UK’s next Prime Minister? – Political authenticity and its impact on society and elections

Introducing the next UK Prime Minister?

In the last few weeks, my two daughters have started to talk about Jacob Rees-Mogg and follow him on Twitter for a bit of a laugh. I am not sure that they have looked into his politics too closely, but he is getting what his Twitter fan club calls “Moggmentum”. This slightly amazed me, because I thought a posh, Oxford-educated, Catholic, Euro-sceptic, old Etonian who historically opposed gay marriage was not exactly what the doctor ordered in the current politically correct world. But start to think of him as the absolute opposite of Donald, and maybe it makes sense. The interview below is not for the fainthearted, it’s about as politically incorrect as it gets from the Ali G side of the fence, so be warned.

Although the footage is old, it does demonstrate a young Jacob Rees-Mogg doing a reasonable job of holding off one of the world’s greatest pranksters. It also goes some way to explain why this clip has recently had 175,000 hits on Facebook despite the footage being years old.

The odds on Rees-Mogg being the next Prime Minister have been slashed to 4-to-1, and the posh father of six’s moggmentum in the polls comes from the young and old. I’m not a fan of many of his policies, but what does that have to to with popularity in politics these days? What fascinates me is what being authentic in a world of scripted politics can do for your popularity.

If you can be bothered, have a read of the article I have written below, which I think contains a couple of interesting ideas.

Have a good laugh and a good weekend,

Fat Gladiator

 

 

 

 

The credibility gap 

The biggest problem currently facing the world is not the standard of public health services, the grotesque inequality that exists in society, or even the somewhat terrifying geopolitical risks facing the world, it is the quality of politicians we entrust to run our countries and address these issues on our behalf. The logic is simple, without world-class talent running a country, how can we attempt to fix the vastly complex problems listed above?

Symptoms versus cause

The meteoric rises of President Trump in the US, Emmanuel Macron in France, or Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, have two simple root causes.

Firstly, the deflationary impact of technology over the past decade has eroded real incomes for the middle- to lower-class. In practical terms, this means that people have been working harder for less, and it is quite natural that they blame the incumbents who oversaw the decline in living standards.

Secondly, a disenfranchised electorate has become so disillusioned with the authenticity of candidates across all parties, that they now feel compelled to disrupt the status quo no matter how great the pain.

Business versus politics 

If one thinks of countries as socially-conscious businesses looking to maximise their tax take to help society’s most disadvantaged and our politicians as untrained CEO’s placed at the helm of their state or constituency, then it’s easy to see the absurdity of the situation.

It is almost inconceivable that we require stringent training of our doctors, nurses teachers, lawyers and even football coaches, but expect our politicians to be fit for the complexities of running the country with “on-the-job training”.

Maybe if the UK’s MPs had been trained in risk and compliance, two thirds of them might not have transcended the parliamentary rules in the Commons expense scandal several years ago?

The unelected adviser

Due to a poor fundamental grasp of so many deeply complex situations, and being moved from job to job, our politicians have become too heavily dependent on unelected advisers. This causes further trauma with the electorate, which wants politicians to be fluent in their understanding of situations and have conviction in their own beliefs; most sound-scripted politics have become a breeding ground for electoral disaffection.

I would argue strongly that recent political results suggest voters treasure authenticity almost as highly as their own political beliefs. This goes some way to explaining the Trump effect. You may violently disagree with his politics and his behaviour, but somehow people became enchanted by his authenticity, not his politics.

It has been obvious for years that since the modern media became so incredibly intrusive, our most talented members of society shy away from politics and for good reason.

It’s time to come up with some really big ideas to help lift the quality and training of the people in power, for without inspirational leadership almost any cause is lost. Here are a couple of my ideas to help drag politics out of the abyss.

Political academies 

Holding politicians to the standards they hold for others

Let’s create cross-party political academies whose sole purpose is to train politicians from an apprenticeship level and throughout their careers. We should use public money to recruit, train and educate people from all backgrounds and political beliefs so that they learn the skills necessary to do the job. Where possible, let’s expose them to scientific and economic case studies underpinning their own beliefs so that they can better scrutinise the basis of their political foundations.

These institutions should be set on modernising politics and teaching both incoming and existing politicians about automation, gene sequencing, the environment, foreign affairs, economics, disruption and numerous other different subjects.

Students could graduate and specialise with recognised qualifications and, most importantly, reinforce their knowledge with regular and relevant maintenance courses over the duration of their careers in a rapidly-changing world.

If you study medicine, you very often go on to specialise. It’s unusual to see a brain surgeon being given the job as Head of Oncology, and yet with politics that is exactly what happens. Under the current system, the finance minister of any country could be innumerate, they can then be moved on to run foreign affairs. Put simply, our politicians are not immune to the same laws that govern every single student, teacher, lawyer, nurse and business – they need constant and continual training.

Independent healthcare 

Finally, let’s deweaponise healthcare so that politicians can’t use people’s health as a campaign differentiator. If central banks can be given their independence to stop interest rates being used for political purposes, then why can’t we do something similar with healthcare?

Healthcare policy should be run by a cross-party body with experts in genomics, liquid biopsy, gene editing, AI, telemedicine, finance and a representative body of healthcare experts and employees. Budgets would be set at a percentage of GDP and the institution given autonomy in the same way as central banks. This would achieve two potentially important things.

Firstly,  it would stop politics descending into the abyss during campaigns, which protects both the elected and the electorate, and secondly, it would be fit for purpose in the rapidly-evolving world of healthcare.

Unlike many, I believe that our current crop of politicians are exceptionally well-intentioned people who really wish to make a difference. I also believe that they are set up to fail, due to a lack of structure in recruitment and training.

What better use of public- or privately-donated funds than to invest in the people who run the country, by applying the same philosophy to them as they wish to apply to others when it comes to education, training and apprenticeships?

 

Photo sharing

For the Fat Gladiator blog this week I thought I would publish some of the pictures that people have been kind enough to send me over the previous weeks.

Best marketing campaign

 

On politics

 

About Brexit

On Roger Federer’s historic triumph

 

On the birth of a new family member

 

Have a great weekend,

Fat Gladiator

 

 

Love Island special

Love Island special

As promised last week, I want to explain why I think Love Island has done for reality television what George Clooney did for tequila. For those unlucky enough not to have watched the show, Love Island can be described as follows.

The show’s producers hire a luxury villa and populate the premises with six incredibly beautiful women and six extraordinarily-handsome men who have a combined 12 GCSE passes between them.

Now, here is the cleaver bit, those 12 GCSE passes are shared entirely between two girls in the house called Amber and Montana who have six each. The remaining members of the house, because they struggle with basic English, have invented an entire language of their own, which is extremely resourceful.

Source: ITV

Some examples of Love Island language:

  • To graft – To work hard to make someone you find physically attractive like you so that they can be unfaithful several days later.
  • To be mugged or pied off – To be rejected or denied access to someone you find physically attractive, so that after you have slept with almost everyone in the house, they can be reintroduced into the villa for one final fly past.
  • To stick one on someone – I believe this to be the act of procreation.
  • To banter or “are you bantering me?” – To wind someone up intentionally or talk so inarticulately that no one in Western civilisation has a clue what you are talking about.

So why have I watched every episode?

There are many reasons. Yes, I have enjoyed learning an entirely new language, and the girls are pretty, but I genuinely believe that many of the ladies in the house will be around for a long time to come, although this is mainly because parts of them are simply not biodegradable.

I also enjoy being able to share the experience with my kids. Whether it’s skiing, horse riding or watching Love Island together, the programme offers a small window to their world. So now when the children get pied off by someone they tried to stick it on I can give ‘em good bants.

Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, the programme has the ability make me feel incredibly physically inadequate and intellectually brilliant simultaneously – the best-looking guy in the show, known as “Muggy Mike”, makes me feel like Albert Einstein and Pee-wee Herman rolled into one. However, because I feel confident he has reached peak IQ, I take some consolation in knowing that his looks may fade before I become more stupid, and this makes me happy.

Finally, when grown adults mispronounce words it can be genuinely funny. I learnt this lesson many years ago in the City, where I had the pleasure to work with some particularly inarticulate people who also used to get their words wrong.

I remember a client once saying that he had found out some information because he had “The ears of a hawk”. I also had a colleague in New York who would frequently get the words “incensed” and “incest” mixed up, which led to some interesting conversations between the two of us. Maybe my favourite of all time was the same guy constructing a word that sounded so realistic I spent a week asking people if it really existed.

He said: “I was down the social security the other day and there was an enormous line of “Pakistinians” so I didn’t have time to get my social security number and will have to try again another time.

Anyway, if you like words being mispronounced by reality TV stars, don’t be spectacle about Love Island, tune in – there is still another week to go.

Have a great weekend,

Fat Gladiator

Tequila special

A big shout out to George Clooney for selling his tequila brand two weeks ago for a billion dollars. It’s about time the guy caught a lucky break, being born ugly and irrelevant must have been difficult to take, so I for one am super happy he has finally had some good fortune. Also, let’s not forget his best mate and business partner, Randy Gerber, who has had to tolerate being married to Cindy Crawford all these years. Randy and Cindy now have two kids (who are also both professional models) so I am sure the spare $300m will come in handy.

Why is Tequila on the up?

I was first hospitalised by tequila at 21 years of age when staying on the campus of UCLA over the summer. In our student wisdom, we decided to have a tequila slammer party and invite the entire campus to a small house capable of holding up to 20 people comfortably but no more. This is when I first found out that UCLA has its own independent police force, which I must admit I wasn’t expecting.

I don’t wish to say that much about events that evening other than there was a collision between my hand and a window, which resulted in my admission to UCLA’s local medical facility. Even though I was somewhat worse for wear, I remember the conversation with the registrar as if it were yesterday.

RegistrarName?

MeNicholas Finegold

RegistrarSocial security number?

Me I thought I was doing well remembering my name, I have absolutely no idea!

RegistrarWould you like to express a religious preference, Mr Finegold?

MeYes, I would, Roman Catholic! Now would you please stop asking me questions and sew my hand up?

Registrar I am very sorry no one can be treated until their details are entered in the system. How did the injury occur?

MeI was dancing, stumbled and my hand went through the window as I tried to right myself (this was a lie) and before you ask, we were playing Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, I am Gemini, support Queens Park Rangers, and my mother’s maiden name is Cohen, put that in your system.

RegistrarNo need to be rude. Where are you from, please?

MeThe rough part of Hampstead in the UK.

Yes, I know I was being rude, but I was drunk and losing quite a lot of blood, so as far as I was concerned, I was shortly to pass to the other side and felt it was my last throw of the dice.

RegistrarOk Mr, Finegold, the doctor will see you now.

Ten stitches later and without the need for any anaesthetic (I kid you not) I was sent home and was unable to drink tequila for the next 25 years. Just the smell of it made me start to feel ill.

That is until Mr Clooney and Randy decided to take tequila, upmarket. Gone is the vile smell and terrible after burn and with it the need for stupidity.

His tequila brand, Casamigos (if you have never tried it), is an absolute miracle. We call it MIMVOL in our family, which stands for maximum impact, minimal volume. This means that when more advanced in years, you can get where you need to go on the happiness scale quite quickly without any need for what the Americans term a “comfort break”.

No need for lemon, salt and idiotic tequila behaviour, just sip slowly as it tastes good and after only three shots you start to think your jokes funny again, that’s how good it is!

From a hangover perspective, if you don’t mix, and drink water separately alongside it, you will be fine the next day.

Drink it before a dinner party you’re not expecting to enjoy and the evening simply flies by, it’s also an absolute essential for charity functions, bar mitzvahs, and weddings where you know absolutely no one.

In fact, it’s so good I think I am going to set Casamigos the ultimate test and bring some to QPR next season. There is another brand I use as well called Ocho 8, which is sensational for when your mother-in-law or close family members stop by unexpectedly.

Anyway, there are really good reasons why the Casamigos brand sold for a billion dollars and became the fastest selling premium drink of all time, so give it a go, as tequila is no longer the preserve of frat parties and students.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend, and next week I will explain why Love Island has done for reality television what George Clooney did for tequila.

Fat Gladiator

Youthful energy – Tax – NHS – War on Terror

Youthful energy

Last week we celebrated my daughters 21st birthday. The party was packed with her young friends who danced until 7am and then started a second party around the swimming pool lasting the whole day. The last guest left on Sunday at lunchtime and the party had started Friday night!

The sheer energy of youth just amazed me, and I spent most of the week thinking about how I would try and engage young people if I was Prime Minister. I am writing this blog for my own children’s sake to try and simplify politics as they approach voting age.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Conservative Party has deservedly lost the vast majority of young British voters and that if nothing is done, will eventually lose an election based on the demographic fact that with every passing year more young people come of voting age while the current base of Conservative supporters grows ever older.

Grandmother and granddaughter may view politics very differently

So here is how I see the landscape on tax and health – the two monster issues in any political campaign.

Tax

Tax is simply about maximising the total take of revenue so we can help the largest number of people in a variety of different ways. Although taxing the rich aggressively is a very popular policy due to the enormous inequality in the world, in all probability it penalises the poor because it reduces the total pot meaning there is less money to distribute among society’s most needy. Mrs Thatcher once said the Labour Party would rather the poor be poorer than the rich richer, and that is really the crux of the argument when you come to vote – you either believe taxing the rich hurts or helps society’s most disadvantaged.

Without winning this argument in the eyes of our youth no one deserves to be elected. My personal beliefs are inconsequential, but think of tax like this and it may help you decide what to believe.

Psychology

The top tax rate sits around 40% – 45% for very good reason. Most high income earners are happy to donate a substantial proportion of their income, but one reaches a point beyond that where a law of diminishing returns sets in. Above 50% people are being asked to work until July of each year before taking any money home for themselves. When people lose the correlation between reward and how hard they work they also lose motivation. Historically, above a 50% tax threshold the well off tend to leave, people become demotivated and the total take for society’s most disadvantaged once again goes down.

This strikes to the heart of many private versus public sector arguments. Young or old, Conservative or Labour – would you be happy to work until July/August of each year before taking any money home for yourself? It’s an important question to ask before deciding which way to vote.

Fat Gladiator thought of the day – Tax breaks: those who choose to work fully for others should be cherished.

Lets recognise the amazing work done by doctors, nurses, and social workers and give them generous tax breaks to stimulate demand and make more people want to go into those professions knowing that they can make ends meet. In addition, let’s give them status in society so their work is better recognised. In an age of automation where millions of people are about to loose their jobs, let’s understand we need two million people in social care and do everything we can to attract talent to that sector and make it appealing.

NHS

Neither party will be able to fund the NHS to your satisfaction. The only way we can deliver a better service at a lower price is through investment in technology and that has to start now if we are to fix things within the next 10 years.

Preventative maintenance for your body

What we need is billions to be invested in telemedicine, gene sequencing and editing, liquid biopsy, and tests to stop people getting ill in the first place. Sugar should be treated the same as smoking. You can buy as much as you like but we will tax you heavily regardless of your class because it’s bad for everyone.

War on terror

I am not sure there is one. A war implies a beginning a middle and an end. Throughout history persecution, terror, and radicalisation have always been present and just morph into different forms. I am not sure we can ever outright win a “war on terror” like politicians would like us to believe, we can merely do everything we can to minimise the damage on an ongoing basis.

Anyway with a few of the big ones out the way, I have just one question to leave you with – is the Queen trying to tell us something?

 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Fat Gladiator

Market research – Ashamed

Election summary

Here is a statistic from the Fat Gladiator market research department: prior to the UK general election, I asked 100 people whether they thought that a strong opposition was good for Britain. Regardless of their personal political beliefs, 100% believed that a strong opposition was good for the country.

Theresa May opportunistically went to the country with the intention of making a weak opposition weaker and got what she deserved, a strong opposition. Sometimes, beneath surface complexity lies a deep simplicity. I need to start a polling business of my own, I think I will call it You Bruv.

Ashamed

Since I last blogged I have done two things of which I feel ashamed. Firstly, I bet on the Bulgarian entry in the European song contest and lost. This represented a new all-time low on my boredom threshold.

Secondly, having sat through “The Goat” on my last visit to theatre-land, on my most recent visit I took the precautionary measure of taking along my Virgin blindfold and ear plugs to ensure I would not be disturbed by the production.

It’s quite fun sitting a few rows from the front with a blindfold on, as it really tests the actor’s ability to concentrate on their work, you should all try it sometime!

Anyway, off for a week’s vacation in the South of France. If anyone is down there and fancies hooking up let me know,

Have a great weekend,

The Fat Gladiator

Parental Guidance – Post Election Britain

Parental Guidance 

As a parent of four and a trend follower, I frequently get asked about my attitude towards mobile phones, children and how to control the frequency with which they used them.

Obviously, every household will have differing views and rules, but as someone who prides himself on innovation I have come up with a fail-safe mechanism that stops kids from using phones over the Sunday lunch table so I thought I would share it.

The Green Party

As I was driving through Forest Row the other day, I couldn’t help but notice how many Green Party election banners there were in people’s gardens. Now, for those of you that don’t know Forest Row, it’s the sort of place that you might go to buy a reduced sugar granola bar or okra sandwich.

It is representative of a trend that in my professional opinion will only accelerate as the world becomes penetrated by ever increasing automation.

It occurred to me that the Green Party may be the party of the future as a younger more socially conscious generation establish themselves and shed The Green’s historical associations with flaky hippies. Yes, they currently lack leadership and cohesive policies, but a few key defections in the areas of economics, technology, health, social care and they have the potential replicate exactly what UKIP achieved but in a far bigger way. After all, who doesn’t believe in the health and safety of the planet and a sustainable future for ourselves and our children?

Give this party a David Milliband type leader, some credible policies and MP’s post the forthcoming election splits, and I believe they would be capturing a far bigger trend than both the major parties put together.

If Nigel Farage can get 4m people to vote for UKIP on a single and divisive issue like Brexit, then why could the Green Party not mobilise millions on an issue upon which we all agree.

Short blog this week, have  a great weekend,

The Fat Gladiator