Tuesday 14 June 2016

Guest Blog: Mervyn Bowden – Politicians should go back to school – 10 lessons to learn

Guest Blog: Mervyn Bowden – Politicians should go back to school – 10 lessons to learn

Whichever way you plan to cast your vote in the forthcoming referendum, what has become increasingly clear is demonstrable proof that our political class universally and regardless of party hue and persuasion, behave in a way which would get seven-year olds expelled from their respective primary schools.

Should we introduce a system of yellow and subsequent red cards or perhaps the three strikes and you’re out rule? I shall count to three... one, in a vain attempt to control their behavior.

As someone who has (okay, had until quite recently) a keen interest in politics contrasting nicely with my ongoing professional interests in more useful things like training and development of people, I find this has triggered a desire to analyse some of the reasons why the political class has lost all credibility amongst their hitherto supporters.

How have they managed to alienate us so effectively?

How a politician’s school report might look:

Loyalty: 0/10 - Would sell own grandmother for a recyclable shopping bag. Not sure what loyalty means or entails – an alien concept.

Honesty: 0/10 - Even buying a pencil, let alone a used car from them, would be a stressful experience. Also has difficulty in distinguishing between “little white lies” and “absolute whoppers” and believes expenses and pocket money are one and the same thing.

Listening: 2/10 - Only hears those messages which concur with own thinking. Also has selective hardness of hearing when others are speaking.

Decisiveness: 0/10 - Seems unsure which political party they represent. Dithers and is apt to change mind regularly and spontaneously – either on a whim or when instructed to.

Self-delusion: 10/10 - Excellent. Practices this at every opportunity but daren’t ask for direct feedback on performance. Convinced they stick to only 14 units a week – no one else is. Thinks being politically correct is about being right all the time.

Ambition: 5/10 - Tries to practice this but has difficulty spelling it. Can’t see the wood for the trees when opportunities present themselves. Bites nails too much for own good.

Debating: 4/10 - Tendency to talk loudly over other speakers and never knows when to shut up. Has great difficulty in answering questions directly. Ditches agreed scripts and majors on their own monologue.

Personal presence: 1/10 - One is certainly aware of their presence but equally one wouldn’t want to meet them on a dark night... to use an over-used phrase, has something of the night about them. Has acquired all the combined allure of Trump and Clinton.

Respect: 5/10 - Has achieved equilibrium whereby doesn’t respect anyone else and they, equally, aren’t respected by anyone either. Doesn’t really understand the concept and gets flustered when asked about it.

Bullying: 10/10 - Absolutely fantastic and could be used as a world-class role model. Never fails to seek to land punches above or indeed below, the belts of opponents and colleagues alike.


  • Struggles to operate as any sort of team player and is an increasingly remote member of a supposed metropolitan, chattering class.
  • Has huge amount of work to do to re-establish any sort of credibility.
  • Unlikely to be in existing grade for long as a result of their current appalling behaviour.
  • At some point in life may take the opportunity to become a human being before it’s too late.

Further training required

  • (Very) regular swimming lessons – surely can’t speak whilst swimming.
  • Long walks in the countryside (alone) – to better understand non-metropolitan life.
  • Alternative career options
  • Double glazing salesperson
  • Estate agent
  • Banker
  • EU Commissioner
  • Astronaut
  • Darts commentator

With only days to go until the big exam, are our politicians fit to go into the wider world or should they be given a long term detention and kept in after school?

Mervyn Bowden is the MD of Intuitive Energy Solutions and Chair of Judges for The Energy Live Consultancy Awards, held on 30th June 2016 in London.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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