Monday, 18 November 2013


We’ve just entered what I call the “nudist phase” of our lives when current political thinking is that we should show it all. And I’m not sure it’s too practical or what people really want. A little bit of mystery is usually more interesting and may allow greater happiness.

Would people on a flight really like the pilot to be more transparent?

“This is your pilot. We are flying at 30, 0000 feet and my co-pilot has just passed out and we’re running low on fuel. We have a 50:50 chance of landing OK at Heathrow. Thank you for flying Consul Airlines.”

Knowing more when you can do nothing about it may actually work against the desired result (and in this case provoking a hysterical riot).

Quite often sorting out a cock-up and getting everything back to normal in private may be a far better option than confessing to it before you’ve had the chance to fix it calmly.  Yet from NHS to education we have acquired a perverse need to show everything that’s going on behind the scenes which, whether in a play or in any business I’ve ever been in, is not always a good idea or an inspiring spectacle.

Now I was intrigued to see that Doctors will be forced to be transparent and disclose their salaries to patients. I’m not sure why? You go to see a doctor to be told what to do to feel better.

There was a joke about medical transparency.

A doctor goes to see a patient in a hospital bed. As the curtains are closed he says:
I’ve got good news and bad news.
The patient says “Better give me the bad news doctor
I’m sorry you are going to die and there’s nothing we can do
Oh God…but what’s the good news doctor?
You know that blonde nurse? Well I’m giving her one

And we don’t want to know that. It’s irrelevant to our condition and needs as would be a doctor saying:
Sit down. Well I thought you’d like to know that I trousered £150,000 last year. Now what can I do for you?

But there’s something else. I have a grave suspicion of anyone who says “to be perfectly honest” as it implies this is an unusual condition for them. Equally when journalists, politicians or doctors claim to be totally transparent I know there’s a fair chance they are concealing something really important from me.
It’s like this trend to glass fronted kitchens. I don’t want to see the cooks; I want to eat the food. And why is there a belief that a less than wonderful meal that you saw being prepared is somehow going to be improved by your watching?

Don’t confuse honesty with transparency and don’t be deluded into believing transparency is a substitute for quality of delivery.

As Dr Johnson might have said but didn’t - transparency is the last refuge of the mediocre.

1 comment:

Daniel Efosa Uyi said...

hey nice post mehn. I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: How To Live Your Dream Life .
keep up the good work.