Home > Mid Week Mutterings > on seeing it all again

on seeing it all again

It is a very strange world at the moment, but it has been a but strange for the last three years and those of my age have seen much of it before in one way or another. For example Covid-19 may be a new strain, but I grew up in the shadow of diseases like Polio in the fifties and then in the sixties we had, aside from the fact that we might get a 4 minute warning that we were being Nuked, things like the Hong Kong ‘flu epidemic of the latter part off that decade.

The big difference today is social media which so many seem to trust rather than genuine information and in that it has fuelled much of the panic buying that the last week or two has seen in spades. What served as Facebook in my youth was a group of Mums waiting outside the school gates (they would have walked there) or at the ‘bus stop for the school ‘bus.

The hysteria of 2020 would not have occurred forty or fifty years ago because we were different people back then, breeding the snowflake generation’s parents perhaps, but still without a quiver of the upper lip. But we have what we have and have to live with that although we still seem to learn nothing from history except that we learn nothing from history.

Since the new year I have read Tony Benn’s diaries and Andrew Marr’s excellent History off Modern Britain. The latter is twelve years or so on from publication, but should have been compulsory reading for the Remain and Leave camps, even if they only read the sections that applied to our efforts to join the Common Market. They would not have enjoyed it because it exposes so many truths that they refuted in their campaign. I, as a supporter of our effort to join despite concerns about surrendering powers, have been reminded of so much as well as  a few things that whizzed over my head at the time.

The thing about our efforts to depart from what became the EU is that the basic arguments on both sides changed little. Yes we had more on free movement this time and that was important to some, but it was a little talked about danger back in the sixties and seventies. It is also interesting how both Left and Right in both eras were split on membership and whilst some of the sides changed their stance the core issues stayed the same.

In business, as in life, things are cyclic. We centralise to become more efficient save money then decentralise to become more efficient and save money. Both work to some degree just because change has to happen to shake things up. All it takes is for one business to start to show success by changing approach and pretty much everyone else falls into line because there is a herd mentality. Sure there are always mavericks who go the opposite way and they often succeed too, but that will be more about personality than anything else.

Mother Nature is no different and applies various slash and burn tactics to regenerate, but she is far less sentimental: If leaders want to see change applied ruthlessly just take a look at the real world with its regular natural disasters and diseases down the ages. We are treated no differently to any other living organism on the planet when it comes to nature killing things off. As abhorrent as natural selection amongst humans is to us it is a fundamental part of the world that we live in.

Global warming is another cyclical event albeit on a much slower cycle. Yes we have done a lot of things that have sped this cycle up and are now racing around looking for  quick fixes to try and slow it down. There problem is that knee jerk solutions rarely work and the only times that they might help is for short term problems.

What goes around comes around and we would be better off if we looked at what we have done before in similar circumstances and evaluating how that worked, or didn’t, refining and applying it. Instead we seem to prefer reinventing the wheel and that is, perhaps, the biggest tragedy of all

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