In the dark and clueless

Thursday 16th November 2017

We’re a nation in the dark , unable to think for ourselves.

First , I met one one of our leading economists and market commentators – not one of Nigel Lawson’s ‘teenage scribblers’ but a man whose career has taken him from being a  financial civil servant to a senior voice in the City over the past thirty years I’ve known him . I’m being vague because he has to remain anonymous.

And anonymous he now effectively is. His problem is that he’s always been a Eurosceptic, and now is, dare one whisper it, in favour of Brexit.

His present plight  reminds me of the scientists a few years ago, who refused to side with the global warmists on the evidence that had thus far presented itself , and found themselves frozen out of their peers’ community, and also,disgracefully, research funding.

My friend  used to appear regularly on our national broadcasting corporation’s output, and then, after last year’s referendum, that dried up. Most recently he was being interviewed by one of the larger financial channels and after he’d opined a little over the fractures within the EU and the relief of leaving it and finding our own way in the world, he was simply cut off. In mid broadcast.

We’ve all blamed the technical gremlins for screw ups in the past, but this was not one of those.

In a media career of over thirty years, I’ve never witnessed that – but that seems to be now indicative of the level of media debate  over Brexit. The bien pensant claque in broadcasting has already made its decision – the viewers and listeners are being shortchanged, not least by an organisation which they are forced to fund – and as a result, Project Fear lives on.

Second, another chum, this time a risk analyst who will also remain unnamed ,was telling me a little about the speaking circuit he’s on. He’s usually the first speaker, and he plays around with the elements and the management of risk that scare everyone from investors to airplane passengers – and then explores the industries cashing in on worry. And so on.

But lest the snowflakes in the audience are getting too unhappy, the next speakers usually focus on success.

Are not the most tedious stories we ever hear  success stories ?  You know the sort of thing  – the overblown, ghastly patronising  ‘ TED” talks, the conference keynote presentations, the pages of in-flight business magazines, the  hindsight  wisdom of those who’ve made it to the top of their chosen greasy pole, and most of every business book ever written.

My friend points me to a recent  article by journalist Martin Weigle. On the ‘success’ stories, he says:

“We love this stuff. Perhaps we are lazy and want somebody else to take on the trial and error and figure it all out for us. Perhaps we just need some inspiration and motivation to keep us going. Perhaps we need to be given a belief system. Perhaps we really do think there’s a silver bullet out there. Perhaps it’s our innate appetite for satisfying patterns. Perhaps we need these stories to feel that progress is actually possible. Perhaps our brains are simply adapted to to copy the behaviours off the most successful. Perhaps we – no longer buoyed by faith – still seek our gods.

Whatever the reason, for the most part these stories  have nothing to teach us. Painting false realities, creating the illusion that success is far easier than it actually is, and laying claim to universal wisdom, they enslave us in the fictions, fantasies and ideologies of others. Comforting though it might be, they stop us thinking for ourselves.”

Quite so – so bring on failure..let’s talk


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