Tuesday, 28 April 2020
The Boss is Back
Were you to go to your boss and make a suggestion to improve the business, or improve your own lot, it is likely that an astute boss would challenge you to sell it to him. What do you mean, exactly, how would it work, what research have you done to validate this and what part do you intend to play in order to bring this about? In most cases where an employee suggests “I’ll tell you what we should do…” the conversation stops the second such a challenge is made. “Oh, I’m not the businessman here, but, you know, you should consider it.”
Such suggestions usually get stored carefully in ‘the round file’ where ideas go to die. Innovators, entrepreneurs, successful people generally, don’t just dream up an outcome and then assume it can come to fruition just because they’ve thought it. In large part this is the failure of vision of the Labour Party. They have a dream of a utopia in which they would have a marvellous time but haven’t considered how it will affect those who don’t think like they do, or even how it will reconcile the left’s own perpetually warring factions.
And they have never, ever, come up with a practical solution to pay for it, no matter how many times they use the phrase ‘fully costed’. At the moment, of course, in response to Rishi Sunak’s response to feeding people during the lockdown they are jeering and claiming that he has introduced the very socialist measures they were proposing only a few months ago. But he hasn’t. He is responding to a crisis and the government of which he is a part is doing its level best to follow expert advice, observe outcomes elsewhere and do what they honestly think is right for the country, as a whole.
And it’s that ‘as a whole’ that is important here because no solution, not one, would satisfy everybody. The furlough funding? Yeah but what about the self-employed? Okay, we’ll sort out some system for them, if we can find a way. But why didn’t you think about that in, like, 2019, then? Er, because in 2019 all of you were trying to stop Brexit, you nuggets. And so it continues; every action is met with an objection, every criticism is non-constructive. And every tiny lapse in detail is forensically examined and presented as a massive structural failure.
Another thing that is important to recognise is that the government is actually doing something, many things. And it is reacting to the situation as it changes. Nobody in government or advising them is simply taking an enormous salary or consultation fees and glibly doing nothing. Yet everybody else thinks they know better. Because everybody lives in their own little socio-economic bubble which they imagine is a microcosm of the country at large. Except it isn’t; the chances of your own personal experience preparing you to tackle problems affecting millions of people is unlikely in the extreme.
But the government can’t be perfect; no government will ever be. Many good intentions end up in the black hole between conception and execution, between ministers and civils servants, between press release and reality. But this doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying and it doesn’t mean that you could do any better. And if you think you could you are as guilty as the press, the opposition, celebrities and all the other hordes who are rocking up to the boss with what they imagine are helpful suggestions.
History may have put him here for a reason...
Having said all that I am not an uncritical supporter of everything the current government stands for and everything they do or plan to do. But unlike so many I don’t imagine for one second I have the intellectual or managerial capacity to do any better. Now that Boris is back at the helm, maybe, just maybe, its time you all gave him the chance to demonstrate why he, out of countless contenders, is in the job he is.