“Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get in the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge, and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man who knows where it hurts is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialized character”
Winston Chruchill, in a letter in 1902 to H.G Wells
Today, the UK government put into place some changes which are threatening to undermine the welfare state which has long been central to life in this country.
Whilst Churchill wrote the above over 100 years ago, much of what he says is as relevant now as it was to him back then. If we change the idea of an ‘expert’, central to his statement, and replace that with ‘career politician’ then it still rings true, especially when compared with the other key part of his quote – “the plain man who knows where it hurts”. This idea of ‘knowing where it hurts’ struck me as awfully useful.
Today we have career politicians, academically successful men and women who have followed the increasingly well trodden path of Oxbridge, to advisor, to MP, to cabinet minister. Coming from often wealthy backgrounds, do they know where it hurts?