Before I get on to today’s football coupon, I’d just like to have a bit of a rant about the disgraceful attitude of some parts of the British media.
On my way home from work on Thursday night I grabbed a copy of the now free London Evening Standard. I think the fact it is now being given away is an indication of the quality of journalism and effort involved in cobbling this daily rag together.
I was greeted on the front page by the large headline “Flight ban blunder”. The article went on to name and shame Andrew Haines, Head of the Civil Aviation Authority, as the man responsible for the excessive flight ban which has cost the UK economy over £1 billion.
This sort of cheap, effortless, attention-seeking journalism real p*sses me off.
As we know all to well from our constant battle to make a profit from sports betting, hindsight is often 20/20. Talk, after the event, is cheap.
Let’s put this into perspective for a minute. We are not talking about a £20 punt on some League 1 team who are due a turn of fortune here. We are talking about peoples lives. And lots of them.
I try to promote a “risk neutral” attitude at all times here on BOTW. A risk averse mentality results in missed opportunities and suppressed profits. Those of a risk loving persuasion, although likely to enjoy an exciting roller-coaster of a journey, often end up crashing down in a ball of flames. Pardon the topical pun, but I couldn’t resist.
If you want a prime example of when, in real life these rules don’t apply, take Mr Haines’ position last week.
If ever there was a scenario where you have to to be risk averse, then this was it. How do you put a price on hundreds of lives? You cannot. So, therefore, it is irrelevant to consider the financial consequences for the airline and tourist industries in making this decision.
What ultimately is the problem here? A few people are stuck overseas. Big deal. Most chose to head someplace at Easter because, let’s face it, it’s nicer than the UK anyway. I accept, some people are stranded in unfortunate places… C’est la vie.
Some call it “an act of God”. I personally will stick with “a black swan”, thank you very much. (Those unfamiliar with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s work, I highly recommend you check it out.)
Those that are vulnerable, or in danger, get them on a boat or train sharpish. If that isn’t an option, then let’s keep them safe at the expense of the taxpayer. We have bailed out an awful lot of less deserving creatures in recent years, so what harm a few more million.
It really isn’t rocket science.
Can you imagine the press coverage Mr Haines would be facing had he opened up the airspace early last week because he didn’t want to be “excessively cautious”, only for a small aircraft to come crashing down over the UK, let alone what he would be facing if a 400 person passenger jet crashed?
The same rags would then be calling for a criminal prosecution of a man who had made an honest judegement in good faith ,whilst trying to do what is almost an impossible job.
Mr Prigg, Mr Prynn and Ms Bryant at the LES, I have only one word for you.