Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Article by Tim Pope FCA for Brexit Watch dated 27.08.20
HENRY FORD was a pioneer and revolutionary industrialist. He changed our world. He did it by rigorous thought and analysis of how to do things more efficiently and so deliver quality cheaply. Perhaps it is no wonder that he said;
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few people engage in it”.
In Theodore Roosevelt’s opinion, “The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often and in the loudest voice”.
Put these quotes together and you can see that trouble starts when politicians are shouting loudly to the unthinking segment of the population given to accepting things without question, without challenge .
In Brexit we have a prime example. Contrary to Remainer opinion, Brexiteers did think and did know what they voted for and proved to be in the majority. Politicians and the organs of ‘the Establishment’ failed to recognise them and shouted loudly at them in the hope of leading them in the opposite direction. They lost but Brexit has been in trouble ever since.
The credibility of politicians as well as of the major organs of our democracy such as the mainstream media are essential ingredients if people are to have confidence in our society and the direction it takes. This should mean they are closely in tune with what the majority of the population thinks and believes. Granted there may be views held by very large numbers of people that also need to be considered. Minority views should be respected and debated. They should not be allowed to overturn or neutralise majority opinion unless they persuade the majority to change.
The greatest protection of our democracy is to have a thinking population able to use their voice in free and meaningful elections that will closely connect government with the people. That is why regaining our sovereignty by a clean Brexit that cuts away the fetters of the EU and its undemocratic force is so important. However, a thinking population makes life more difficult for politicians and the media. Much easier if they can tell the population what they should believe and the people swallow it whole without chewing it over and spitting it out because it does not stand up to rigorous thinking. Examples?
The Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement. Trumpeted as a triumph but rigorous analysis shows it to be just as bad as Mrs May’s. The people did not think but accepted the rejoicing of the politicians backed up by the media. Now the government is struggling to climb out of the hole. It is disingenuous in the extreme for the Eurosceptic group of Conservative MPs now to express surprise about the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement they supported. If they are surprised they must plead guilty of dereliction of duty.
Apology for our history and those who made it. We are what we are today as a most tolerant and forgiving nation precisely because we have learned from the lessons of our history. There is nobody today who has been disadvantaged by that past history. Quite the reverse. Pandering to vocal pressure groups whose underlying purpose is to make false assertions to undermine our society is not smart thinking and serves their purpose beautifully. Looking at very many of the countries of ethnic origin of many people in the UK today, it is surely hard to make the case that if history could be undone, they would be better off there.
Free speech. A maligned concept now and made so by politicians and the media because to destroy it is to make them more powerful and promote them to be the arbiters of how we must think. Erosion of free speech shatters the bedrock on which liberty is founded. Free speech is never a concept designed to be comfortable to all. It entails a right to give offence and places a responsibility on those who might take it to rise to the challenge of debate rather than try to destroy the opportunity for debate. If our history had not included free speech that eventually overturned established thinking through debate and argument that many found offensive, we would be a much nastier country.
It is probable that slavery would have continued, women would not have the vote and Catholics would not have been granted emancipation. The great campaigns for social progress would have been stifled at birth.
Serious objection to full stops because younger people find ending a sentence with one comes across as ‘sort of abrupt and unfriendly’ is an example of free speech. It should have been met by a chorus of laughter and telling younger people to appreciate the essentials of communication rather than to render the written word non sensical. Not a word from our politicians. The young must be pandered to rather than educated.
The furore over exam results. A careful analysis demonstrates that the root cause of the problem is teachers who put forward substantially inflated grade estimates and head teachers who did nothing to moderate this. Ofqual then completely failed to remedy this failure and promptly compounded the problem. The teachers needed to be taken to task and the problem but back on their shoulders to correct.
Obesity through bad eating habits. A health problem that doctors have not been allowed to confront patients with because it might be seen as offensive. The consequence is a distortion of the truth that individuals must take responsibility for their eating habits. The result is a huge cost to the public purse through funding the NHS and misdirected action.
Government action on the Covid 19 Chinese virus. Anybody choosing to travel abroad has known there is a risk they might be caught up in travel restrictions including quarantine. The Government is worried about a second wave and yet gives 3 days notice for travellers from Covid hotspot countries to return to the UK and bring infection back with them. Why? It can only be because they are worried about being criticised for making life difficult. They are not prepared to confront the traveller with the awkward truth of their self-inflicted problem and the rest of us will be stuck with the consequences.
These are all examples of censoring of truth that distorts reality and manipulates and weakens our society rather than strengthens it. There are countless other examples.
Where are our politicians who will confront such a destructive malaise in our midst and where is the support that should come from a responsible media? Sadly they have all gone missing in action or even connive in the advancement of these destructive forces. This climate is not good news for a healthy Brexit and the future of our society.
As that renowned 18th century thinker Edmund Burke is attributed as saying;
And a corollary to this;
“All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing.”
Good men and women there may be but it seems most are happy to do nothing. Trouble afoot Holmes!!
Tim Pope FCA is a retired risk management partner of a leading international professional services network.
Here is the link to his article:
Here is a link to more of Tim Pope’s articles in our Dropbox