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“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” wrote Pete Townshend in the Who classic.

So how did it come to pass that more than 17 million people in the UK came to trust the promises of an already discredited group of politicians from exactly the same stable as those they accused of lying?

Wish fulfillment is the answer. People are prone to believe anything that offers to make their dreams come true. That’s what con-men have relied upon since the dawn of time.

Mostly, we have to rely upon our dream-machine (the real one, when we sleep) to deliver fulfillment of our wishes and even that – as any dreamer knows – is a complicated process of disentanglement. As my mum used to say, ‘be careful what you wish for!’

But as Julie Gurr writes on Facebook, that pales into insignificance besides the mess that our real-life dream machine, the Referendum, has wrought:

So, let me get this straight… the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him …into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they’d all done nothing to help them.

Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn’t lose, did – but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who’d always thought he’d lead next, campaigned so badly that everyone thought he was lying when he said the economy would crash – and he was, but it did, but he’s not resigned, but, like the man who lost and the man who won, also now can’t become leader. Which means the woman who quietly campaigned to stay but always said she wanted to leave may become leader instead.

Which means she holds the same view as the leader of the opposition but for opposite reasons, but her party’s view of this view is the opposite of the opposition’s. And the opposition aren’t yet opposing anything because the leader isn’t listening to his party, who aren’t listening to the country, who aren’t listening to experts or possibly paying that much attention at all. However, none of their opponents actually want to be the one to do the thing that the vote was about, so there’s not yet anything actually on the table to oppose anyway. And if no one ever does do the thing that most people asked them to do, it will be undemocratic and if any one ever does do it, it will be awful.

Clear?

And the cost of all this? It won’t come cheap.

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As a psychologist, psychotherapist and research practitioner of 40 years, I've had the benefit of the experiences of more than 100,000 people around the world. They've talked about their daily lives, hopes, fears, ambitions and needs. These experiences have helped me to contribute to innovations from Beds in Business and the Fast Track for airlines to television drama and online communities. Specialties:Large groups, facilitation, application of psychological theories to commercial issues

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