Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Nowhere else to go

From Wikipedia

Most of us build our lives under a variety of influences and carry on until...
Until when?

Surely we carry on until we reach a point where there is nowhere else to go. It’s a little like the Peter Principle where people rise through an organisation until they reach their level of incompetence. I see something similar occurring where we reach our comfort zone - arriving at a personal plateau where all realistic paths now lead downhill because the uphill ones are beyond us for one reason or another. It applies to almost all of us and not just to our careers.

We attain a situation of comparative stability, comfort or maybe you could also call it stagnation if you are the glass is half-empty type. It's achievement if you are the glass half-full type.  

The idea also applies to people we conventionally see as successful, such as David Cameron, who may already have nowhere else to go unless he raises his EU game. It’s either upwards or downwards for him and we’ve seen enough of his instincts to make a guess at which is the more likely. Cameron may have reached his plateau early and if so, then that’s it for him, but opportunity beckons too. If he and his party understand these things they will tread the right path, but we'll see.  

Ed Miliband is not quite in the same boat. Whether he becomes Prime Minister or not is scarcely relevant because we’ve already seen enough of him to know what’s in store either way. Ed seems to have reached his plateau already. The pathway to Prime Minister may be there in a technical sense, but for Ed, even PM is beginning to look like a downward path because he seems to have little to offer apart from ideas that don't work. Unless he gets lucky of course – luck sometimes offers the fortunate few a free ride for a while.

Nick Clegg and his dodgy band of corduroy fascists must have been taken by surprise by their coalition success, but now they seem to have some very steep downward-sloping paths to contemplate. Good luck on that one Nick. 

In the UK, hereditary peers have been evicted from the House of Lords to create a congenial retirement club for those who know where the skeletons are hidden and don’t fancy downsizing their ambitions until the undertaker calls. Added to undemanding directorships on offer for ex-ministers and plush opportunities offered by the EU (until recently) and we can see quite how assiduously the political elite have been furnishing their personal comfort-zones for long-term occupation. Democracy and transparency don't come into it.

The plateau applies to institutions such as the BBC too, which as we all know, came of age in the fifties and sixties. The talking heads, the way it is compulsorily funded and its whole paternalistic ethos belong to another age.

We know what to expect from the Beeb, how it will report any issue and what bits it won’t report because there are many things in the real world it can’t get to grips with. It’s as dead as a Dodo with no possible way of passing itself off as suited to the digital age. Valves and wooden cabinets are where the Beeb lies entombed. It reached its plateau fifty years ago and may as well be sold off while it’s still worth something. It has nowhere else to go.


Sam Vega said...

Sort of on-message, but I saw this beautiful quote and thought of you.....

"Politicians -- more interested in their own careers than in sincere public service, ambitious to gain their personal ends, unwilling to rebuke foolish voters with harsh truth until it is too late to save them, forced to lead double lives of misleading public statements and contradictory knowledge of the facts, yielding, for the sake of popularity, to the selfish emotions, passions, and greeds of sectional groups -- contribute much to mankind's history but little to mankind's welfare."

It is from Paul Brunton, a 20th Century Western "mystic". Don't know much else about him, but I liked this a lot.

A K Haart said...

SV - I've not come across Paul Brunton, but it's a very good quote. Thanks for the pointer - it's one I'll pursue.

James Higham said...

Corduroy fascists - nice one.

A K Haart said...

JH - thanks (: