Fly a kite (politics)

Fly a kite (politics)

To "Fly a Kite" is a term used in politics to describe a tactic whereby a politician either directly themselves informally, or indirectly in the media, raises an idea to gauge the reaction to it. Depending on the reaction, the idea may be implemented (if the reaction was positive) or disowned and denied (if negative). The benefits of "flying a kite" is that it allows a controversial issue to be raised in a way that gives a government "deniability" if the reaction is negative, with the Government being able to say "the Minister was speaking personally, not for the Government" if necessary, and so distance itself from an issue that draws a negative response.

Among the examples of "flying a kite" was the suggestion in the 1960s by then Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan that the Republic of Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth of Nations. He did so on the orders of then taoiseach Seán Lemass. However the reaction was negative and Lemass and Lenihan dropped the issue, with Lemass (with Lenihan's connivance) claiming that Lenihan had just been speaking theoretically in a personal manner and not for the government.

A famous British example occurred in 1885 when while his father's supposed approval, a son of then Leader of the Opposition William E. Gladstone revealed that Gladstone now supported home rule for Ireland. The revelation is known in history as the Hawarden Kite. Historians still debate whether the Hawarden Kite was a deliberate tactical revelation (a case of flying a kite) or an accidential revelation. Whatever the reason the reaction was sufficiently positive for Gladstone to publicly confirm the accuracy of the story and commit to a home rule policy.

One example happened in the country of Singapore in October 2007 - Minister Mentor Lee mentioned the idea of Singapore and the Federation of Malaysia remerging, but the idea was later met with some derision by both parties on either side of the Causeway.

An American equivalent is the term "raising the flag and seeing who salutes" (i.e., raise an issue and see the reaction).

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Benjamin Franklin — Infobox Governor name=Benjamin Franklin width=180px height=220px caption=1777 Jean Baptiste Greuze portrait of Franklin. order=6th President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania office= term start=October 18, 1785 term end=December 1 …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • List of Malcolm in the Middle episodes — Malcolm in the Middle ran for seven seasons from 2000 to 2006 with 151 episodes produced. Contents 1 Series overview 2 Season 1: 2000 3 Season 2: 2000–2001 4 …   Wikipedia

  • performing arts — arts or skills that require public performance, as acting, singing, or dancing. [1945 50] * * * ▪ 2009 Introduction Music Classical.       The last vestiges of the Cold War seemed to thaw for a moment on Feb. 26, 2008, when the unfamiliar strains …   Universalium

  • Military Affairs — ▪ 2009 Introduction        Russia and Georgia fought a short, intense war in 2008, fueling global fears of a new Cold War. On August 7 Georgia launched an aerial bombardment and ground attacks against its breakaway province of South Ossetia.… …   Universalium

  • 1890s — Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 18th century – 19th century – 20th century Decades: 1860s 1870s 1880s – 1890s – 1900s 1910s 1920s …   Wikipedia

  • Gujarat — This article is about the Indian state. For the district in Pakistan, see Gujrat District. For the city in Pakistan, see Gujrat. Gujarat ગુજરાત   State   …   Wikipedia

  • Cinema of China — Actor Tan Xinpei in The Battle of Dingjunshan, 1905 …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of sports — The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sports: Sport – a physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively, sports can be played on land, in water and in the air.… …   Wikipedia

  • Liam Fox — This article is about the British MP. For the Scottish footballer, see Liam Fox (footballer). The Right Honourable Liam Fox MP …   Wikipedia