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Sunday, 24 January 2010

Brilliance disguised as ineptitude?

I am doing some advisory work for a business that is being taken over, although my work is nothing to do with the takeover and I will be long gone before it completes, but I get to see some of what is going on. The acquiring company has a method of communicating with the acquiree's staff which is either incredibly incompetent or a masterstroke in subterfuge.

The "timetable" for what the two parties call "transition" (a polite word for shafting half of the staff) is presented at staff meetings as an incredibly compact and unreadable slide which is accompanied by the words "I won't go into all the details here, but you can download electronic copies later", which of course the staff rarely do, and most of those that do never look down at the bottom right hand corner of the chart which tells them when they find out if they still have a means to pay their mortgage.

I am still trying to work out whether this was deliberate or just plain incompetence.

But I was struck by the same thought today when I heard Bob Ainsworth mention the likely date of the next General Election on the Andrew Marr Show. With a slight hesitation in his voice (as though he was struggling to remember his lines), Ainsworth said that voters might regret voting Conservative if they did so on May 6th.

OK, first thought is that this is just bumbling fool Ainsworth who can't be trusted to keep a secret. But the second thought is, well that is probably what Mandelson and Brown want you to think, so they got Ainsworth to say it.

But that means Mandelson and Brown want you to think that the the current government would be more competent than the alternative, so that, for example, we can trust the Secretary of State for Defence with military secrets.

Which of course we can't if it turns out that the election will be on May 6th. But if the election is on another day, Ainsworth will have done his job brilliantly.


Demetrius said...

But a few minutes after they fixed up BOB Ainsworth Mandy Brown had a phone call and changed his mind forgetting to tell Bob. When they had then thought for a few minutes they had an e-mail and another change of mind. Jack came in with some information from a man in a pub that caused a rethink. Then Alastair had been given some figures that caused a panic. Then someone said Harriet was pregant, but got the wrong Harriet. So it is all up in the air again.

Bill Bell said...

I don't see the problem (or the relevance of this little analogy).

Alex said...

"I don't see the problem (or the relevance of this little analogy)."

80% of the world are barely competent at what they do; 2% are brilliant.

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether what appears to be incompetence is actually disguised brilliance.

The King of Wrong said...

That's the reason that I picked May 6th in a report last August - Labour can't afford to run two election campaigns a month or so apart. They're practically insolvent as it is!

The other likely dates are June (Brown dithering to the last possible moment) or late March/early April (to avoid having to give a budget, and before people notice that their paycheques are a bit lighter after the tax year 10/11 starts and the extra NI kicks in).

Bill Bell said...


I think you may be thinking more (or less!) of our great leader than he deserves credit for.

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