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Boris is a broad-sweep politician

We often hear the expression 'on top of the detail'.  The forensic analysis of instant media more often will find politicians wanting when it comes to specifics.  An interviewer comes to the studio well briefed with a specific set of details, the politician comes having to anticipate what they might be asked.

 It is a game of cat and mouse, chasing around the issues.

Andrew Neil on the BBC uses the technique of catching politicians on detail, or on what they might have done or said at some time in the past, long or short.  "I put it to you that....", "No, no, this is what you said in 100 AD."

Does it get us anywhere?

We could say that politicians should know the detail.  But is that really sensible?  Good decisions may be influenced by details, or by what is called 'fact'.  Yet, decisions are often made on a balance of probabilities and not on 'facts'.

Boris is a broad-sweep politician

Boris Johnson is a broad sweep politician.  I suspect he doesn't like interviews, especially with Andrew Neil, because he is rarely in command of the details of a case.  He blusters through with generalities, and when challenged on detail he is not averse to simply making it up as he goes along.  This is not necessarily a weakness.

We shouldn't underestimate the strength of such a broad sweep approach.  In the end, decisions have to be made, and often the details get in the way rather than help.

The value put on any given detail depends on outlook and objectives.  It depends on your view of the world and, often, gut instinct.  

This is Boris Johnson's strength.  Leaders have to have a broad-brush approach and not get obsessed with the details of issues.

Voters also prefer a broad-brush approach.  Voters adopt positions, just as politicians do. The centre of gravity of those positions can shift, and when that happens so also does the political outcome.  Listening to voters doesn't mean listening to the details. It means understanding their mood.


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