Area for all other political discussion
🙏 100 %
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts LikeBB
#555002
I've spent years wondering how people (such as politicians) who seem to be of average intelligence can make such stupid decisions and hold such stupid positions.

This forum has led me to another splinter of an answer.

Last week someone posted a quote from a book entitled 'Bluffocracy' by James Ball and Andrew Greenway. I was intrigued, bought it (under a fiver on Kindle) and read it.

In large part it is a hatchet job on the PPE degree at Oxford, but it also describes those people (largely men) who have graduated from the course into politics, journalism and the civil service.

I heartily recommend that you read the book, if you haven't already, but here are some quotes (within 5%):
Politics, the civil service and the media are – with honourable exceptions – run by people who are bluffing, winging it, obsessed with process over substance, and dominated by short-termism. The tops of these institutions are dominated by men – it is still predominantly men – whose primary skills are most often talking well, writing well and quickly mastering just enough detail of a brief to get by. We live in a country where George Osborne can become a newspaper editor despite never having worked in news, squeezing it in alongside five other jobs; where a columnist can go from calling a foreign head of state a ‘wanker’ to being Foreign Secretary in six months; where the minister who holds on to his role for eighteen months has more experience on the job than the supposedly permanent senior civil servants. These values aren’t just cultural: they’re baked into how our elites are educated, how career advancement works and how people get noticed.
The example they are working from was David Davies and his performance over the 'impact statements' in which he did and didn't see them, had them but didn't read them, and anyway wasn't going to talk about it.

A favourite of mine:
The difficulties of expecting ministers to be the master of so many fields was perhaps best highlighted when Gove appeared before MPs and was asked whether he could manage his stated target. ‘If “good” requires pupil performance to exceed the national average, and if all schools must be good, how is this mathematically possible?’ the English graduate was asked at committee in 2012. ‘By getting better all the time,’ he replied, prompting the question of whether he was ‘better at literacy than numeracy’ at school. Gove could not recall.
shewing the degree to which critical thinking and intelligence are not allowed to impinge on a good bluff.

Theresa May on C4 News this evening was a superb example of the bluff. She had a set of lines - just one-liners - that she had successfully learned. Nothing of substance, just the lines. The civil service calls these standard lines, and they are concocted for ministers for exactly this purpose.

The other part of the heading is Fudging. When discussing this with Mrs A the Magic Grandad was answering questions (very huffily). We decided he wasn't bluffing (to be honest he's not up to it) he was fudging, obscuring his answers and raising red herrings. His answer on his appearances on Press TV was classic fudge.

So I recommend the book to you. In the meantime, place textbook examples of bluff or fudge here.
 
By Malcolm Armsteen
Membership Days Membership Days Posts LikeBB
#555396
It will probably reinforce your ideas rather than give you new ones, but it's a decent, quick read with a bit of a feelgood factor for us leftytrendies.
 
By Big Arnold
Membership Days Posts
#555405
I'm not even sure it's necessary to read the free sample.
We live in a country where George Osborne can become a newspaper editor despite having no experience in journalism, squeezing it in alongside five other jobs; where a newspaper columnist can go from calling a foreign head of state a ‘wanker’ to being Foreign Secretary in six months; where the minister who holds on to his job for eighteen months has more expertise than the supposedly permanent senior civil servants.
 
By youngian
Membership Days Posts LikeBB
#555506
I'll try and find a link but I think it was John Harris writing along similar lines about politicians that came of age in the post-Cold war end of ideology era. While you have the bluffers like Johnson moving into the media painting the world in easy colours you had another group like Ed Balls and Burnham* that dedicated themselves to hard work of policymaking that was about deliverable end results that worked. These people came to be mocked as out-of-touch wonks and liberal elites who fail to understand the power of rhetoric and 'connecting' (they had Tony Blair for that).

* That's not meant to be a party political point but its hard to think of anyone on the Tory side. Cameron and his circle had to persuade a very reluctant Jo Johnson to become an MP because he was the only person in their circle that had carried out some rigorous heavy lifting in studying international trade and business.
Boris Johnson

O.k chums, let's get serious. I know nothing abou[…]

The LibDems, generally

Ah, I'd forgotten that, good point. She should ph[…]

Jeremy Corbyn.

Jez musing on NATO today. Our role will be "r[…]

Caption Contest

Roll on thou great and horrible ocean, roll over […]