25 January 2006

Public Penitence: Bringing Society to its Knees

As Sean Connery so eloquently put it, as Prof. Henry Jones in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, "Only the penitent man shall pass.". But was he right? Are we really forgiven our sins when we repent? If our name is spread across the tabloids, does the Average Joe care or remember if we say sorry?

The most obvious sign of this societal trait is the most Poisoned of all Poisoned Chalices, the position of England Football Manager. Sven-Goran Ericsson, a man who has seen England through a few good years and good results, is being hounded out by the press, and for what? Making some comments to this "fake-sheikh" about members of the team? So what? Sven is a victim of his own stubborness. That he and his team have enjoyed a few years of good results has granted him some leeway with the press, but the pressure in the media has been growing.

Like a kettle boiling over, the pent-up fury of the press has escaped and Sven is being forced to walk. What confuses me is what the tabloid in question hoped to gain from these sheik-y shennanigans. They get this guy to lure Sven into some apparently "ill-advised" comments and then tell everyone about it. Why? Is it because they feel that a stint of over a year is too long for an England manager and it's time for a change? Is it because his results have been poor? Have the recent previous England managers been so brilliant that they feel the need to get another one in?

All the most qualified people in English football have been tried and then publically hung after their 6 month grace period. You could put a small dog in charge and it would last as long as any other manager. In fact, once the current crop of English managers have been culled, the only things left for the job will be club mascots.

It appears to take a non-Englishman to run England. How many of the top clubs in the Premiership are helmed by home-grown managers? The top five clubs are run by non-English. What does that tell you? Either, English managers suck or you need a foreigner to get the best from a team. I can't imagine why any sane person would drink from that cup. It's not like it's the World Cup anyway...

The ousting of the Swede aside, public apologies are all the rage these days. Anyone whose name is known to people outside their office and who make a mistake are forced to publically say sorry and then usually resign. These people are usually in positions of responsibility and all share the same personality fault: they are human beings. This means that people make mistakes, they make bad decisions. While we can look furtive and wipe it up, these people have to quit their job.

I can't help feeling that a lot of time and money is wasted this way. These people have been trained and worked their way to where they are. If you fire them and get someone else to do it, you have lost some value from your organisation. Plus the replacement can be rubbish for the first year and blame it on the mess left by the last guy. It's like cabinet reshuffles; every so often, they play musical chairs with the Cabinet positions, the proviso seeming to be that you can't do the same job you did last time. This means that by the time you've got your head round how to do Education, or the Home Office, whoops!, time for a re-org. You're Department of Sandwiches now. The only explanation I can think of is that they are giving everyone a taste of each area with the view to them becoming Prime Minister. But how many Prime Ministers have been any good? Have more than a handful of World Leaders ever been any good?

I don't know about the rest of you, but can you remember who, in the last few years, has been forced to leave a position of prominence, and why? Me neither. I don't think the man in the street gives the tiniest damn who is in charge of what, as long as they can have chips for dinner, watch Corrie of an evening and go to the footie on Saturday. So forcing people they've never heard of, who work inside the most complex and convulted institutions in the country, to apologise for making a simple, human error which probably wasn't their fault, is a waste of everybody's time and of their money.

So if we don't care, to whom are they apologising? It's like a parent getting an errant child to apologise to a dog for throwing a stick at it, only to find that the dog is now a hundred yards away humping a tree. The parent may feel all parenty, and the child suitably chastised, but the dog really does not care. All it does is make the child feel childish and more likely to cover up the evidence next time.

Public trial-and-execution-by-media serves no-one but the media. The media in the UK are like the US in the World. They have taken it upon themselves to force their views of right and wrong upon the rest of us and, let's not forget, make us pay for it in the process. They can print their own agenda and if they get sued, well, tomorrows run will pay for that and the next one.

So please give it a rest. We're all fallible. We're very bored of hearing about people we don't know about who work for companies we've never heard of making mistakes we don't care about. Leave justice to the courts and print some actual news. There must be something going on out there! What's behind that tree over there? Well, look, you lazy tabloid bastard!

1 comment:

  1. While I agree that calls for resignations can just be knee jerk reactions, there are also times when people make decisions that make them untenable in their jobs.

    As for Sven, I can't understand the fuss. What did he say? David Beckham doesn't like the fact he hasn't won anything with Real Madrid. Michael Owen is only happy at Newcastle because of the money. Wayne Rooney comes from a rough area of Liverpool. Oh and the biggy....some football managers are corrupt.
    Now at what point was I supposed to be surprised, shocked or disgusted?