A Childlike Awe

We know there’s something odd about the people who want to be politicians. Many of our political elite are professional politicians, it’s been the path they chose from school onwards. That’s sort of fine, except without extensive experience of other jobs, other folk, real life, many of their “beliefs” may be only based on what they’re told.

Our politicians are in awe of the people who appear to be successful, self-made individuals.

Lord Sugar, Stephen Green, John Nash are all individuals brought from other areas of success to help confused government ministers after a few meetings in exclusive bars assist and advise. Michael Gove’s mission to privatise schools seems to stem from Rupert Murdoch’s desire to have some.

Why are these individuals so revered?

The private sector doesn’t seem to work much better than the public sector.

Richard Branson has carefully moved Virgin into a brand that can pick up govt contracts and cast offs that can make serious profits long term. That’s, shall we say, not quite the tooth & claw capitalism that requires animal spirits.

Recent events regarding the food chain demonstrate that private companies can make BIG mistakes too.

And all we’ve learned about the behaviour of the banks in the past 6 years shows us that the central tenets of neo-liberalism and global capitalism are false. Executives are maximising executive returns, based on short term compartmentalised profitability and dumb-ass pay structures, not the hallowed Long Term Shareholder Value.

The executives at HMV have paid themselves pretty well over recent years, but the company didn’t survive, even when if you’d asked half the high street their days were numbered.

A businessman who makes a success of running a massive global power, strengthened by years of influence by lax regulation, favourable govt contracts, and diminished union powers, who saves money by cutting the wages of the disposable front-line staff IS NOT a successful one. That individual is a lucky and morally disreputable one.

So why are our politicians so in awe of these individuals?

I suspect it’s part of an inferiority complex – if you’re meeting these individuals at Davos and the like, they belong effortlessly in their social network, they live and breathe success. And our politicians don’t have the real world experience, or technical expertise to assess the quality of these apparent achievements, they just see that they want a piece of it, they want to feel comfortable in their own skin, and if it’s wretched and oily then they don’t notice.

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