Monday, 17 May 2021

Highly-paid servants

They also had about them the indescribable air of rather aggressive assurance which belongs especially to highly-paid servants, men and women.

F. Marion Crawford - The Primadonna (1907)

As we have seen over the past year, high-profile government experts tend to be like this, they have that particular brand of assurance. We don’t pay their salaries except in a very indirect and involuntary sense, so they are not our servants. Our interests are not necessarily theirs.


DiscoveredJoys said...

Quite so. Some 'professionals' who used to be held in high esteem are finding that their status is diminished. Teachers, solicitors, and bankers have all been diminished. Politicians have been a lost cause for years and journalists have lost their way.

I'll suggest that these people, including other highly-paid servants, have all been shown to have feet of clay. Pertly because their skills have been shown to be unexceptional, and partly because The State has required us to do more and more for ourselves. And perhaps because there are just too many people to make professional skills 'rare'.

Scrobs. said...

The BBC also has a plethora of experts, especially where global warming is concerned!

The expert concerned (paid eye-watering wages by us), was in fact some graduate in English, which is a sort of qualification for such a non-subject!

Sam Vega said...

Both of those bookends who flank Boris during his covid briefings could be butlers in an Ealing Comedy. If there is a concept behind the act, it is Boris as a sort of loveable tousled upper-class type with human failings, with the servants displaying practical knowledge and aplomb. That's why Cummings had to be dropped from the show. He looked more like a scruffy geography teacher who was sleeping on Boris's sofa while recovering from a breakdown.

A K Haart said...

DJ - perhaps there is also too much free information to make professional skills rare. Maybe there is also an 80/20 rule operating where 80% of any profession are mere plodders and only 20% have genuine skills.

Scrobs - I know who you mean. Doesn't grasp the science but knows how to say the right thing to the right people.

Sam - interesting. That sounds like a scenario which could have been deliberately put together with those stereotypes in mind. Familiar and comforting.