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We’re fucked, aren’t we?

OK, this is a specific Q elsewhere, but the answer is more general:

how likely is sensible generic thinking, in advance, within HMG?

10 thoughts on “We’re fucked, aren’t we?”

  1. I must admit I’ve always thought HMG was quite rational and sensible in thinking that the attempt by an advanced industrialised state like the 2nd Reich to build a navy that outmatched Britains’ was dangerous.

    Thus a naval race to outbuild them and attempts to snuggle up to their enemies were perfectly rational. Of course this did lead to WW1.

    Errr. Ummmmm. Is sensible generic thinking possible at all??

  2. You can only think with respect to particular circumstances. There is no “generic thinking” skills. That is why experts in one area are no better than novices in another. And why what works once doesn’t always work the next time, because circumstances are ever so slightly different.

    There’s also a very strong bias to recognising only the failures, and often then only in hindsight. We generally do not notice the successful things governments do, and we often enough don’t recognise the failures while they are happening.

    Not that I’m a big fan of government, and certainly not big government, but they do get some things right, even if only by accident.

  3. That’s what Dominic Cummings was trying to achieve by recruiting a group of “oddball” people to come up with solutions to the big problems. Unfortunately too many other people have a vested interest as the solution to the problem likely included removing their jobs.

  4. Right, calmed down now.

    The problem is that bureaucrats in Germanic countries insist on making regulations achieve their maximum effect. The idea being, I guess, is that if a regulation does everything at the start, then it doesn’t have to be revised/extended later.
    Ministers do not have the time/inclinations/intelligence to review their bureaucrats’ proposals.
    Christopher Booker ( of blessed memory ) discovered this and realised that EU directives were being interpreted by British officials at their ultimate limit.
    The situation is made worse in the UK because in many departments civil servants are mandatorily moved around every three years. This means that the frightfully clever chap in the Department of Office Fastenings ( Paper clips ) now works in Office Fastenings ( Staples ) and no longers cares or is responsible for the unintended consequences that stated in regulation OF(PC) 2020/4378 that paper clips should henceforth be made out of depleted uranium.
    Because Parliament actually does not function as it should ( individuals elected by a constituency who just happen to be in a party ) wrong headed policy is passed without proper scrutiny along whipped party lines or if it is scrutinised ( especially by the Lords), then amendments are made out of naked political point scoring.

    I am not sure if there ever was a “Golden Age” of Parliamentary individualism. Perhaps before 1906 ?

    So the situation is screwed and almost always has been.

  5. AndyF,

    The problem with Dominic Cummings is that he believes that government can be fixed, improved. And it can’t because all the incentives are wrong. I mean, he’s all using AI and shit, but government frequently fails at delivering mainstream software of the sort that has been going on for 30+ years.

    The root cause of the problem is that voters take little interest in government. They vote for even more of it, suckered into the promises of incompetents that they feel will benefit them, when ultimately the only winners are the blob. When it comes time to pay for all of this they then whine about it, as if someone else was going to pick up the bill.

  6. The question assumes there is any thinking in HMG in the first place. The Fakedemic, Net Zero provides evidence to the contrary.

  7. There is an increasing % of the population that doesn’t care about government as long as the welfare money keeps rolling in and the state takes responsibility for their poor life decisions and the impact on their off spring. They all have a vote

    Politicians have to pander to that to get elected. In the past the civil service was a bulwark against politicians feeding this tendency

    Since Blair the civil service is full of the same people doing as little as possible while extorting as much money in unearned pay rises as possible. This permeates private business as well, it’s why nothing seems to work and you cannot get hold of anyone to fix it

    There is a middle class of well educated fundamentally useless and indolent people enabling and sustaining, even promoting, this tendency. They even have time to go and protest against anyone trying to maintain a thin veneer of sanity

    I’m not sure one ‘B’ Ark will be large enough

  8. The Meissen Bison

    I was hoping that the comments would give me an idea of what Tim meant by how likely is sensible generic thinking, in advance, within HMG?

    Never mind.

    The problem with Dominic Cummings, BoM4, is that he thinks that models are the answer and not the London Fashion Week type where they may indeed be the answer depending on the question.

    He, Cummings, pushed the Neil Ferguson/ Imperial forecasts of doom and arguably enabled the repulsive Hancock and Gove to bugger up our world.

  9. Nut Zero provides conclusive proof (if it were needed) that there’s nobody in the whole of Westminster or Whitehall with a GCSE in a STEM subject and the ability to use a calculator. They’ve also lumbered us with HS2, a project that makes the Tanganyika groundnut scheme look like a recipe for success.

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