I have just been reading Michael Young’s comment on the Labour party and meritocracy – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment
It inspired a train of thought about the BBC TV knock-out show “Strictly Come Dancing” and how it is a perfect mirror of our society.
- You are led to believe that the winner will succeed on merit, but in fact it is the popular vote
- You are led to believe that it is a level playing-field, but in fact some entrants have innate advantages, such as youth, training, time to rehearse, etc
- The public vote is based on appeal to the public rather than any objective standard of merit. The appeal to the public is largely based on their existing fanbase, so people n soap operas have an advantage over foreign sports stars who nobody knows
- You are led to believe all dances are equal, but the quality of the choreography has an impact of the appeal of the dance.
It is easy to match this to the illusion of meritocracy that we are presented with in Great Britain. while there is a fantasy that we are all on a level playing-field; in fact it is highly influenced by who you know, who knows you, what your looks and previous training provide, and who your partner is.
I would merely like to suggest that all who are currently in power have benefited by enormous good fortune; whether it is winning the genetic lottery (being born into a rich family, such as George Osborne), having the acceptable looks to get a parliamentary seat, or having the luck to get born into an age where you can get a parliamentary seat (yes, Nicky Morgan, one hundred years ago you could not have voted in a UK election).
So let us remember that the person lifting the glitter ball as the winner of Strictly Come Dancing was the beneficiary of an awful lot of luck as well as hard work – after all, they had to beat a far higher number of possible candidates just to take part in the show.