The A-level season is upon us, and once again, flying in the face of all the evidence around us, standards have risen.
One of the consequences of the "further education for all" fixation of the past 30 years is that a lot of not very bright kids are hustled through the comprehensive system because their teachers/tutors don't want to be associated with failure. As a result, a lot of students without any innate common sense seem to have scraped through with the softer options of politics, economics and sociology, and found jobs in politics and social activism in general where they are now doing damage.
The problem is that a lot of these people realise that they got where they are by luck/accident/fraud, and set about trying to solidify their precarious positions by surrounding themselves with people even less competent than themselves. It is a vicious circle.
The really smart and well rounded giants of the last century like Churchill and Thatcher had no such insecurities, nor did they need the money, and so could happily surround himself with the finest brains in the land and not be bothered about being upstaged. At least up to the point where the Tory party judged them to have exceed their shelf life.
Gordon Brown was probably told by Blair (and Cherie) on several occasions that he wasn't up to the job of PM - and this insecurity has lead to him surrounding himself by idiots. Lord Mandelson, being the smart operator that he is, saw his opportunity to get that Peerage he's been aching for, and doubtless played on Broon's insecurity with the idea that it would be safer to have Mandy inside his "big tent", pissing out (prostate permitting), than vice-versa.
And TMP wouldn't put it past the ever-scheming Broon that he has calculated that he can usefully leverage Mandy's legendary hubris to set him to take the fall for something big that goes wrong. Virtually every commentator on the UK political scene has made the point that despite all the fabled Dark Arts, it is virtually inevitable that Mandelson's love of playing with fire would end up burning him yet again.
And the consequence of the limited reserves of intellectual energy being spent on all this intrigue is that Broon and his advisers did not possess the common sense ...
a) not to ambush our once enviable pensions industry, and
b) to see the asset bubble coming.
So thanks to the ease with which not-very-clever people can gain political power in this country (with or without elections), we now have a multi trillion pound disaster to sort out.
We test our kids to destruction and publish the results - why don't we require politicians to face tests? Assuming David Lammy felt he was above the intelligence of his fellows when he took on the Mastermind challenge, than perhaps the infamous Lammy Mastermind calamity might not be the only exposure of scary MP stupidity to look forward to.