I wonder if we have ever lived in more deluded times. Is this the new normal? Or is it simply the case that in the information age we are given a greater glimpse of how things really are, which is to say that we are daily exposed to the fact that our leaders fly by the seat of their pants, with fingers crossed and ever hopefully listening to what astrologers have to say? On the latter point, it’s not really that long ago since rulers really did call in their astrologers, and if memory serves both Reagan and Hitler found some guidance in such things. Whatever is guiding our rulers now, it seems rationality, reason and evidence is absent. Of course, all’s well that ends well because as e.g. Tony Blair once said in relation to his Iraq catastrophe, ‘I’ll answer to God.’
Wouldn’t it be fun if Theresa May took up tweeting on a Trumpian scale? At least we might get a clearer idea of the true state of her mind and how she battles with her neurosis. As things stand, the only rational explanation for her behaviour is her obsession with keeping the Nasty Party together. I wonder where she stands on the Corn Laws.
Over in the States, where in Chicago temperatures are dropping in what must feel like The Day After Tomorrow proportions, El Trumpo has declared that a bit of global warming wouldn’t go amiss, which is to say look folks, there’s no such thing. Naturally his views, being delusional, lead him to make such asymmetric pronouncements – since the Midwest drought, heatwaves, fires and other signs of climate change never result in similar expressions of intellectual vacuity.
It seems to me that around the world conditions are developing which could precipitate some immediate disasters which in the context of climate change would serve as useful distraction activities (a bit like Brexit, or another financial crash) and our rulers will simply be bereft of the mental capacity to see the wood for the trees.
Reading Why We Get The Wrong Politicians (Atlantic Books, 2018) by Spectator assistant editor Isabel Hardman I was expecting to find a hack’s cynical demolition job of politicians in line with the view expressed recently that if they – the politicians – were running a business, they’d all be sacked. But no, the book I thought was sane and evenly balanced, and from my own experience accurate in the way it portrays the creaking, dysfunctional state of UK governance. A more accurate title of the book may have been Why We Get The Politicians We Deserve – in the system we’ve got. It’s a timely book, given the current mess, but doesn’t really help us discover how we might get the right politicians. A few tweaks to our parliamentary system won’t do the job. A hugely better informed electorate just might. An engaged electorate in a mature democracy – there’s a fine thought.