam, Amii, and hair stylist, Raine.

With Dia being blind in one eye, the thought of her sister, six, going anywhere near her face with a scissors was scary. However, this melted away when Dia said: “Mammy, I wanted hair like yours.”

Young children often want to emulate what they see

So I am back to Oscar Wilde with another quote: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Young children often want to emulate what they see. But, it appears we do not have enough visual representation yet to encourage imitation for some jobs. Research carried out by the winners of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition showed that 96% of boys, when asked to draw an engineer, drew a male engineer, while just over 50% of girls drew a female engineer.

The two 16-year-olds, Cormac Harris and Alan O’Sullivan, were given the top prize for their project investigating gender bias in five- to seven-year-olds. Hopefully the resources they have developed will be of benefit to schools.

It is not just Government though where a transparent process is important

Imitation is the action of using someone or something as a model. We have a tried and tested model in this country for elections. This model of candidate nominations, canvassing of qualified voters and polling will take place shortly for a general election. A new Government will be formed and accepted. It is not just Government though where a transparent process is important.

A democratic process was carried out successfully before Christmas within the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) with the new team taking up their positions at the end of the month. Looking back – despite the issues that arose for IFA in 2015 – they were still able to carry out democratic elections early in 2016. The Beef Plan Movement has, unfortunately for the perception of the industry, not managed to carry off their elections in an orderly fashion.

Corporate governance principles are based on conducting business with integrity and fairness

A bit of imitation in this regard would have been beneficial to Beef Plan (and again the industry). Corporate governance principles are based on conducting business with integrity and fairness, being transparent with regard to all transactions, making all the necessary disclosures and decisions and complying with all the laws of the land.

In the last number of years, there have been numerous scandals particularly in the voluntary sector

When someone joins an organisation, they generally sign up to support a set of principles that they believe are for the bet-terment of the group of people that the organisation represents. There is trust and faith put in the people that are the recipi-ents of the money that it will go towards delivering on the promises that are made.

In the last number of years, there have been numerous scandals particularly in the voluntary sector but also, and most re-cently, in established organisations such as the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

Many of these have been due to a failing in corporate governance. And this falls on the shoulders of the leaders in these organisations, those that made promises to encourage membership.

People will be rightly frustrated, as was evidenced last week with the Beef Plan fallout, that without structure, the wheels can easily fall off the cart.

Unfortunately, the ones that generally suffer are the ones that needed the help, and the organisation to succeed, the most.