Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

PITY THE POLITICIAN

That must seem an odd exhortation in an age where most politicians are regarded as self-seeking and greedy and bereft of principles. But two current issues inspire me to sympathise with them and feel that they have a near-impossible task.  The European Economy is one of them. The experts disagree about what should be done: nobody knows for certain. Yet the person at the top – Cameron or Hollande or Merkel or whoever must appear to have a strategy and appear to believe in it. If the expert advice changes the very next day, the person at the top must accommodate that without seeming to be a mindless weathercock. And that person has a host of other issues to deal with at the same time.

I am reminded of the order to his cabinet allegedly issued by Lord Melbourne. “Now is it to lower the price of corn, or isn’t it? It is not much matter which we say, but mind, we must all say the same.” He put a high value on consistency and united implementation.

It is beyond dispute that the best solution to a problem should be sought, but there may be cases when courageous adherence to a policy – even where it is imperfect – proves to be better than vacillation. At least people can understand what is intended and make it work to the best of their ability.

Another problem for the person at he top is “What should I be looking at?” The British Prime Minister has to delegate authority, appointing a range of Ministers, and he can only choose from the members of his own party. How can he be sure that one of them has not overlooked a danger? Recently Cameron has been quoted as admitting that certain health reforms were the biggest mistake he has made in government.

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