Wednesday, 25 March 2015

My Guess Is As Bad As Yours

In the next six weeks the electorate of the UK will be circling the Bermuda Triangle that is British politics while their present leaders and other potential ones attempt to navigate despite all their compasses and other equipment going wild or dead.

The three sides to the triangle are climate change and energy implications, soil degradation and land use and then matters arising from demographics, population and migrations.  The whirlpool in the middle is economic turbulence.

Deep beneath the waters are the great trenches of property, inhabited by voracious beasts and the other connected one of debt, with much the same beasts and other creatures unknown or thought to be long extinct, like our aristocracy.

Further into the deep are many caves, tunnels, holes and the rest that are the places where all our political myths and fantasies let alone dogmas have their slimy origins.  It is a world of taxation, benefits, subsidies and channels for funds going who knows where.

Down at the very bottom lost forever is the wreckage of so many ships of state and airy policies, manifestos, promises, commitments and theories that disappeared without trace often in a puff of mist or a glitch in the magnetic field of events.

We shall never know really what happened and why only what ancient legends, folk tales and fairy tales might claim together with the scraps of rhetoric that learned people who know little allege is political philosophy.

The result will not be what most people would want it to be.  The government that is the consequence is unlikely to be either competent or able properly to function and the agencies of state will be largely obeying the instructions and directives of foreign entities.

To add to this is the problem of what is truth and what it means.  On the LSE site in an article referring to the Hillsborough Disaster Nick Turnbull and Dave Richards say:


It might be that in some cases, the long-run lie has paid off for public officials and their institutions.

The time lag provides its own inertia, because it seems too late to redress the failings. But more importantly, we must ask the question can the deep culture of secrecy within the British state ever change?

Secrecy is a tradition that is relied upon by decision makers of all stripes, to give them a measure of autonomy and distance from potential criticism, regardless of the quality of their decisions.

In such a culture, any given individual who wishes to lie can likely count on his or her colleagues to actively participate in the deception, not just for self-interest but because it is a way of governing, a grounding idea embedded in our institutions.


If what little we know or are told is untrue or only adjacent to the truth and at the same time there is a lot we do not know and are not going to be told, some of which may emerge in a distant future or it may not then we are all playing guessing games.

So we do not have  three guesses or any at all in reality.  The answers may never really emerge but if they do only in the long run.

What did John Maynard Keynes say in "Tract on Monetary Reform" in 1923?

"The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again."

But not perhaps in the Bermuda Triangle.


  1. It's a shambles which only holds together because we are creatures of habit.

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