There are two things that are required to make a blog successful, one is that it is essential that what you write has a bearing on reality, is interesting, and succinct. The second is never to write for the sake of writing. In other words, reticence. This was brought to mind by a serious accident in our home three weeks ago. We had a pipe burst on the upper floor early in the morning, and hot water built up between the joists supporting the ceiling until it overflowed, in steady, great, rhythmic bucket-full like gushes, down the light fittings and onto the carpets on the ground floor. I leave you to imagine the rest

It was Sunday, and a neighbour gave us the telephone number of a plumber who obligingly gave up his Sunday lie-in to help us. He was tall, athletic, and had that air of confidence a man often carries, who is good at his job and proud of it.. He came, listened without comment, explained what he intended doing, and he did it quickly and competently. The one thing about his visit was that he said very little, but what he had to say was worth listening to. A couple of days ago I saw some of the ministers of our government trying to justify changes in policy that had never been properly implemented. The impression that they gave was a sense of insecurity and lack of experience. A high proportion of them were very young for the post that they were holding, and the fact that they had only probably recently been appointed added to this.

Government statements must be well thought out, if possible, tested, and care taken to ensure that every eventuality has been brought into the equation and covered. This is the basis of reticence, saying what is essential and living up to it, not babbling to justify one’s existence, to appear to be doing something, without having thought it through, and then having to rescinded or abandon it. The only things that can ensure this are the amount of experience an individual has, the right amount of experience among those in government and the civil service who are involved, and in consequence, competence, and self-assurance. These elements are blatantly missing in many and of the plans this government has broached.

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