I was consulting with some experts in a hospital this morning.
That’s right, Leslie Nielsen. The details aren’t important right now. What’s important is that I wasn’t the Consultant. I feel like if you’re doing medicine stuff, it’s best that you be qualified to be doing the medicining.
For example, the neurosurgeon who did my post-stroke trephination had a glorious moustache that said he had a manly knowledge of plumbing and mechanics — useful in the field. Or, at worst, that he was a benevolent uncle. Not that I’d trust my uncles with brain surgery. And I wouldn’t necessarily trust a plumber with advanced technology outside of their field of expertise.
Now, that’s not a particularly fashionable outlook these days. The most heinous insult that could be hurled by the Leave side in the British EU referendum was the accusation that someone might be an expert. Since her elevation to Prime Minister, Theresa May has subsequently elevated a racist and congenital liar to the post of Foreign Secretary to prove her credentials as a Brexiteer.
Well, there’s a record Godwin’s Law trigger for the blog, eh readers?
Meanwhile, over in my old adopted homeland, it’s the last day of campaigning in the Presidential election. A man with no experience in any elected office is within touching distance of being elected Leader Of The Free World. And that seems to be his greatest asset in the view of roughly 48% of the population.
Now, I’m leery of being all sniffy and Islands of the North Atlantic about it. Last night I was suggesting to Mrs Stroke Bloke that it was a bit, well, not cricket that results or exit polls might be released from the East Coast before Californian polls have closed. She took the view that:
- whatever information the voters might want to have to determine their votes should be available to them;
- free speech; and
- Screw you, asshole.
On reflection, I could see the validity of a majority of her points. (But which ones? Ed.) And the inhabitants of these islands are continuing to be prickly. Our own demagogue-in-waiting is giving it the Trumpian riotin’ in the streets rhetoric and pledging to march on the Supreme Court in London with 100,000 supporters when the judges hear the government’s appeal that Theresa May should be able to trigger Article 50 by exercising the right of royal prerogative.
Now, I used to collect visits to national supreme courts on my travels around the world (Australia’s the best, btw), but even I can’t be bothered to get into the arcane bullshittery of the “UK Constitution“, such as it is, on this particular issue. Let’s, as they say, defer to the experts.
You might think that, as a recovering lawyer, my sympathies might be with the judges on this one. And you’d kind of be right. I mean, one of the Enemies of the People who heard the case at High Court level was described by the tabloids as an “openly-gay… ex-Olympic fencer”. That’s precisely the sort of person I’d like to share a alcopop and a night at Fabric with. (I’m showing my age, right?)
But then I saw this.
— Ben Page, Ipsos MORI (@benatipsosmori) November 4, 2016
At first glance, the results of this poll of how much British people trust different professions seems to be fair enough. But really, it raises more questions than answers.
- How much do we trust pollsters?
- What are the relative levels of trust in Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland, and Sting? Does it make a difference that Sting was a teacher?
- What should we make of the relative levels of trust in politicians and civil servants given the (paywalled) article in The Times by a former Cameron advisor described here? It seems that the reason that the UK government’s renegotiation of its terms of EU membership was such a fiasco was that (1) the government couldn’t figure out that in EU talks what it could get was “probably more than its (2) civil servants claim, but less than its (3) backbenchers think. I suspect that will be true of the Brexit talks as well.”
- Why isn’t Critical Legal Studies – or jurisprudence, more generally – compulsory at Standard Grade?
- What are our relative levels of trust in (a) lawyers, and (b) writers of prose fiction?
- WHY IS IT THAT ALL THE BREXITEERS WHO WANTED TO RECLAIM THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT WANT TO BYPASS IT IN THE TRIGGERING OF ARTICLE 50?
- WHY IS IT THAT ALL THE REMAINERS ARE UNITED IN INSISTING THAT THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT MUST RETAIN ITS GOD-GIVEN SOVEREIGNTY AND RIGHTS TO EXERCISE OVERSIGHT OVER THE ACTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE?
I’ve got a feeling I’m not going to like the answers to any of these questions. It’s almost like all of these experts are making it up as they’re going along in order to justify their previously-held opinions. It’s almost enough to make you wish that you were back in hospital while a Presidential campaign roils on, and you don’t even know who the President is. While the consultants and your girlfriend tell you what to do.