Let me take you back to your childhood, to the days when there were still ‘grown-ups’. These ‘grown-ups’ were initially like gods: when you were 3 or 4 they were simply always right because the were ‘grown-ups’. Later, at 7 or 8, you might well have become a little more rebellious, or not, but you usually felt rather overawed by these ‘grown-ups’. In those days, too, people of 17 and 18 were quite simply ancient and could quite easily be put in the same category as the ‘grown-ups’. (These days, I find I can’t even treat men and women in their late teens and early twenties as though they have much of a clue of what’s going on, and even feel ever-so-slightly guilty if I find a woman of 19 or 20 sexually attractive, knowing just how emotionally vulnerable she still is. But, ssh, don’t tell anyone, especially not anyone in their late teens and early twenties, who do so like to think they have reached the winning line.)
The point about ‘grown-ups’ were, among other things, was that if something went wrong, a ‘grown-up’ could sort it out and there was an end to the matter. ‘Grown-ups’ were seemingly all-powerful. Naturally, as we get over, we wise up. As I have told my two children over and over again since they were quite young, in many ways ‘grown-ups’ are just older children: they, too, squabble and bicker and lie to each other in just the same way as children do, but unfortunately they are not amenable to the same kind of sanctions. (As recently as three years ago, when my daughter was, 13, she misbehaved and I ordered her to ‘go to your room, now!’ And off she went, admittedly protesting, and meekly stayed there for the next ten minutes until I came upstairs to tell her ‘not to do it again’ and ‘you can go downstairs now, if you like’. I could not believe I got away with it.)
I also tell them that when ‘grown-ups’ squabble, bicker and lie to each other in it far more serious than when children do it, because they know better.
But although we wise up, aspects of that attitude still remain with us. So, for example, we have what can only be described as a naive belief that those engaged in the law and medicine know what they are talking about, and crucially, more than we do. To a certain extent that’s true, but at the end of the day a lawyer and doctor can only give you his or her informed opinion, one based on extra training and experience. But it can still be a bloody awful opinion, and of you get more than three or four lawyers or doctors together and present them with the same problem, you will get at least three or four opinions and, unhelpfully, at least two will contradict each other totally.
Then there are the ‘money men’, the big businessmen, our politicians and others of that ilk. Most certainly we all wise up in time and realise that not only do a great many of them have feet of clay but their brains are also exceptionally suspect, but such realisation does come rather later in life than would be sensible. And that brings me to my favourite topic: the euro crisis.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, lads and lasses: we all assume that at the end of the day our politicians and their advisers know what they are doing, however obscure and daft it might seem to us. We tell ourselves that if we can’t quite follow the logic of it all, it is our fault for not being bright enough or lacking a sufficiently knowledge about certain matters.
But have none of it: they haven’t a bloody clue. And those who DO have a clue, simply haven’t the backbone to do what they know to be the right thing. It’s politically impossible, they say, so instead they almost willingly lead not just Europe but the rest of the world into an economic depression the like of which none of us has seen in his or her lifetime.