Article 84

Overview Of The Need For Knowledge To Replace Belief In Policy-Making.

At this point, I refer to an article Sherelle Jacobs, which appeared in The Daily Telegraph of 9/11/21 entitled ‘After 11 Years of Tory rule, Britain is still ruled by a hypocritical Blairite elite’ It opened with the question: ‘who really runs Britain’? ‘The Conservative Party might keep winning elections and the prevailing narrative is that incompetent Tory Bexiteers are running the country into the gutter’; but that ‘in the nation’s quangos and regulators at the top of our universities and cultural institutions, in the BBC, and in the charity sector, there is barely a conservative to be found’, that ‘after 11 years of Torry rule, a soft-Left Blairite elite remains firmly in control’; that this ‘is both scandalous and impressive’; that ‘despite the ejection of new Labour, Brexit, and the landslide election of a right-wing populist government, the balance of power rests firmly with the old guard;’ and that the evidence is everywhere’. Thus, she notes that ‘it is seemingly business as usual at the BBC where newly appointed chair Richard Sharp defends the broadcaster’s impartiality'(‘he insists that Auntie’s Brexit coverage was “incredibly balanced”), as evidence to the contrary mounts, and the public’s anger grows’; that ‘the top universities are becoming, if anything, even more confident in their virtue signalling hypocrisy’; that ‘while Oxford vows to “decolonise” its degrees, it has emerged that two of its colleges have accepted millions of pounds in donations from the Mosley family, both the colleges in question being headed by paragons of the soft-Left elite, the former BBC controller Mark Damazar and the Guardian editor Mark Rusbridger’.

In addition, she notes that ‘the Tories have made little progress in reining in the “Blob”‘; that ‘Whitehall sinks every project that insults its sensibilities’; that ‘so much for the bonfire of the quangos, in fact their spending has tripled under the Tories’, and that ‘while the Government likes to reassure its supporters that it knows these organisations are compromised by bias, it lacks the will to tackle the problem head on’; that ‘many Tories have long suspected that the parliamentary standards commissioner, Kathryn Stone, has been treating Brexiteers unfairly’; that ‘the Prime Minister retreated from battle last week as soon as he realised that it would be politically controversial’; that ‘the government has also failed to challenge the political appointments watchdog’s intervention in the recruitment process for top quango jobs’; that ‘it was reported this week that the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments blocked Tory-endorsed interview panellists for the role of BBC chairman as well as board members for the British Film Institute and the Office for Students’; that ‘this was justified on the basis that those put forward were not “independent”‘; that ‘the problem is that the power of the soft-Left establishment is even stickier than many Brexiteers imagined’; and that ‘it has rigged the system by elevating “process” to an almost spiritual status, while subjectively defining the qualities candidates need to succeed’.

Sherelle Jacobs then goes on to state that ‘these qualities include the gold-standard ideal of “objectivity” or “impartiality”, the meaning of these words having been reinvented for the post-modern era, from a commitment to logically-revealed truth to a “balanced” positioning between extremities which tends to mean a commitment to a socially liberal form of technocratic “centrism”‘; that ‘equally, since Blair, the definition of “diversity” has been restricted to refer only to professional women and ethnic minorities who conveniently tend towards a centre-Left world-view rather than greater openness to working-class laymen’; that ‘clearly, to overthrow such a regime, the Tories require an argument stronger than the need to politically “rebalance” the system’; that ‘such a weak justification leaves them open to charges of nepotism’; that ‘instead they should be exposing the lies and artifice that underpins the power of this elite, and thus opening public bodies to democratic oversight.

At this point, while failing to recognise that current democratic oversight never amounts to more than a temporary belief-consensus, she notes that ‘some headway has been made on a few fronts’; that Oliver Dowden’s move as culture secretary to set up a new new board to discuss how heritage organisations can educate the public about the past, without succumbing to the anti-statue brigade – with members including Trevor Phillips, the former director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Robert Tombs, was a cleverly balanced response to an issue that the liberal Left views through a hysterical lens’, that ‘although it was attacked by the woke industrial complex, the race report the Government commissioned which found no evidence of structural racism in this country was subversively daring’ while ‘elsewhere they have shown that they have little stomach for a real fight’; and that ‘while they are happy to lambast the BBC’s false claims to impartiality, their threatened “showdown” with the broadcaster seems unlikely to be much more than rhetorical’; that ‘meanwhile, the Conservatives who have managed to penetrate the quangos are inevitably almost always a “moderate” and usually a Remainer’; that ‘most dispiritingly, the Government seems to think it has to work within the grain of the existing system, rather than unpick its very foundations’; but that ‘it is not good enough to replace one quango with another’: as ‘O’Sullivan’s law states, institutions that are not explicitly Right-wing will tend to become Left-wing over time’.

Thus, she goes on to state that ‘they (the Government) could, for example, be seeking to give citizens a greater stake in the system’; that ‘the National Lottery Community Fund’s regional committees, which have randomly recruited people from the electoral register before vetting them for public service, could be an alternative model for deciding quango selection panels’; that members of the public could even be selected “by lot” for secondment stints in select public roles’; that ‘such a shift would have the added advantage of challenging the elite’s reverence for “specialisation” and “expertise”; and that ‘it’s a nonsense that all public roles require “expert” professionals to hold them’. She concludes by claiming that ‘the Tories cannot do nothing’; that ‘the institutional resistance of public bodies to conservative policies will only get worse over time’; that ‘leaving these bodies in the hands of the same old figures also effectively overrules the democratic rejection of the elite old guard that Brexit embodied’; and that ‘the public will not put up indefinitely with being ruled by a professional elite that does not see the world like them. However, I contend that the public has no more knowledge (as differentiated from belief) as to what to do than have the politicians, their selected officials, or indeed, the media commentators.

Nonetheless, I commend Sherelle Jacobs for her analysis of the reasons for current Governmental failures to do anything useful. However, she cannot rely on any alternative Governmental party to do any better unless their respective electoral supporters force them to replace party-specific beliefs with available and relevant knowledge capable of delivering their respective party-specific knowledge-only futures, while recognising where and why such knowledge is not yet available, and while recognising that the necessary knowledge/belief differentiation is recognisable as set out in this website and in my print-on-demand book of 2010, The Rational Trinity: Imagination, Belief and Knowledge, available from Amazon and Bookshops.

At this stage of this website, I note that in the absence of any cause-effect knowledge in support of the belief in anthropogenic global warming, COP 26 was able to reach agreement only on phasing down coal combustion by 2070 rather than phasing it out by 2050 as proposed by the belief-only environmentalist lobby; that even this set back, of itself, is unlikely to alter existing belief-only, and thus unrealistic plans, for massive expenditure to avoid all future reliance on fossil fuel combustion; and that consequently the need to replace belief with knowledge in all future policy-making is becoming ever more pressing. 21/11/21.

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