In an established democracy of more than 60 million people you would think after 1000 years we would be able to get the UK Government right, but we don’t.
It might be that it is a ‘really difficult job’, but I don’t actually believe that. It would be a simple job if they did what they are supposed to do, which is Govern. Not manage, and especially not micro manage.
This came to mind when a friend said how Government a few decades ago used to proclaim that they would ‘build more houses’ than the other guys. The result was dire estates of cheap semis and concrete tower blocks many of which got pulled down before they were ever paid for.
We all live in different layers of eco systems and by and large eco systems sort themselves out over time. As long as there is something keeping the system away from heading in one direction only, which means something which brings in checks and balances, then things work out quite well.
The best checks and balances system is diversity itself. If there are enough pushes and pulls in all directions you may not end up with the most efficient system in any one period of time but you end up with the best system over a long period of time. Mostly. Not perfect, just best in some kind of compromisy way.
For some time it has been fashionable to declare that the political party is going to be more hands off, but at the slightest sign of protest from special interest groups and the media, often working with a common interest in stirring up trouble, Governments declare they are going to ‘take action’, so we get yet more micro management.
So the one thing wrong with Government is that it doesn’t Govern!
To Govern you need a certain amount of wisdom, which seems to be lacking in those we elect. Wisdom is about taking the long view, the broad view, the balanced view, whereas those we elect only seem to be able to see the salt and pepper pot, not the meal. Wisdom is about listening more than saying. Wisdom is about sensing where things need to go, pointing that out, and then mentoring those who try to follow that direction.
The UK parliament is a great example of a large bunch of people who only want to talk and not listen, who only want to talk about immediate action, who only want to tell people what is wrong and how to put it right. That is not wisdom in action.
That kind of action now ethos then gates taken up by the highly paid people who run the services, directly or indirectly, who want to micro manage everything and therefore appoint micro managers instead of leaders.
Iain McGilchrist speaks with great clarity when he says that to deal with issues we need ‘necessary distance’ close enough but not too close, and that our brains have been designed to work at different distances but the reasoning micro manager has taken over from the big picture viewer, left brain beats right brain, in the West that is.
So, let’s get back to leaving people to get on with the job at the level appropriate to the job. That means, gosh, local schools run by local people, local hospitals run by local people. Local police services run by local people, which maybe would get us back to putting people back in the stocks for anti social behaviour, and if you don’t want that to happen move somewhere else or stop!
It could also mean local currencies for some places, (there are over 2000 in the world overall, maybe a lot more), and it could mean local people deciding on growth or no growth.
The job of Government then would be to commission occasional big picture reviews, to draw together the ‘State of the Nation’ and keep us informed. And listen more and talk less.