Monday, May 26, 2008

People doing jobs they shouldn't be doing; it's not that uncommon


One commentator who is worth listening to, though, is Mike Smithson of Political Betting. Yesterday he asked Why are so many MPs such useless talent spotters? In other words why do the parties keep picking losers? Why is it that for every Blair there is a Brown, every Thatcher a Major and so on? Why do people whose job depends on understanding what appeals to the public seem so out of tune with public opinion?

It shouldn't really be a surprise, though. In every walk of life a fair proportion of people in the top jobs - let's say half as a conservative estimate - shouldn't be doing them. We've all seen them, haven't we?: the bullies, the shits, the creeps, the toadies, the timeservers the yes-men, the plotters, the pushy, the venial and - oh dear, yes - the well-connected crowding out their more scrupulous and able cohorts. It's not that talent doesn't have a part to play, but often enough it needs a hefty slice of luck - being in the right place, having the chance to display your mettle - and quite possibly some of the other attributes mentioned here.

Think too of the professional pontificators who have nothing worth saying, financial speculators who can only follow the herd, the writers who can't bleeding write, the managers who can't manage, business people whose greed is matched only by their incompetence; why should politicians be any different?

Put it this way: it's not especially outrageous to suggest that there are a lot of politicians who have the capability to climb the greasy poll, but that that capability doesn't equip them for the job they are supposed to do: assist in the government of the country in the best interests of its people – and it certainly doesn't equip them to spot and support the best people to lead said government. If anything the nature of politics is such that it exacerbates this problem

The surprise should be that people sometimes get it right and that talent gets its due reward.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Oh Bill, what a bleak closing statement. Do you really believe that?

Puss

12:51 pm  
Blogger bill said...

Sure I believe it. There is one obvious exception - sport, where you've got to beat the other lot (and even then there's the psychological aspect to it - and one partial one - the arts, but sometimes you have to be dead first (eg Keats).

But bleak? I thought it was an uplifting, positive conclusion: that sometimes its possible to rise above the shits, backstabbers and mediocrities.

1:13 pm  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Yes bleak - that this happens only rarely, that the norm is for the shiny to be buried beneath the shit is a pretty depressing thought.

Unless I totally misunderstood you - always possible.

Puss

11:07 am  
Blogger bill said...

Oh, well think of me as a latter-day Alexander Pope, then.

Dullness! lets the curtain fall,
And universal Darkness covers all.

I've long thought this blog would be better for being written in rhyming couplets.

5:31 pm  

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