Friday, January 23, 2009
Evan Davis just had a row with Gordon Brown on Radio 4's Today that massively raised my estimation of the former and lowered even further my estimation of the latter. Davis seriously got in among Brown and exposed the implausible (and, maybe, deluded, it is hard to tell if he believes his own words) nature of his position. Stripping out the noise, Brown is saying he did all the right things as Chancellor and that he can't, therefore, be blamed for this unprecedented crisis. Everything is wrong with this in detail - he helped create the conditions that will now ensure that Britain will suffer more than most and he took his economic advice solely from the City - but it's the general point that matters as it implies that, along with his City buddies, he is refusing to learn any lessons. All crises are likely to be unprecedented. Crisis A will not be the same as Crisis B and it is probable that anything resembling Crisis A is very rare indeed, if not actually unprecedented. In short, all planning for specific crises is likely to be futile. What matters is ensuring your systems are robust and complex enough to survive the crises that will come. And they will, much more often than people think, come. Crisis A may be rare, but so are Crises B to Z. Brown failed to preserve a robust system. Evan Davis exposed his economic illiteracy - and, indeed, that of the City. Go, Evan.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:28 am