Wednesday, 30 May 2018

If you see it, say it!

If the cases of Brexit, Trump, the Italian situation and the long-range weather forecast tell us anything it tells us that no matter how intelligent, prominent, famous, studious, or erudite you are, the rarest human attribute seems to be common sense. Show me an expert who argues with confidence for the economics of either staying in or leaving the EU and I will show you somebody who has learned nothing from history. And now I come to think of it, history itself is not always the most solid basis on which to predict the future.

Why would you lay on the line a hard-won reputation for retrospectively making the right moves by wading into waters you have no control over and trying to change the tides? It’s one thing to predict the likely numerical outcomes of a widely welcomed economic policy in a stable environment, or to forecast the balance of power in a two-party state when a popular – or unpopular – government is incumbent. But to pretend you can see the outcome of the worldwide clusterfuck that is the twenty-first century socio-political landscape is vainglorious folly indeed.

I can only imagine the pundits are pressed men, cornered into making pronouncements as their employers demand. Because the alternative is ugly. Is it simple, uncritical arrogance; a belief in your own omniscience? Or is it because your adoring acolytes have convinced you that you alone have the answers denied mere mortals. Or is it – and this is worse – a cynical understanding of the power of propaganda and the knowledge that to hold firm to a stance is somehow to help bring that position about?

It is little wonder that the wider public are turning away from their supposed leaders. The motes have been cast from their eyes and they see the true impotence of potentates; straws bending in the wind. Maybe – and it is a maybe; more of a hope than a prediction – more people will begin to realise that if you want something doing you should do it yourself if you possibly can. Politicians aren’t going to fill your potholes, rear your children and police your streets. Economists aren’t going to feed your pension funds and control your rents. And the Met Office isn't going to keep the rain away from your parade.

I see... murky balls.

If there is such a thing as common sense it is the collective wisdom of common individuals taking responsibility for their actions. And if there are such things as common experiences they are the disappointment that follows failure and the pride imbued by a job well done. It strikes me that the sooner people grasp the personal responsibility nettle, the sooner their reliance on the little man behind the megaphone will wane. Am I forecasting that this will come about? Well, I’m no expert...

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