Those who can, do. Those who can't become politicians. The old adage had it that they become teachers, but that is unfair to teachers as everyone who has tried teaching knows, and every parent now trying to educate their children at home. Being a good teacher requires not only training and expertise but also aptitude. But what of politicians? While politics, history and law seem to be popular subjects for politicians, no training is required, although generally MPs start in the hard (nursery) school of local party politics and prove themselves before progressing.
It seems to me that aptitude is also required for politics. Commitment to make a difference is important, to persevere with intensely boring and often fruitless activity. And politicians admit they require a thick skin; the business of politics is cruel and cut-throat. Is it any surprise that being ruthless and a bully are also common characteristics. And is it surprising that these traits are most seen amongst the most successful politicians; those who end up in cabinet?
What about training? A leader of industry, responsible for running large, complex, organisations employing thousands of people will have honed his or her skills as they work their way up. They will also have undertaken multiple training programmes to develop their management skills and they have increasingly studied management and business at post graduate level. So how can a politician, with no training and minimal expertise, step into a senior management role in a government department and be expected to perform effectively from the off?
I am sure that those who are wholly ineffective are quickly weeded out, but there is no performance appraisal and success depends not on superior delivery but on the whim of leadership and personal relationships. How can a Prime Minister (or President) who is a bully with an inflated ego, not to say a narcissistic personality disorder, judge whether a minister is good at their job other than his or her own personal standards.
Is it not time that we measure politicians performance on their management skills and their delivery, not on what they say?