16 August 2008

Advice for Gordon 1

Now that the Grumble blog is on Gordon Brown's listening web site Dr Grumble is going to have to issue his advice to the Prime Minister. There is so much he could say. The problem is where to start.

Let's start by finding the prime-ministerial job description. Whenever Dr Grumble needs extra staff the first thing he has to do is produce a job description. Now somewhere there must be a job description for the most important post in the land. Hmmm. Google is very disappointing for once. Are we like New Zealand with no job description for our Prime Minister? How odd. How very odd. Could that be a problem? Could that be why Tony Blair did things his own bizarre way? Could that be why he committed millions billions to harebrained NHS projects after a few minutes on his Downing Street sofa? Could it be that he could have done with a job description which spelt out how to do things properly?

So that will be the number 1 piece of advice for Gordon Brown. Think about your job description, Gordon. Think what it is that the prime minister should really be doing. You have been in post over a year now. Let's hope you have that sorted.

To be more specific Dr Grumble hopes that your job description does not require you to operate like Tony Blair. If it does have it changed. In particular don't start with a problem by thinking that you know the answer. Doctors who write the diagnosis at the top of their notes worry Dr Grumble. He is always seeing 'known COPD' at the top of acutely ill patients' notes. Usually there is nothing known about their COPD and quite often it is not what has made them breathless. It is the same in politics. Don't start by saying there are 'known WMDs' if there is nothing known about them. That way, just as in medicine, you will make mistakes. In medicine one mistake can kill one patient. In politics one mistake can kill millions. Can you think of any examples, Gordon? In medicine we call that reflective practice. The idea is not to make the same mistake twice.

So Grumble's first piece of advice is do not start on a problem with the answer. Be like Dr Grumble with a patient. Stick to the known facts and then cautiously draw conclusions. And always be prepared to question whether you are on the right path. In medicine there is always a differential diagnosis. You must always consider what it is you might be missing. Review your diagnosis. There is nothing wrong with realising that your diagnosis is wrong and that your treatment is not helping. There's plenty wrong with blundering on. It must be the same in politics. Can you think of any examples, Gordon?

No comments: