We are "enraged customers", aren't we? We have so many outlets for our emotion, and rage plays better on social media than resigned irritation. I wonder whether we really feel the way we say we feel, and whether we've always felt that way. And/or - is there a lot more "provocation" these days than there used to be? Somewhere in the collective recent memory is that airline incident in which a doctor was dragged off a flight. Then, three weeks ago, we had the "ransomware crisis" and the revelation that critical systems across the UK's NHS were running on archaic, insecure software. No sooner had we had ample time to fix that issue, than an engineer flicked off a switch at a single point of failure in a critical system - to go by the company's apparently unembarrassed explanation - and that was enough to kill an entire airline. Cue Nigam.
Floating around the internet is a short piece to camera by the film director Ken Loach (see I, Daniel Blake), pointing to food banks, benefit cuts, other welfare failures of the modern state, and moving on from all that directly to the assertion that we need a Labour government. Finishing this two days after that bizarre election, I think I'll sidestep the question of whether we need somebody else heading up the government. No comment, except to say that the two major parties will be playing very different versions of "spot the election winner" in the coming months. Today's state does fail the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged (and I'm sure there was a news story recently - a mental illness is being redefined so that fewer people qualify for financial support), but I don't buy the idea that the solution is to switch from one group of politicians in the top jobs, to another. Speaking generally, you understand; not thinking of any specific individuals.
Applying a version of Occam's razor to current British politics, I find it a lot easier to believe that there is no money left to do anything, than to believe that any political vision, with or without costings, can be applied in a way that will immediately (or even slowly) bring a marked (or even perceptible) improvement in anything. That doesn't mean I would argue for any policy of "austerity" that was to be implemented by politicians (of all people); it's just that I don't believe the current macro-political, macro-economic system is any more capable of being fixed than a modern car is capable of being made to fly. And while I'm at it, I've never been "delighted" by an airline (or "inspired" by an employer, come to think of it, although that would be down to my career choices).
The common factor here, common to the paragraphs about airlines and to the paragraphs about politics/welfare, is human nature. So many words have been spoken, written and posted about the importance of building "redundancy" (duplication) into critical systems. And yet, three weeks after ransomware (ransomwaregate?), whatever systems review they undertook (not?) at BA ... missed that switch. Welfare is a vast labyrinth of people, administrators of people, systems and administrators of systems, regulators, politicians, journalists, patients who need care, patients who could just as easily have visited their GP or local pharmacist, opinions, entrenched positions, did I mention politicians? It's too big. There are too many people.
And if you blur out the welfare-specific details, that makes it sound just as unmanageable, just as beyond any hope of change, as any other large organisation. I've seen it written that globalisation doesn't work any more. Big organisations certainly seem to fail very easily, even if they're held in place by spin or dogma. I wonder: what about national government?