Imagine waking up each morning and knowing that you have had your day and are past your prime?
Or put another way you know you are incapable of perching the role or job that you have coveted for so long but you decide to keep going because to put it bluntly – “it’s a nice little – or huge – earner”.
Some years ago England went to a World Cup taking with them footballers who they knew were unfit but hoping they would be fit enough to play some part in the Tournament.
I know it was probably a life long ambition but why did they as individuals not say I’m not fit to play so take someone else who may just win us the World Cup?
In another football World Cup the players claimed after a defeat that they hadn’t been motivated enough for the game which prompted Richard Digence to write a fantastic song called ‘Letter from Aphganistan’.
So what has brought this back into my mind?
Well two things really related to sport and politics.
I’m a big fan of tennis and isn’t that what we saw happening during the Wimbledon fortnight with players turning up who knew they were incapable of producing anything like a meaningful performance because of injury?
But hey – Bugger the public who paid for their seats – or the millions who watched it on television, the cheques made turning up worthwhile.
So what has this to do with parliamentarians?
Well just like the tennis players who turned up even though they knew they were unfit -and let’s be honest also knew that even had they been fit they never really stood a chance against the likes of Roger Federer – to many of our Parliamentarians have aspired to be MP’s and patently shown that they are incapable of meeting their own aspirations.
And just like the ageing sports person who goes on long after they recognise they are simply not up to it the politicians attitude is to simply ignore the inevitable truth which is that they have confused their ambitions with their capabilities.
Failure is unrecognisable to them because their egos will simply not accept it.
The difference of course between the sports person and the politician is that the sport person eventually can no longer fake it whereas the politicians career – with a very few notable exceptions – is almost entirely based on being able to fake it.
The old saying that says “people are promoted to a level of their incompetence” should perhaps be rewritten for the current crop of Cabinet Ministers to read that “they have been promoted to a minimum of three levels higher than the level of their incompetence”
How else can you explain the rise and promotion of David Davies, Michael Gove, Boris Johnston and Andrea Leadsom or for that matter any of the Conservative Cabinet Members.
Remember Andrea ? – a Treasury Minister who (I’ll skirt over the discussion about the veracity of her CV in which she was apparently a “highly successful investment banker” – who was so bad at her job that the only alternative left for her was to go for the top job as Prime Minister.
Still like the sportspersons who continue to turn up for a pay day Andrea having failed to get the top job was rewarded with a well paid Cabinet post with responsibility for the Environment which she applied herself to with what is now accepted as a certain level of competency leading to her being replaced once the General Election was over.
And yes before anyone gets on their high horse and accuse me of being politically biased I also recognise that there are members of the Labour Opposition and other parties who are equally in the same league of political incompetence.
The problem of course is that in all other walks of life people recognise their own shortcomings.
It is what most of us would call self awareness.
I started my working life as an electrician having undergone what was then a four year indentured apprenticeship with the National Coal Board and as a matter of fact when I joined the Royal Navy I then did another four year apprenticeship but I had enough self awareness to know I was never going to be an Engineering Admiral.
I have also enjoyed playing sports but was never going to play for England – though in my defence I would say the only thing that held me back from being an international was my lack of ability – apart from that I’m sure I could have been a British Lion.
It appears to me that politicians as a rule however seem to have been born, are unaware of or at the very least have simply found a way of ignoring their self awareness gene and press on regardless with their ambitions.
The problem of course is the lack of self awareness of their own incompetency affects them not one jot as they claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in expenses and wages provided free of charge from the taxpayers purse.
And what is even more surprising is that we the taxpayer know it and yet still vote for them?
And worse still we seem not to mind being short changed by politicians political and sometimes personal incompetency.
Don’t you just love it?