I found it very interesting to hear that George Osborne had acquired a four days a month job as an advisor to a big investment company that has connections in Dublin. Blackrock Investments offer return from investments from 10% - 16%. Sounds dodgy. So does his salary of £650,000! His MP’s salary ( £74,962 plus expenses) is dwarfed by his Blackrock salary, and today it was announced that he has been appointment as the editor of the Evening Standard; another pay cheque, unbelievable! It was bad enough that he was appointed the Chancellor of the Exchequer with no background of economics. (Oxford, second class degree in History) but his recent two extra curriculum appointments are career advancements that can only be described as democratically immoral. In the polite format of Osborn’s Irish ancestors, it is “taking the Michael”. Is this what he referred to in the past when, as the cash strapped Chancellor, he implied that we are all in the same boat and must pull together to improve the UK’s fiscal problems? What right does a so called professional politician have to cash in on periphery activities that have nothing to do with politics but do have connections with the unattractive face and influence of capitalistic nepotism. Like his friend Cameron, Osborne is already a very rich person in his own family trust rights, but his recent activities with even more rich pickings and emoluments that have as no connection with politics except perhaps in the role of a covert political lobbyist who would receive lavish unspecified perks. Presumably, he was given the Blackrock appointment because, as the Chancellor of Exchequer, it was a natural assumption that he had a good knowledge and comprehensive understanding of economics? Well, like many, I have my doubts. A second class Oxford degree in history doesn’t exactly inculcate the basics essentials of economics. Osborne doesn’t even have the “must have” politician’s mediocre PPE degree. Politics, Philosophy and Economics; three esoteric subjects which implies that a degree in PPE indicates a smattering of knowledge of three subjects and an obligatory “subject skim” awareness, equivalent to reading the jacket cover of a novel so that one can hold ones own at a cocktail/ drinks party or dinner. Thankfully, the politicians and ministers have the safety factor of civil servants who have good degrees in the relevant esoteric subjects. Their advice is passed over to the politicians who promulgate the information as if the advice is theirs although the MP/Minister often knows virtually nothing about the subject of his ministry. Even the politician’s speeches are written for them. Without the civil servants help, minister’s advice and speeches would contain even more flaws than they normally have which would result in greater catastrophic political decisions. Perhaps, if they were capable of writing their own speeches it would improve matters although with the lack of many politician’s intellectual quality, that would be asking too much. Ministers swap jobs like school children swap gob stoppers although tragically, the minister’s metaphorical gob stopper lacks the efficacy of the child’s gobstopper even though he clearly shares some of the qualities of the children who negotiate the deals.
All government parties are made up of similar people, many of whom become politicians because of personal hubris, Oxbridge delusions of grandeur and a good dollop of personal egotism which is their main driving force.
I suppose some really good brains and intellectuals would be capable of changing ministries although contrary to general belief, it isn’t an essential requirement to have an Oxbridge education but an innate ability to multi task and adjust because of a natural ability. I refer to people who have a genuine quality of leadership, not the people whose ability comes from academic achievement and a successful third year education, without which they would be pushed to get a job in a retail shop. Take Michael Gove who changed from Minister of Education to Minister of Justice over night. In education he had some pretty spontaneous ideas which probably reflected his personal, somewhat unbalanced, perspective. His appointment as Minister of War was risible considering he hadn’t even been in the army, the cadets force or even a boy scout. And yet, he was telling the Generals what decisions they had to take in relation to the three services and national and international wars! There is no way an ordinary person can become capable in the way a newly appointed minister is expected to act. Unfortunately, Theresa May, (Oxford degree in Geography !) regardless of her important role as Prime Minister, is only an ordinary person whose position was established by the simple fact of her considerable ego being available when Cameron backed out of his responsibilities following his disappointment with the referendum. The quality of the several other applicants for No 10 / wannabe Prime Ministers was lacking and that includes the outspoken contestant, Michael Gove, who made his usual irritating and somewhat gaffe remarks during his attempt to become the Prime minster.
Theresa May has selected several sub standard MPs to become ministers, some of which would be an enhancement of her own image. One is Liz Truss; clever but probably knows less about law than the average Taxi driver. Undoubtedly, she is an intelligent woman but with her academic background of yet another Oxford PPE, she would have insufficient depth of understanding legal procedures or the full canon of the British legal system. Her Oxford PPE degree is no base for being appointed as the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, even more so when one considers that she originally intended to study philosophy, an indication that she is a natural for shifting her interests at the drop of a hat. Internet descriptions don’t always explain everything if the minister described in its pages edits the facts and prefers a non disclosure dissimulation. Gove and Truss are just two doubtful MPs / Ministers and it is relevant to point out that when a new Prime Minister /President / or whatever, takes over the reins of government as the new No.10 incumbent, she /he will replace the preceding politicians with their own prejudiced selection regardless of their quality. Even if there has been a revolution and all the leaders assassinated
( French & Russian), the deadand evicted ( Western Democracies) are immediately replaced by alternative leaders who might or might not be good leaders or not so good as their predecessors. Most replacement politicians would probably have remained politically anonymous if the revolution had not occurred. The significant fact is that most leaders obtain their position by stepping into the shoes of the evicted or buried and that includes our Prime Minister who is just an ordinary woman enjoying the sensation of flexing her feminist muscles and expressing her desire for power after being appointed by the process of serendipity. Already, she is showing the signs of autocracy which would be the early stages of a nascent dictatorship if the UK weren’t a genuine democracy.
Copyright Dorian van Braam 19th March 2017.