Politicians: Forever living bubbles

Politicians.  From poly, meaning many.  And tic meaning bloodsucking insect.  That’s the reputation and with good reason – but not an entirely fair one.  The overwhelming majority of politicians get involved because they want to help people and make the world a better place (although I question it about some).  But they are often out of touch – and very few of them are any good at policy because that’s not what the process selects for.

This is in addition to the current cabinet having started with 23 millionaires (apparently it’s now down to 18 – and the Mirror can’t count).  Most of the cabinet aren’t self-made millionaires (politician being a career in its own right) – and to inherited millionaires, not working is a sign of laziness.  They don’t need to work.  And have never been anywhere near the edge.  Poverty is about as alien to most millionaires in politics as it is to the girl in Common People.

The part keeping most MPs out of touch isn’t anything to do with how hard they work.  Most MPs are extremely hard working and work long hours helping people out.  It’s that most of them have three groups of people to keep happy – two of which are effectively both full time jobs.

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Job Interviews: So your CV succeeded. Now what?

This is a sequel to my earlier post on how to write CVs and application forms.  For it I assume that most people either know the basics of a job interview or can familiarise themselves with them.  If not:

  • Turn up on time.  (Which is in practice 15 minutes early.  So I allocate half an hour – and walk round the block a few times if I don’t have an unexpected delay).
  • Look the part (and I am so not the person to give fashion advice.  Fortunately I can just wear a suit).
  • Research who you’re going to be interviewed by in advance – and show you’ve researched them.
  • Ask questions throughout the interview and when they ask if you’ve any questions and don’t panic.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Above all, show you can do the job, you want to work there, and you fit with the people interviewing you.
  • Finally don’t be afraid to realise half way through the interview that this isn’t a place you want to work.

 Here are some less obvious pointers – and ones I wish people had told me ten years ago.

Interviewers are looking in general (there are always exceptions) for two things.  Someone who can already do the job, and someone who appears to fit the workplace.  You’ve made it past the first hurdle by getting to the interview, but this is the big one.  There can (normally) be only one.

So other than the standard list, what should you research when preparing?

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How to get your paper cited

In this last week even the IMF has told George Osborne to back off on austerity. Osborne is of course not interested (never mind the risk of an unprecedented triple-dip recession or that he’s quite happy to waste £10 million for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral).  And the intellectual justification for austerity has never been shakier.  Osborne is fond of citing.  Or to quote him at the 2010 Mais Lecture “As Rogoff and Reinhart demonstrate convincingly, all financial crises ultimately have their origins in one thing – rapid and unsustainable increases in debt.

But this isn’t about Osborne.  It’s about his favourite economists, Rogoff and Reinhart – and about the Circles of Scientific Hell.

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