Time to stop being a-political

I was brought up to believe that it is desirable in professional life to keep my political opinions to myself. This probably came from my father who was an accountant, who knew that if he was to get and keep business he needed to remain on good terms with those who contracted his services, no matter what their political views were. It was then further reinforced by my time as a teacher, believing that the teacher's job is to help young people understand there is more than one side to an argument and that they should learn to think through arguments from the other party's viewpoint as well as their own.

There is also the issue of resisting propagating opinions from a position of ignorance. To have proper insight into many political issues it is necessary to have some in-depth knowledge, which is why I worry about all those young political advisers who seem to pontificate and influence policy from a position of very poor knowledge and very little experience. Knowledge does come with age, when you have lived through the swings and roundabouts of different approaches, so at 69 I think I can now seriously claim some pretty deep knowledge on the major political issues. And I no longer have to worry too much about upsetting people I don't know as I am no longer trying to sell my services to them.

So here goes. Blogs on political issues start here.

The main trigger is the seriousness of the issues we face as a world and the paucity of good debate on them. It seems as though the world has got so complicated and everyone is having to pedal so fast to earn a living, and to keep up with the developments in life that buffet us all, that many have lost the capacity for deep thought and reasoning. Too many people are looking for easy solutions and instant gratifications. But it is these that keep swinging us from left to right politically and which allow the underlying trends to go un-noticed as they build up the problems. Those pushing those trends do so for their own often selfish reasons while the rest of us fail to notice the elephants in the room which are growing.

I much admire Peter Schwarz. Try this presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiLHfyX3u9w . His book Inevitable Surprises introduced me to the need to see the underlying trends that are building up to cause us problems. It is interesting in the presentation to hear him talk about this as being a deficit of leadership, and that probably the key reason most leaders are in denial about the really important issues is that if they recognise them they will have to start changing what they do in fundamental ways. A favourite Einstein quote is his definition of madness as continuing to do things in the same way while expecting a different outcome. The politicians claim they can give us different outcomes, but they are all behaving in fundamentally the same ways because they are using the same - in many cases broken - approaches. You can see this in how they approach finance, foreign policy, domestic policies such as housing and transport, education and probably most strongly in the UK at the moment - health policy.

I think that's why all politicians look pretty much the same and people can't choose between them. And why people are fed up with the promises because nothing seems to change in way except at the margins.

So expect a series of blogs on these kind of issues. I have no doubt that our UK general election will over the next seven weeks provide me with plenty of stimuli to take to the keyboard.