When you find yourself typing the words “excellent article from Iain Duncan Smith”, surely that act in itself should be enough to give you pause for thought.
Apparently not. We now live in a world where hailing the genius of Iain Duncan Smith – Iain Duncan bleedin’ Smith – is something a person might do. I know – what a time to be alive etc etc.
Those unlikely words were typed by Ruth Lea, an economist and writer who is (and the more perceptive of you can probably see this next bit coming) fervently pro-Brexit.
In the article that so enraptured Ms Lea, Mr Duncan Smith argues that we shouldn’t listen to the automotive industry’s warnings on a no-deal Brexit – the whole job-loss, economic peril gubbins – because “ employment in the industry constitutes some 0.57% of total UK employment”.
The article is well worth reading, if only to reveal that Universal Credit was only Part One of IDS’ plan to kick all hell out of the North East economy. You might disagree with it – if perhaps, you have any knowledge at all of this region – but it’s good to know where people like Mr Duncan Smith are coming from.
But I come here not to discuss Mr Duncan Smith’s idiocy, or even the downsides of Brexit.
Instead I find myself pondering just how we have got to this point, where so many apparently intelligent people actively seek out what they already believe to make themselves feel better about their unexamined views.
Why does Ruth Lea think Iain Duncan Smith knows what he’s talking about on the automotive industry rather than, say, everyone who works in it? Because he’s telling her what she wants to hear. Britain has had enough of experts, unless you can find an expert who can confirm your most halfwitted prejudice.
This attitude is not confined to Brexiteers by any means; people on my the side of that particular debate are equally guilty of seeking the facts that bolster their own beliefs and ignoring the many shortcomings of the EU.
But anyone who has worked in a business, or indeed any organisation, will know the importance of things like compromise, reasoned debate and listening in good faith if you want to achieve is to get to a good decision.
We are a country that is divided fairly equally between Remain and Leave, where – as Theresa May is finding out – any sort of middle way is pretty much impossible.
More than ever, we need to be able to see the other side, examine our own beliefs and put them to the test.
But more than ever, such actions are nowhere to be seen.
Graeme Whitfield is business editor of The Journal
Source : Chroniclelive