Vision not Villains

The UK has an election coming up, across Europe right wing groups are protesting and the pace of technological change is accelerating exponentially. We have been beguiled by the changes of the last 20 years. This has meant that everyone, particularly our politicians have stopped offering us a vision of the future. No-one wants to be made to look a fool by doing so. That isn’t good enough. Without a coherent vision of the future it is impossible to feel anything other than disillusioned with politics.

During the coming election the one thing we need to do is force all political candidates to be in the “future business”.

A major character fault of mine is that I tend to see human agency where there is none. I look for external human agency when in fact the actual culprit is me. The classic one is that I put something away, and forget that I ever tidied it up. I think that either my wife has moved it or that it has been taken by someone. In the end the missing item shows up months later at some unexpected point.

Recently I have been using my computer to keep track of things. Hayley asked me if I could help her and try and remember what foods I had used up, I knew that this would be a big problem for me. Luckily I knew how to make this problem go away. I need a tick list, so that when I used the last of the butter, all I have to do is tick it off.

The next problem was where to locate a list of all the food items that we use. I knew exactly where to find such a list: Google. As a result it was really easy for me to “systematize” our shopping list using some very common computer packages, two minutes of googling and a table drawn up in MS Word.

The attached table has made our online food order much easier. I printed the table off and laminated it. We stuck it to the fridge and we cross items off with a board marker when they get finished, or we are on our last pack. If something isn’t on the table, then we just write it in the margin. As the most common items are in the table, there are never more than a few exceptions so this system works great.

What does my OCD have to do with the UK general election? The point is that information technology has permeated even the most mundane aspects of our life. Including my battle leave a supermarket with what i need and not a load of other stuff.

The most important economic issue of the last 20 years has been technology. I don’t see any reason to think that this wouldn’t be the case in the next ten years. Which is why it is totally unacceptable that our politicians dodge this issue: They need to tell us what the future holds and how we can set society up to handle what is coming. It’s not an easy job, but it is their job.

The reality is that we all like story’s that have a villain. UKIP and people like them in the past offer an obvious human agent. They are blaming migrants for our problems.

Have you heard the one about the Banker the Rumanian, the Dailey Mail Reader and the packet of biscuits? ‘There is a packet of 12 biscuits, the banker leans over and grabs 11 of the twelve biscuits. He looks at the Dailey Mail reader and says: “you better watch that Rumanian: he is eyeing up your biscuit.”’

The banker is also another mythical villain. He isn’t real. At least people like him are probably less prevalent and 2 dimensional than the debate may lead us to believe.

We have a level of complexity in our society that most if not all of us can’t handle. When things go wrong we want to thump someone; be that someone who didn’t grow up on your street or anyone with more money than you.

Whilst those things might make you feel good: The guy who says: “I would put the bad guy in the stocks” is selling you a pup: The profile of the villain we are looking for is mythical. We may as well have a show-trial and put the Disney villain Ja’far in the dock. It will take the whole of the next parliament to find anyone who fits the bill, oh and we still won’t have a coherent vision of how the world is changing and what we need to do about it.

My butter wasn’t stolen by a Romanian or a banker: I forgot to order it because I was riffling around the infinite labyrinth of my laptop looking for an invoice I didn’t file properly.

Romanians didn’t steel British Jobs: From what I can see, about 50% of the till staffs in the supermarket are now robots. I have only taken cash out at the bank over the counter on a couple of occasions in my life; there is rarely a human teller involved. I didn’t even need to type this Blog: I can dictates it into my machine will type it all down with near perfect accuracy. So if working class voters are worried about Romanians they shouldn’t be. They should be thinking more about the flood of  office workers who will be displaced by robots and will need to find work in the trades.

The world is changing and we need politicians that have a clear, coherent ideas about: what, how and when those changes are going to take place: If they can’t tell us that story first: then they don’t deserve our vote.