Britain is run by bluffers. At the top of our government, our media and the civil service sit men — it’s usually men — whose core skills are talking fast, writing well and endeavouring to imbue the purest wind with substance. They know a little bit about everything, and an awful lot about nothing.
We live in a country where George Osborne can become a newspaper editor despite having no experience in journalism, squeezing it in alongside five other jobs; where a newspaper columnist can go from calling a foreign head of state a ‘wanker’ to being Foreign Secretary in six months; where the minister who holds on to his job for eighteen months has more expertise than the supposedly permanent senior civil servants.
The UK establishment has signed up to the cult of winging it, of pretending to hold all the aces when you actually hold a pair of twos. It prizes ‘transferable skills’, rewarding the general over the specific — and yet across the country we struggle to hire doctors, engineers, coders and more.
Written by two self-confessed bluffers, this incisive book chronicles how the UK became hooked on bluffing — and why we have to stop it.