A note for Matthew Parris:
At the highest levels of our City and business world, it is not uncommon for chief executives to be appointed then dropped within a matter of months. The same goes for sport, as Steve McClaren can testify. Leadership is all about chemistry, and sometimes the chemistry just doesn\’t work. “It didn\’t gel,” can be an honest explanation beyond which it may be pointless to go.
Why should politics be different? After a dreadful week, following a dreadful month, crowning a disappointing season, Britain should be mulling over a very simple possibility: that the Prime Minister isn\’t up to the job. In the cliché of management consultancy, Gordon Brown is finding his new post more challenging than had been expected, and it may soon be time to draw a line, let him go, and move on.
There\’s a name for this. Called The Peter Principle, after Laurence J Peters who first enunciated it. Formally, it runs like this:
Everyone is promoted to their own level of incompetence.
Nothing surprising about it, nothing odd about it. People are promoted up hierarchies because they do a good job at a lower level. But doing a good job at a lower level is no assurance that the higher level tasks will also be well undertaken. And you only find out about a person\’s level of incompetence, about their inability to undertake the higher level tasks, when they have been promoted above their level of competence.
Of course, I insist that every politician is above their level of competence: what they attempt to do in micro-managing us all is not actually achievable by any group of human beings, but that\’s another matter.
But within Parris\’ argument, is Brown above his Peter Point?