Thursday, November 21, 2013

The John Prescott Test

Some years ago I watched a documentary in which John Prescott made an off-hand comment that struck me as entirely reasonable, especially from a politician. I've tried to apply it ever since.

His point was simply that he had no time for people who moaned about problems but didn't offer solutions.

That might sound obvious, but I regularly read blogs, articles, even books which rail at the status quo, then offer nothing in return.

And when you think about it, that's too easy. Challenge and complaint are fine, but in a world of difficult choices, it's incumbent on us to propose alternatives, and understand the implications of these too.

I've made it a rule on the Bike Shed that whenever I complain - even in my visceral rants at wind farms - I'll try to offer solutions.

And if my reasoning doesn't convince, I suppose I can always apply the other Prescott formula...

... punch 'em in the face!


  1. Ah yes! A good old fashioned right and left from Mr. Prescott!

    Guardian journalists seem to have complaining without offering solutions off to a fine if by being published in the Grauniad they had actually done something about the problem.

    So difficult to provide alternatives in the context of a crippled society which don't involve pulling away the crutches...but it has to be done.

  2. I get really cross with TV programmes which point out problems but then don't offer suggested ways to find a solution.

    It's something I learned very early on in my work. Managers don't want to hear about problems, but offer a solution and they're all ears. However, as Helen says, in real life it can be hard to solve your own problems sometimes.