Sunday 4th November 2012
I enjoyed watching the clip of Egypt's Coptic Christians selecting a new Pope. A blindfolded boy selects the name of the Pope from a bowl, disappointingly from only three short-listed candidates - if they really believed in God's ability to chose they'd have the names of everyone in the world in there. The commentator calls it, "a most unusual ceremony" in a slightly patronising way, but I don't see how this is much more ridiculous or strange than any religious (or indeed political or civil) ceremony. If you've got a point where you believe there's a big man in the sky who is bothered in any way about what we're up to, then I don't think blindfolding a boy and making him choose a ball out of a bowl is all that odd. And at least it's all on film so we can ensure that nothing unsavoury is going on.
But mightn't this be the way to choose all high office? Let God or luck or a blindfolded child decide. Much as I like the idea of a ballot of all humanity for every job and the chosen name having to take on the role regardless of whether they want to (which would almost certainly lead to having popes who were of a different religious faith to their followers), having a committee choosing the best handful of candidates and then leaving the rest up to a blind-folded boy (or girl, or monkey or even just one of those toy-grabbing machines you get at amusement arcades) would be just as effective as any of the systems we have in place at the moment. Maybe moreso. Because with no luck and chance involved it is possible for someone to buy an election or use undue influence or hoodwink an electorate with lies. But what if the President of the United States was chosen from a list of 50 names by a blindfolded boy? It would save a lot of money and time, but also would it be worth an evil or selfish or dishonest candidate going for it. They'd only have a one in 50 chance. In the current system the evil candidate has a one in two chance of winning. It's worth him spending billions of dollars for the shot. Businesses will get behind him for the rewards that he can offer them. But if the field was bigger and the choice was entirely random then what business would risk wasting money backing a candidate. Of course this system might still lead to a terrible, lying, selfish idiot becoming president, but our current system manages to do that on at least a 50-50 basis. In the blindfold system there would be a genuine chance of an independent, uncorrupted, decent person ruling the USA. I am not sure that trusting the public to choose is any less random than making a monkey do it.
The religious right should like it because they would be trusting God, the atheist left should like it as they'd be trusting science. It might well be the way to put some honesty and trust back into politics. Once every hundred years or so you might end up with a Hitler, but that seems to happen already anyway, so it's surely worth the gamble.
Let's make all our decisions this way: popes, PMs, X-Factor winners, FA Cup fixtures, spouses. I honestly think that a random system would be more efficient and just as effective as one that uses any considered voting or attempt to select the best person. Plus under this system it's unlikely that our whole cabinet would end up having gone to the same school.
Democracy is fucked. Let's institute Coptocracy (though that sounds a bit like it might involve poo).
TM admits to have failed his 2010 aim which was "to get a grip on my life. I have a good job great family but I feel as I'm going through the motions with me? Sounds a bit self indulgent but I had so many plans and at 44 feel I've missed the bus. I know I'm lucky and should appreciate my life, maybe I can still make the Olympics doing what I'm not sure." He didn't make the Olympics, not even to watch but says he still has a great family, so maybe he's doing something right but not seeing it.
I'd say so TM. Sometimes the things we wish for are not as good as the things we have, but it takes a little shift in perspective to see it. Thanks for your honesty though.
If you made an aim do get in touch whether you succeeded or failed. And you can wait until the 25th - you still have 20 days to pull this thing out the bag. That's my only hope.
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