Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Enough ink has been spilled on the election of the Donald for me to hesitate to put more onto a page.

But the experience of seeing all the coverage, along with the reporting and commentary on Brexit, has been very convincing of the arrogance of the political elite on both sides of the Atlantic and the press corps that follow them. Two results have been howls of the masses, rather than  the nuanced argument of the ruling or media classes. They don't like it.

I didn't like Brexit. I'm not sure I like Trump. Though I am equally unsure, especially in foreign policy matters, that I don't dislike disastrous recent American foreign policy (of which Hilary Clinton was a tired continuation advocate) more than some of the possibilities opened by Mr Trump's tenure.

In both cases - Trump and Brexit - what I am sure is that they are circumstances we have to deal with and make the best of them.

Confidence in our government to do this is shaken by two recent incidents, both of which point to a worrying lack of forethought in our Government's actions.

The first was the handling of Mr Nigel Farage's ludicrously opportunistic claim that he could be a special go between for the UK in the USA, what with him being best mates with Mr Trump 'n all. Our government quickly came out with a statement which quashed his ambition. Now, though, Mr Farage has got his new best mate to tweet in his support. Oops. An only slightly more far sighted government would have thought about this differently at the outset. This was an opportunity to rid the UK of a loose cannon in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations and rob him of a voice in the matter. Park him over in America, as far west as practical, and give him some nonsense title and put him under UK Government discipline because he becomes a civil servant with no domestic voice. Ideal, I'd have thought. But no. Blurting was better!

Blurting has also got the government into hot water this week with the CBI. Putting workers on Boards is the issue. I'm all for workers participation, as my career has demonstrated. But workers on Boards is entirely impractical. Apart from anything else, Board Directors have a primacy in their legal duty to shareholders, not to workers. Change that, and what's the point of them? Anyone with a reasonable brain could see that this will lead the government to conflict with the CBI, the Institute of Directors, and, ironically, the TUC, who now have a reason to claim the government is backsliding on its promise.

What the blurting of this policy really shows is, apart from the obvious lack of forethought, the more subtle absence of ideas. Find an idea, launch it. That's a short route to disaster. Have many ideas, select the best. Much wiser.

To be fair, the government isn't alone in this. Most Companies that I have worked with either as a consultant or an employee simply spend far too little time originating ideas to give them a fund from which to select. Indeed, the norm is often that if you have any new idea at all, no matter how daft, there's a serious danger it becomes the new front runner, not because of its merit, but because no other ideas have been originated instead.

Both Brexit and the Trump phenomenon seem to me a mass Crie de Coeur for new thinking in old fields. Industry, and the government would be wise indeed, in the face of such change, to build the habits of ideation. It may well be that these two newest and biggest political ideas have sprung forth precisely because of its paucity in the first place.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016



Wednesday, 9 November 2016


It’s a wise man who knows what is enough.

That wise man will know

On tumultuous days,

On days when the world goes wrong

When questionable virtue ascends

And good men wring their hands,

Fortunes fail,

Scum comes to the top

Visible , filthy, corrupt,

That, on a beach, empty of anyone,

Not where watchers go,

But wild and dangerous,

Where the tide rips kill you

And ebbs slide faster than snakes,

And waders ply cautiously the surf,

There is enough,

And will build there a fire

To warm against winter whipping the dunes,

Will start by looking long at the desolate beach

Seeing nothing but hopelessness

Then with a rummaging eye

Spot this small twig, this dry marram, this weathered shard

Till spark and fire are made, fanned, and warm the cold soul.

He will find enough to do this

Knowing what is enough.