Governing is not about clean lines and simple patterns. The journalists’ trope of one-dimensional left-right politics would come under a Hobbesian definition of Madnesse; no cube nor a tesseract suffices to map idea, and the actual art of governing is a teapotohedon even simplified to its bones.
A graphic designer explained the teapot to me: if you have a cube or a sphere, for example, you can map where light will shine on it or a shadow will fall with simple mathematics, but a teapot has changing curves, concave and convex, a lid and a spout disrupting the surface, a functional interior – all of which must be mapped and worked into each algorithm for determining how it will appear at each angle and how light cast at any angle will reflect or be shadowed. So important is the teapot to designers that one has included it amongst the Platonic solids; the tetrahedron, the cube, the dodecahedron etc, and the teapotohedron.
I was thinking about this as I looked at an area of government policy that is (as are they all) mired in unhelpful politics.
Look at any policy, anyone looking form outside will see only part of it, and not the consequences; where the sun will illuminate or shadows will form, nor know if the path followed will curve up or down or round and in how many dimensions. How can voters be expected to understand why policy should be shaped as it is, and what has cast the shadow – that element on the pot, or a flowerpot standing behind it, or a flaw in the windowpane? We only see a bit at a time, blaming the politicians or the bureaucrats for giving us a clumsy handle, missing the capacious belly, or seeing only the lid. Left to write our own policies, we would all design simple pots we can measure and feel we understand; entirely spherical so that there is no hole to put the tea leaves and water in, no spout to pour from, and which roll off the table and smash in the floor.
It all makes commentary, even voting, akin to playing hoopla in a blindfold.
However the voter is still in a better position than those who make policy: inside the teapot, the view is even worse.
- Privatise the Civil Service
- Minutiae – the big failing
- A system failing in the middle
- A cabal of its enemies
- What happened to the hard rain?
- Getting back to competence
- The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham (former senior Lord of Appeal)
- Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics by Jonathan Sumption (former Justice of the Supreme Court)
- The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken
- Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws
- Scots Law for Journalists by Rosalind McInnes
- Constitutional & Administrative Law by Neil Parpworth
- By Thomas Hobbes:
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
- The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray
- Beyond Brexit: Towards a British Constitution by Vernon Bogdanor
- Making a Success of Brexit and Reforming the EU by Roger Bootle
- Brexit: Its Necessity and Challenge by Tony Kosuge
- Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe by Denis MacShane
- Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union by Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley
- Brexit: How Britain Left Europe by Denis MacShane