Saturday 3 July 2021

Right solution, wrong application

 Whether the PM really did miss Cobra meetings at the start of the pandemic in order to work on the biography of Shakespeare for which he has been promised £500,000 is as yet neither proven nor disproven. That he has no obvious academic background which would qualify him for such a task is obvious; clearly the money on offer is more to do with the publisher’s belief that the book will sell because of who wrote it rather than because of the content. It was reported yesterday that his planned approach to writing a book on a subject about which he knows little was to pay someone who really is an expert in the field to be recorded answering his questions and then rewrite the answers in his own words. According to one academic who declined the ‘opportunity’ to have his expertise presented as that of another, Johnson’s agent had claimed that “The originality and brilliance … would lie in Mr Johnson’s choice of questions to ask and in the inimitable way in which he would write up the expert answers he received”. It’s an ‘interesting’ way of describing presenting someone else’s knowledge and expertise as though it were his own.

In fairness, Johnson is actually onto something here, he’s merely applying the approach to the wrong task. Instead of outsourcing the writing of the book to someone who knew what he was talking about while Johnson got on with what is euphemistically called ‘running the country’, just imagine how much better things could have been if he’d outsourced running the country to someone who knew what he was doing whilst he got on with writing the book. It would probably not be beneficial to the quality of the book, but who cares about that?

1 comment:

dafis said...

You have struck on something quite important here, that being that people should stick to what they might be good at. Writing bullshit seems to have figured quite a bit in Boris' background. Whether the content was any good is neither here nor there. Publishers, newspapers periodicals etc flocked to pay him big bucks for churning out his thoughts, often garbled incoherent but funny at times.

Governing by bullshit is an entirely different proposition. Bad enough if one man is at it. However it has become the default style of most of his cabinet. I would have said "all of his cabinet" but being kind I suspect that at least one of his minions may have got something right on the odd occasion.