Remember Hale and Pace when they were funny? This isn’t about them – but it is about Management, Organisation and Decision Making – with maybe a quick nod to Leadership.
The context? The ramshackle mélange of lawyers, doctors, local government employees, lecturers, teachers, journalists, farmers, political organisers and city types which makes up the UK Parliament.
Some of them even end up running Departments of State with massive resources and budgets which are measured in tens or even hundreds of millions. Many are unsuitable for management and even less suitable for leadership but………. with a system which promotes from within a very limited talent pool, the strangest of people rise to the sort of power which those of us who grew up in a mostly meritocratic and competitive corporate environment can only marvel at.
Four out of our five most recent Chancellors were either Lawyers or History graduates! Our present Prime Minister studied Geography. Our Foreign Secretary is an Oxford Classics graduate (that’s Latin and Greek to you and me) and our Defence Secretary has a degree in Social Sciences!
There are English graduates and Philosophy degrees. There’s a medical doctor and even a media person. There’s a statistical sprinkling of those ubiquitous Politics, Philosophy and Economics graduates but some say that PPE graduates never quite learn enough about any one subject…….ideal MP fodder!!
But you may ask ‘What has a degree got to do with anything?’
On the face of it – nothing at all….but it is Organisation and Management which run departments with Leadership showing the way…..and if there is no leadership and an inability or unwillingness to take decisions, there is a lack of progress with decisions being consigned to investigations, reviews, inquiries and commissions – which in reality are no more than misused government devices which cleverly disguise intransigence and moribund passivity into action.
The only other place I have seen such a disparate band of individuals attempting to act as a team was a motley crew of so-called ‘middle management’ in a very well-known company’s marketing department. There were graduates of every flavour imaginable – but they neither had to lead, manage nor take decisions. The corporate damage that they could inflict was negligible.
The clue as to the unsuitability of many (most) MPs to administer billions of pounds on our behalf is to be found in the type of individual who chose to study a particular subject…..but there’s more…..
So-called ‘Communication Skills’, exemplified by an ability to talk whilst being insulted is certainly not related to any ability to lead or manage and yet, it is the skill which is prized above all others.
Currently, (as always) there is talk of future reform of the House of Lords reform and hopefully that is where any reform will remain….in the future.
Before training its beady eye on the Other Place, the House of Commons would do well to pause and think about its own fitness for purpose.
Q: How many MPs work at the House of Commons?
A: About 10% of them.
Boris on Africa in 2002
#Boris on Africa in 2002 (Telegraph)
“What a relief it must be for Blair to get out of England. It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies…. They say he is shortly off to the Congo. No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.”
The Ugly Spectre of EU Self-interest……
A recent survey has indicated that most companies based in the eurozone believe a British decision to leave the European Union would hurt the region as it struggles with a sluggish economy and a migration crisis.
79% of firms based in the eurozone said a Brexit would be bad for the area, with less than 4% saying it would have a positive impact, according to the report from accountants Grant Thornton.
“What’s abundantly clear from our research is that European business leaders overwhelmingly view a Brexit as a negative development for the EU,” Francesca Lagerberg, a senior tax partner at Grant Thornton, said.
She said business confidence was strong considering the various potential threats the region faced from low growth, high unemployment, migration and a potential Brexit.
“Any one of these flaring up over the next few months could see that optimism wobble if the economic shocks undermine business leaders’ ability to plan and invest,” she added.
The survey was based on interviews with more than 2,500 senior executives conducted in January and February.
The result is in keeping with the view of senior business leaders in Britain who are largely in favour of Britain staying in the EU. Most economists expect an exit would deal a blow to Britain’s economy in both the short- and longer-term.
The Grant Thornton report showed 68 percent of British-based firms believe Brexit would have a negative impact on Europe.
Parts of the eurozone have struggled with a debt crisis in recent years which, on the heels of the global financial crisis, has stifled growth and left many unemployed. Unfortunately, quite a high percentage of Europe’s unemployed appear to be headed for the UK.
In addition, many recent migrants to the EU stated their first choice of refuge as the UK. Many of those will be arriving here in a few years….when Germany and other states hand them EU citizenship.
The region as a whole remains at odds over how to contain the continuing flow of migrants to the region.
It is regrettable that neither the UK political leadership, nor the Brussels Commissars have any idea about Managing Change on a macro scale because the sociological change within the #EU is probably they biggest issue that will need to be addressed within the next five to ten years.
Both sides are doing their best to frighten the electorate into voting for their point of view. There has also been an attempt at what can only be described as The Blackmail of a Nation – especially by the IN camp and the leadership’s foreign banking and political friends..
The fact is that BOTH sides have valid arguments but instead of helping the average UK citizen to make a reasonable choice whilst at the same time preparing for change, BOTH sides prefer to persuade through the medium of fantasy rhetoric, insinuation and slur.
Meanwhile, mainland Europe, surrounded by the Ring of Chaos, which encompasses Ukraine, then east to Turkey and south to North Africa, sits and waits for more handouts and UK opportunities for its unemployed.
Brexit – Summary , so far……
Cameron’s ‘in crowd’ has expanded offshore to include the foreign senior banking community. Here in the UK, the ‘IN’ conspiracy has now recruited some senior corporate ‘suits’.
Meanwhile, Boris is looking increasingly shambolic and isolated plus, he does not appear to be appealing to the great unwashed.
The two main messages are either “Watch out for hordes of migrants and we could do it alone if we wanted to” or, more worryingly: “The UK is effectively imprisoned within the #EU with no way out without damaging EVERYTHING!”
Both messages are negative – especially now that it would appear that the Cameron camp has admitted that even if we wanted to leave – we can’t. We’re trapped!
Today it was the turn of Spain’s 800,000 permatanned British residents to have the fear of God put into them…..as if the Spanish economy would even think about risking the loss of such a vast slice of revenue!
The one aspect of the debate I cannot agree with and that is the perceived danger from millions of low-level migrants. Once the UK economy collapses, no-one will want to come here.
Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the ECB’s Mario Draghi to pontificate.
Believe it or not, I have no particular view as to whether or not we should remain within the European Union but if we are minded to believe the sharp suited Westminster Europhiles (and Jeremy Corbyn), we should not take what is looking increasingly like the foolhardy and dangerous option of Brexit………. Of course, the other team is busy painting a picture of an economic Utopia, unencumbered by the tyrannical drag-chute of EU integration.
The only unsurprising phenomenon about the whole debate is that because we know of no other way, two teams were hastily put together and, as is the case with every other debate, confrontation has been the order of the day.
I would have considered David Cameron far more statesmanlike had he addressed the nation in a far more neutral way, outlining the pros and cons for both possible outcomes. Unfortunately, we only know one way and that is through the medium of opinion-fuelled conflict. Hence the Boris and Cameron camps both treating the debate more like a prizefight rather than what could have been a comradely discussion.
The most outrageous claims have come from the ‘stay in’ camp.
‘Each family will be £4300 per year worse off’, ‘mortgage rates will increase’, ‘house prices will fall’, ‘we are safer within the European Union.’ etc. are all no more than conjecture.
The fact is that whether we are in or out will make little difference to the average man in the street and given the politicians’, pollsters’ and economists’ track records on any sort of prediction, we should all be wary of all the nonsense which has been produced as implied ‘fact’.
Sadly, most of the United Kingdom’s voting population is not very ‘politically-bright’ – hence the outrageous claims made by both sides. It is the only way that they are able to communicate with the slack-jawed Mr and Mrs Average because proper economic and sovereignty arguments are far too complicated without being reduced to single sentence soundbites.
If only the government had had the foresight to produce a single ‘for and against’ document, clearly showing that the argument is largely opinion rather than fact-based, Mr and Mrs Average would not have to be subjected to the increasingly hysterical rhetoric of the Westminster wide-boys.
However, tell someone that their property value is going to fall and contrary to world trends, interest rates are mysteriously going to increase, you begin to understand that scaremongering by both sides is the only way forward.
What is it that we are being asked to keep or abandon?
What is in place at the moment is a self-amplifying bureaucracy which has arrived at the stage where it exists to perpetuate itself rather than be there for the good of the European Community. We have a European legal system whose main function appears to be to impose itself on EU member states plus a European economy which continues to be in terminal decline. There is a massive migration problem-without-end, with the prospect of an increased internal EU migration issue as a result of the proposed future membership of Turkey and Albania. That is the organisation of which we are currently a member.
The question is very straightforward: Do we want to belong to a totally unaudited association of failing and near bankrupt economies, overrun by unwanted (yes!) migrants and presided over by an inwardly-focused, self-amplifying bureaucracy – or should we be looking outwards to the rest of the world whilst maintaining relations only with the European states we can and WANT to do business with – without worrying about regulations governing what we eat or the amperage of our hairdryers and toasters!
The MOST frightening aspect of leaving the European Union is no more than a quite natural fear of CHANGE.
With very few exceptions, politicians have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of preventing crises and they are certainly very frightened of being accused of creating a crisis such as they imagine might occur if we left the EU.
They surmise, quite correctly, that they would not be able to deal with it, and it is no accident that both David Cameron and George Osborne are at the desperate forefront of trying to keep us in the European Union because they would be the ones expected to deal with any Brexit fallout for which they are not professionally equipped.
Their motivation is fear, whereas the leaders of the Brexit campaign are driven by no more than a misplaced ambition to rule.
The stakes within the EU debate have very little to do with pragmatism or principle. They are to do with power and we as voters would do well to remember that.
The subtext of the Brexit debate is a battle for the leadership of BOTH of our main political parties.
Olympics 2008 – the Epilogue.
We like His Borissness and we always enjoy the studied buffoonery. This time it began with the unfurling of the Olympic flag at the end of the closing ceremony in Beijing. Would he or wouldn’t he? Of course, it was OK in the end.
There is only one question which my toff mates have been unable answer : how does Boris make a Saville Row number look like Eastender Minty’s boiler suit? That is real style.
The double-decker bus which opened like a Chancellor’s purse was OK but the faux-topiary, faux-clipped to look like bugger-all was not good. Leona Lewis looked terrified and seemed more concerned with not falling off her perch than with the warbling. For once, the vibrato sounded real – but then again, it normally does when you’re crapping yourself in front of billions.
We did not quite realise it at the time but this was just the beginning of the Simon Cowell Benefit night.
Beckham held a ball up and kicked it and said later that he was “honoured”. The training has obviously paid off. I don’t mean fitness or football training but “HOW TO PUT LONG SENTENCES TOGETHER” training – for the interview. He didn’t once use the V-word, so we have to assume that he has since had a severe bollocking from the gruesome pouting one.
Red bus, Leona Lewis, Beckham, small girl and dancers. No cock-ups. Good so far.
Enter Boris centre stage for the post-Olympics piss-up. Some marginally unfunny stuff about Ping Pong. Nothing wrong there except that it probably produced several complaints to British talk radio stations from “offended” out-of-work Scottish listeners. Again, nothing unusual.
We were still awaiting the first cock-up. We’re British for goodness’ sake. We NEED cockups. It is our cultural oxygen.Without cock-ups we are like everyone else.
Then it came!!! It was a video about London…….
Some (former) mentalist VT editor had included a very short sequence on the Tate and there was a glimpse of a so-so painting of Myra Hindley. One could argue that the image was appropriate. After all, Gordon Brown was wearing his Jack the Ripper grin PLUS murder is currently a popular cultural phenomenon – especially in London.
The sad fact is that this was not a new video and the company Visit London probably did not think twice about including Hindley’s likeness. I bet that the editor was a young guy who probably just saw something that could have been an Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe. Sadly, although it was a rip-off, it was not the sainted Marilyn.
Boris was outraged, Brown was outraged but instead of being outraged quietly they managed to alert the whole world to our ineptitude. Social soirees and breweries immediately sprang to mind.
All that Brown had to do was to quietly ask for the directors of Visit London to place their dangly bits on a butcher’s block while he went in search of a drink-crazed hoodie with a machete. Job done. The British Way.
No. We had to put it on the front page and indulge in a bit of collective outrage. That is the perversity of the British psyche.
Before we move to London’s Simon Cowell benefit “Concert” which, for some reason appeared to be called “VISA”, there is one small niggling matter which may be worth a mention.
Huw Edwards had been freighted over and unpacked to commentate on the closing ceremony – ” a Beacon….. a beacon of hope….”.
He has neither the intellect, wit nor the vocabulary to add anything to any great occasion. Just clueless empty platitudes. One of the Dimbebys (preferably David) should have been dispatched or maybe Sue Barker should have taken the lead with her chum Hazel.
Edwards’ commentary was very reminiscent of the night that Trevor MacDonald was sent to RAF Lyneham to commentate on John McCarthy’s return from Beirut “and here come da plane in an arc… a lovely, lovely arc…. etc.”
The telly-action moved to London for the “VISA Concert” and lots of Blue Peter presenters introducing performers who had at some stage, passed through Simon Cowell’s hands.
More inanities and lots of “How do you feel?” questions. Needless to say , everything was “Amaiiiiiizing!!!” ….but……a danger is now lurking and it WILL bite us:
We all appear to be suffering from the “1966 effect”.
In 1966, we won the World Cup and since then we have believed, contrary to all the evidence, that we are a great footballing nation.
We are now imagining that we are some sort of major force in world sport. There is mass hysteria with open-topped buses, gala dinners and Gordon Brown dishing out honours like Purple Hearts.
Let us hope that once the 2008 Sports Personality has been chosen, we calm down, regain some sense of perspective and take a reality check.