Suggest you read the Audit of War, you don’t need to go back to the WW1 to see the same old lack of skills and knowledge being ‘applied’ in the British State.

Expand full comment

Is it not the case that all government(s) get hooked on media like a teenager can be on drugs because of absence of code of conduct or transparent regulation. Media are businesses like lobbyists and if one can be regulated why not the other? Electorate elect our representatives to deal with our grievances and one of those grievances is this delusional obsession with newspapers which nobody really reads anymore.

Expand full comment

Two things Dom...

A) I've noticed that across your posts you group Brown, Cameron and May. Is this reflective of an admiration for (some aspects of) Blair? Would be interested in reading your thoughts, as TB/AC clearly more effective/serious in terms than the others mentioned above and their lackeys.

B) relatedly, a notable absent from your references to highly effective political actors are the subjects of Caro's books (Moses, LBJ). I would imagine that, like Blair, you would disagree with both on merit of policies pursued. Do you disagree with their methods re management/ops too?

Expand full comment

I think today is the day I finally understand, after reading this latest post...but I feel quite hopeless about the future of politics. We've all heard of the Oxford and Cambridge 'mafias' - people well connected, educated and all come in at the same time as they are seen as 'born to rule'. The establishment of some kind of alternative philosophy, radicalism (as detailed by Dom) is a step in the right direction. However, with the current climate, is there anyone hard enough to take this on?

Expand full comment

Finally if our ministers have same background as those in 1914 (a slight exaggeration), then the problem surely starts with how universities select. More selection on potential needed as well as risk taking would lead to wider available candidates for Parliament and ministerial office l

Expand full comment

Since most every (hard to think of exceptions) political system has performed badly in the face of Covid, it is difficult to pin the plane on the peculiarities of SW1.

Expand full comment

Stafford Beer, Cybersyn and Chile seem to offer powerful evidence against the effectiveness of direct injection of 'obviously sensible' uses of systems thinking in government. I am not sure your blogs address this, or if they do it is along the benevolent dicator (LKY) model. For many of us this is more frightening than bumbling leaders.

Expand full comment

"we who want regime change...must develop a plan to take power away from these parties and bureaucracies and give it to others…" Jesus Christ Dom. So, not sinister at all then. What could possibly go wrong? You said previously that the only person with the power to change the system is the PM with the current incumbent being neither interested nor capable. So just work to get someone better into power, who genuinely cares about this stuff, with good people around them. And given the importance of incentives, also focus relentlessly on finding ways to change the incentives. Either strategy will re-shape the system from within. Look forward to the discussion on how to influence the system positively rather than smashing it like a cackling despot.

Expand full comment

Hey ho. This feels like Groundhog Day. We know that politicians, the civil service and even business people have limited thinking. It’s not that they’re not ‘clever’. I’m sure they’re clever in the terms that schools and their compatriots think of them. But they’re so often linear, trapped in codified thinking without that intuition, that willingness to combine ‘evidence’ with a leap of insight, a desire to listen to ‘outliers’ because they’re not senior enough, so what do they know, they’re not ‘established’ or academically laureled enough, so are too risky etc etc. Cannot ‘hear’. In my view this yet again comes down to education to at least some extent. If children of all backgrounds, classes and so called ‘IQ’ are asked to integrate ideas from all sorts of sources, often appearing unrelated, but are nevertheless part of a great pattern of ideas, which the really clever can synthesise and turn into themes which startle and influence and the same (or others),who really know how to get people engaged and willing to act, then this same treadmill continues. Just marginal improvements on what we already have. This in my view is true in politics, business, medicine…. Adopting ‘defensive practices’

Expand full comment

DC the man who followed the wrong science on covid and plunged the uk into a lemming covid strategy based on Neil Furguson's predictions of catastrophe.

Can't wait to see the solution for the politically driven "democratic" systems


This has to be the most stupid time in human history

Trying to reinvent the wheel and avoid solutions

The basis of freedom is economic opportunity not prattling on about the current political comedy

The Roman Empire failed for the same reasons

History repeating .... Nothing learnt

Expand full comment

Starmer has probably done enough to demonstrate he’s put momentum/Corbyn behind him, and moved to the center. He’s boring as f**k, but I guess he’s won some supporters in the domestic establishment and some powerful support from outside the UK.

Sunak is the conservative poster boy shoo in, carefully curated, and only wheeled out into public view for good news, and protected from everything else. But he looks so frail from his PR isolation, that the public will be concerned that he’s all image, and no substance, and might start crying at the first bit of trouble he has to deal with, although they guess he won’t be dealing with it anyway

So can the UK establishment avoid falling under the influence of any one particular external power, EU, China, USA… (although the EU looks like it’s under pressure again to break up).

The UK public have borne the cost of the UK being the first to show how to exit the EU, and those particular costs won’t be over yet a while.

Piled on top of that, the UK public have also borne the UK covid crash course structural reset of the UK economy, ready for a Phoenix like revival from the ashes… some time soon they say… but that particular story won’t be over yet a while either.

We’ll sustain this course against the headwinds for as long as the public are willing to put up with it… and that’s a long long while too.

The west is burning out the dead structural wood quickly, and painfully, most painfully for the UK of all… because we left it so late to change course… even austerity since 2008 couldn’t get us close enough to the end goal, to avoid such severe pain.

Few of my independent business competitors remain, they have all been gobbled up cheap, by investment firms over the last 18 months, and that process won’t be over yet a while either.

Anyway, the UK’s largest problem is longevity… healthcare should be for preventing needless suffering, and not extending physical life for the sake of it, as there is little we can currently do about the brain, which is pretty much past it for the overwhelming majority, by their late 50’s.

Anyway… we’ve been put on some global restructuring and recovery plan… and the elderly establishment elites running the plan within the UK will be primarily looking after themselves.

Expand full comment

The people who know, the people who care, the people who can. A simple maxim for change but easy to say, unbelievably hard to actually bring to bear

Expand full comment

In my opinion change only comes about from a shock that transforms or a gradual realisation that things are bad and discomfort snd pain enough to want something different. Where are we on either on these ‘change curves’. Are we on either in the eyes of the public? If not how could they be generated? And should they be?

Expand full comment

I'm out of here.

£10 a month for fairytale waffle and a lack of honesty and no replies to the difficult questions

No going to waste any more of my time and money


DC good luck 👍 you'll be needing as much as you can get

You were a one trick Brexit pony

Bye Bye 👋

Expand full comment

Well done Dominic for having the balls and the interest to engage those Scots down the local. Really talking to people face to face creates trust, even if they don’t end up agreeing with you. We could do with a lot more of this from our politicians.

Expand full comment

Guerilla teams armed against the unwary won in Afghanistan. Not sophisticated and centralised ‘new models’, imposed on people, some of whom subscribed, some did not not understand, not warfare values from the west. Just a real understanding of the people they were dealing with at a regional and tribal level, a desire to win above all else and primitive weapons. A ghastly, cruel but salutary lesson on the nature of ‘change’

Expand full comment