Saturday 24 December 2022

Some Christmas Reading

Pat Swords has written a new book, available to download from the link here :

Feedback from: Pat Swords ( 

Having lived and worked in many places that have been in the headlines in recent times such as Ukraine, Sweden and Libya, Pat is in a unique position to explain events that have unfolded in recent times.  

"Colonel John Boyd of the United States Air Force (USAF), who as a jet fighter pilot in Korean and Vietnam eras, had also a standing bet as an instructor pilot, that beginning from a position of disadvantage in air combat manoeuvring, in less than 40 seconds, he could defeat any opposing pilot. He also invented the OODA loop, which is not as one would expect, about twisting a fighter aircraft into some contortionist position, but rather stands for a strategy of ‘Observe – Orient – Decide – Act’. Namely, prior to making a decision (the decide phase), the person will first have to get information (observe) and determine what it means to him and what he can do about it (orient). Which in turn leads to the good summary of, fail to ‘observe’ (get the information), prepare to fail. Jim Glennon, who served seven years in the Oireachtas as a TD (Member of the Irish Parliament) and Senator before retiring in 2007, wrote in the Irish Times on the 1 April 2010: 

“Most voters are, somewhat naively, of the view that government policy is developed through a process of careful analysis, comprehensive consultation, and the selection and prioritisation of initiatives based on impact and thorough cost-benefit analysis. In reality, most government policy-making is based on an ad-hoc reaction to events / media-pressure, and driven by the responsible Minister’s particular requirement to be seen to announce something which seems at least semi-sensible.  Regrettably, policy-making which is focused solely on addressing tactical issues inevitably leads to strategic mistakes. Many of the problems now being faced by the Government are the result of ad-hoc fixes of problems during the boom – got a problem, create an agency, buy-off the unions, get it off the front page”. 

You would think that they would learn from this and put in a more effective strategy, such as a few OODA loops.

As hindsight is not foresight, there are always decisions with results, which don’t match the prior hypothesis. However, does that mean we should hand over our decision-making to those designated for us as ‘experts’, particular so when it is us, who rightly or wrongly, bear the consequences? This is a very fundamental question. For example, there was quite a mess left behind the Iron Curtain by the planned economy, even though its superiority was taught and eulogised by the local economic professors, before they themselves saw the light and re-educated themselves, when the wall fell down. Making people clean up the mess they leave behind is always difficult, because it seems nobody is responsible, as all are responsible, even though it was only nobody and his buddies, who got to make the decisions, Hence, the conclusion of the ‘five whys’ analysis, was that pretty strong checks and balances must be put in place, to control nobody and his buddies, by all the rest. Which in legal terms led to the adoption of the UNECE Aarhus Convention on the premise that the environment is important and does not belong to the State, but to the people, and as political ideologies come and go, the people must be provided with robust procedural rights in relation to environmental decision-making".

1 comment:

  1. Current is not an adhoc development. It is based on an ideological construct that is anti science and is deliberate. The quality of the research carried out and payed for by the Irish is extremely poor. Some of its observations are so off the wall and unworkable.That one can only conclude it was written to satisfy the ravings of a lunatic politician. There must be accountability for those who wrote it . To ensure that garbage like this is not produced again. It must be shown that they cannot walk away without consequences