Written by: Philippe Riboton
DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME: the fresh air I feel around us these days isn’t coming from the natural sense of leadership and great charisma which our new prime minister is actively trying to spread around like a blossoming spring flower. For God’s sake, let’s acknowledge that his enthronement provided us with a great and unique moment of emotion, when his first spokeswoman gave a once-in-a-lifetime interview detailing her guidelines for the new man in the job: picking his ties, choosing the colors of his suits, praising his unique ability to count from one to ten. Unfortunately for us this specialist in public relations and government communications lasted no more than a few sunny days, and deprived us the pleasure of her comments (with words chosen from the weather report) about amendments to the bankruptcy act or adjustments to the pension reform project. No, the gentle and subtle perfume in the air is more detectable when reading our cover story this month, portraying a selection of Czech mayors who are simply committed to make the lives of their fellow citizens easier and better. From the pictur-esque small Moravian villages to the well-guarded avenues of Prague 6, they send us the message that there is thankfully another concept of politics than lobbying for hard currency commissions coming from privatization deals or building real estate portfolios with sacks of cash from some forgotten uncle in north America. These ordinary men and women remind us that politics starts from the local sphere – serving the interest of the community, improving the quality of life for the average Joe Novák, building for future generations. In this respect, those mayors may contribute to rebuilding confidence in the public mandate. The saying goes that no one speaks about the trains that arrive on time, but we are happy to offer living contradictions to that statement, and to show that certain extraordinary people in public office give us reason to believe in better days.