Brace, brace, brace…

I find fascinating National Geographic channel programmes on why ‘planes crash.  As a result, I have seen a fair number on ‘planes crash landing.  Watching them doesn’t do much to dispel my dislike of flying.  It occurs to me that it does, though, have some use for explaining current political events.

Think of No Deal Brexit as analogous to a ‘plane in which the pilot finds problems with the landing gear (aka Withdrawal Agreement) and is making preparation to crash land without the landing gear deployed if he cannot resolve the problem.  Passengers and emergency services are being prepared in case of a crash landing.  People are naturally worried, some petrified, of what may happen.  No nation has withdrawn from the EU under Article 50 of the TEU.  However, several planes have landed without landing gear deployed.  What we can say is that landing will be a bumpy experience.  Some ‘planes have crash landed in one part and with all passengers able to decant safely.  Others have gone off the runway and partially broken up.  Some have become a fireball.  The key point is that no one knows for certain what will happen.

Some people are pressing the pilot to stay in the air until the problem with the landing gear is resolved, if it can be.  (Some want to remain flying in any event.)  There is also an alternative pilot banging on the cockpit door demanding to be let in to take over the controls.

The analogy is not perfect, but I employ it to make the point that one cannot know for sure what will happen.  Much depends on the skills of the pilot and crew, the design and resilience of the aircraft, and prevailing weather conditions.  One can draw attention to these in forecasting what may happen – some people are more knowledgeable than others about these features – but it is only after the event that one will be able to explain with certainty what has happened.

This is perhaps a long winded way of explaining why when I am asked to say what will happen I politely demur.  At least I can now refer people to this blog.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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6 Responses to Brace, brace, brace…

  1. Jonathan says:

    If someone was in control of the plane and chose to break their landing gear deliberately, everyone would consider that to be lunacy. Skilful pilots sometimes land without undercarriage, but they were not the ones who disabled it in the first place. The most despicable pilots are those who not only choose wilfully to damage their landing gear, but then to circle in the air for two years despite being given advice on how to fix it by clever pilots and engineers on the ground, then even after they figure out how to fix it, still choose to crash the plane instead, simply to demonstrate their bravado. Such pilots deserve to be in prison or an asylum, not flying a plane.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Jonathan: None of which, I fear, solves the problem that we presently face.

    • Presumably you think the “despicable” pilots who disabled the landing gear are the majority of British citizens who voted ‘leave’? What if they deliberately dropped the landing gear so as to lighten the plane (removing one layer of, as Adam Smith called it, ‘the dead hand of government’) so it could cross the ocean and land safely on foreign (non-EU) shores?

      Kind regards,

  2. Thanks for once again sharing the voice of reason.
    As you say, we can’t predict how bumpy the landing, but if there’s one thing I’m fairly certain of, we’ll still be able to buy as many BMWs (or whatever) as we might want to.
    Kind regards,

  3. macarthursmutterings says:

    brilliantly put

  4. Pingback: Being geeky… | The Norton View

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