Do you have confidence in anyone? Or is the world incompetent?

I don’t know about you but since I was about 3 years of age, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the world is populated largely by incompetent people.  This is a feeling that has increased exponentially to the level where it is now a genuine surprise and a blessed relief when one encounters someone who has a vague notion of professionalism and competence in whatever position I happen upon them.

You can read my post from 2014 on Bad Bosses and The Peter Principle where one of my most incompetent managers once argued with me on how to spell ‘No’.

Tonight the Prime Minister faces a vote of no-confidence for her rather lacklustre work on Brexit and if she loses then it would set in motion a chain of events that would lead us to having a new Prime Minister.

I do have a bit of sympathy for the Prime Minister as a person as she seems decent enough if one can overlook some of her ineptitude.  Besides, a country can easily get by with an incompetent leader with out too many ‘problems’.   What really causes issues is when we are mired with incompetents or at least led by leaders with no vision or authority.

As such it is hard to get excited about the vote tonight if only because for the life of me, I cannot think of anyone who is actually competent who might be the Prime Minister.  There are number of well-meaning, vaguely competent as perhaps low level paper shufflers but no-one I would want to run anything important like a Pizza Hut restaurant or a nation.

It is no different on the other side, Jeremy Corbyn might have generally good morals but is so banal and indecisive, he must have splinters coming out of his esophagus from sitting on the Brexit fence so long.  His defence of attending a memorial for terrorists of being ‘present but not involved’ kind of sums up his whole leadership.

His Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott seems to be there by virtue that decades ago she was having an affair with her leader.   There is a rumour that photos of this pairing were put in every Chinese bedroom to help lower their birthrate.   Diane Abbott I think is singularly the most over-promoted person I can think of and has been out of her depth every time I have seen her on the news for about 30 years.

One thing she does have going for her is her affected accent.  With every year that goes by, her phoney upper-class accent gets more and more hilarious along with her eminent colleague Keith Vaz who if not so incompetent is seemingly more sleazy.  I guess having so many skeleton in the closest has to make one quick-witted if nothing else!

You can view one of Diane’s more infamous car-crash interviews below.  If she sounds like she is talking nonsense then to pay attention to how she tries to sound posher than the Queen.

They are all so incompetent and it drives me mad.  Last year someone applied for a tour job with myself who very proudly lists on their work-history that they worked in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister…. totally ineptly written and with nothing of relevance for working with myself.

There is a prominent Peer or unelected official by the name of Lord Adonis.  Lord Adonis is a determined campaigner for staying in the European Union.  Earlier in the year he re-tweeted a racist cartoon of an opposing politician with a South Asian heritage before quickly deleting it and apologising for his error in judgement.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never made an error in judgement that has caused me to be racist.  That is a pretty big flaw in a character and if he can’t get the basics right about not distributing racist cartoons then why should anyone trust is judgement on anything at all, let alone something as complex as Brexit?  I did ask him that on Twitter and he promptly blocked me which I think sums up is the strength of my argument and the incompetence of his character.

Of course it isn’t just in Britain where everyone is incompetent.  It is hard to think of a competent leader on the world stage.  Wherever you look, there is ineptitude, incompetence, criminality and immorality.  The only vaguely competent leaders seem to be dictators and even they aren’t what they used to be despite their lives being on the line as opposed to the careers of Western leaders.

I always learned that benign dictatorships are the best form of leadership but then I’ve had enough of that with the EU.  I can’t in all good faith be governed in any way by a man who is regularly so drunk he has to be helped in and out of functions, at least once wearing unmatching socks.

Recently this pile of ineptitude has just become a bit too much for me to bear.  Maybe I am expecting too much.  I don’t think I am all that great but what I do, I at least aim to do perfectly.  I don’t tell lies, I don’t think I have ever made an error of judgement on a basic element of life.  I’m not a very competent plumber or brain surgeon but then I don’t try to work in those fields.  I’d expect my plumber to be 100% brilliant as I am when I am paid for a job, as I expect everyone in their jobs whatever they may be.

Two weeks ago I had an expensive delivery from America costing around £400 or $600.  They had opted to use an expensive delivery company rather than the cheap and effective Royal Mail.  Being out of the house when it arrived unannounced, I expected it might be at a neighbours or perhaps awaiting re-delivery.  There was a bright yellow card sticking out of the letterbox highlighting to potential burglars that I was away from home.  Thankfully it did at least alert me to the delivery too so it wasn’t all bad.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.29.46

The card had no details whatsoever except to say that the parcel had been left “In The Back Borch”.   As you might imagine, I was a flummoxed as I don’t have a Back Borch.  Phew!  It was obvious he must have left it in the back porch.  I hurried round the house I have lived in for 12 years before realising I don’t have a back porch either.  This isn’t Georgia or Iowa, no-one in the UK has a back porch and if they did, it would be well guarded and miles from the nearest public road.

I spent 40 minutes in the dark and wet looking for this parcel, in the bushes, in the trees, in the shadows, on the shed room, in the alleys and paved areas but there was nothing.  Rather forlornly I went to my neighbours to see if they had noticed the delivery man.  They hadn’t but incredibly they had found my delivery thrown over the fence into their back garden in the dark and rain.  Even more bizarrely they had been in all day with their lights on so why not just knock on their door?

I’m not asking too much am I?  It then took 5 or 6 messages to the courier company before I even received an acknowledgment of my complaint.

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 09.28.51

Even worse than them is my perennially under-performing local bus company Arriva. I say local but of course they are ran from Germany with the sole intention of providing the poorest service possible for locals whilst providing the best corporate profits in Berlin.  Unlike the fantastic and almost to the second buses in London, I who live 6 miles over the border have buses that are meant to run every 10 minutes but which often have gaps of 40, 50 or even 80 minutes with out a bus.

Of course unlike them, I’m not incompetent and I allow an hour or more time for my buses and trains on top of the stated travel time.  Through the course of the summer only once did both my bus and train arrive on time and I got to central London 90 minutes early which says it all.  Hundreds and hundreds of successive bus journeys were late or didn’t show up at all

The buses are terrible.  The fares went up 50% just a few years ago and they closed the local bus garage to further their profits.  The buses are so shoddy the displays on the front don’t work so you don’t know the bus number or destination until it stops.   Frequently the buses don’t turn up at all and when they do, they are missing basic functions like ‘stop’ buttons.    When they do turn up then you can have 5 within a few minutes.  In my street we call it the Woodside Blackhole as the buses for all of Watford get sucked in there and never come back.

The bus company also never apologise or get in touch.  Recently I have learned that if you copy in elected politicians then you at least get the bus company responding to the official if not myself.    Last week after waiting in the cold and rain for 40 minutes I tweeted their Twitter account repeatedly and it took much of the day before I got a reply.  Obviously their PR department is as bad as their service.  It did give me the opportunity to make disparaging remarks about them to the world totally unanswered.

I was only wanting to complain and after months if not years of shoddy service asking to be given a refund for the additional expenses I incurred to make a meeting in London on time after a 15 minute trip turned into a 70 minute torture.

Having received no response I asked them and their over-payed manager whether they were offering me an inept service on the fact of my nationality?  A bit racist perhaps but many foreign companies have admitted they do as such in order to maximise profits.  Perhaps it is because I live in an area of predominantly social (poor) housing?   No of course they wouldn’t stoop that low, obviously they treated everyone with with contempt.  That at least has the virtue of equality.

After many hours I received a reply stating they don’t give refunds.  Obviously they hadn’t even bothered to read my message correctly, I wasn’t asking for a refund, I was asking for compensation.  Being sick as I was of their sheer ineptitude and feeling sorry day after day after month after year of seeing old people missing their hospital appointments, children missing school and everyone, thousands people being inconvenience and ripped off by Arriva Buses.

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An earlier 50 minute wait for a every 10 minute bus.  Look at the line of people at this very quiet suburban street.

Having been advised to submit a complaints form, I informed them that if I didn’t receive what I asking for then I will be taking them to court with a view to claiming back six months work of their £15 weekly tickets as well as other fees.   They rely on the fact that no one bothers to complain but companies offering a public service have a duty to to so with care and skill according to the laws of the land.  Something which there is ample evidence of them not doing.  And a tour guide in January and February isn’t so busy he can’t fill out a form and spend a day in court.

Hundreds of people are in the process of doing similar to trashy low budget airline Ryan Air and so though I would be very glad to receive the small compensation I am seeking, I’d be happy to take it further.  What I really want though is just for people to be competent at what they do.  I have other much more astounding and important events too but I can’t mention them at the moment.

Is it just me or do you suffer this affliction of mediocrity in you life too?

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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12 Responses to Do you have confidence in anyone? Or is the world incompetent?

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    Other than internet addiction, poor service is the biggest unifying factor in the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Contractions of Fate says:

    LOL! I think that, in modern internet parlance, Stephen is “Triggered”! What a rant! You got Borched, although I think the young whippersnappers call it “Borked”

    But I completely agree. The world seems full of idiots. No end of deliveries from Amazon have gone astray because they left them Lord Knows Where, or with a neighbour I have never met, or, my personal favourite, a card saying I was not in when I have been there all day, wide awake, and no one knocked on the door. I think if they are running later, they just run up to deliver the post card!

    And this is all AFTER I made it perfectly clear on my account to NEVER leave elsewhere, ALWAYS redeliver.

    Dunning-Kruger. Not so much a minority anymore.

    >:8o

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true. I came very close to have a Michael Douglas ‘Falling Down’ moment. Ha! I have had those two where I have been in all day. One time I even stayed in especially for an Airbnb guest to arrive and then an hour after their arrival time I got a complaint from Airbnb that I wasn’t in. I’d been sat in the living room with the lights on almost in silence waiting for that person to knock on the door!! I just don’t understand these delivery drivers. I can’t imagine that even in the poorest of countries, people get jobs and are taught it is ok to just throw packages into other peoples gardens. It has to be harder work too than just knocking at the neighbours door, I’m glad my tales of woe brightened your day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another great piece Stefano! I laughed at the ‘back porch’ bit. I’m currently waiting to hear back from M&S regarding a gift hamper that hasn’t arrived! Grr.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deep breath. Humanity will survive.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Take a second deep breath 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

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