I’m happy to announce here the results of my latest in-depth research into a troubled group within our population. It’s been a long and detailed investigation, taking me all of several minutes to carry out, but it’s shown that this group have terrible problems with an addiction that they just can’t control. It seems that for this group the addiction is almost impossible to control, let alone kick. Every time they see something troublesome it triggers an automatic response to plunge back into an addictive response to an extent it’s almost instinctive rather than conscious, and my research shows that this addiction is widespread, possible even endemic within the studied population.
Tragically, a large percentage of our politicians are addicted to knee-jerk reactions. For some it may have started as a simple pleasure, perhaps even a small fetish, carried out in the privacy of their own home, or occasionally shared with friends over a drink. I’m not going to judge them for this addiction – who among us hasn’t succumbed to that occasional temptation to demand that Something Must Be Done, usually with its accompanying belief that the Something we’ve just thought of is the thing that Must Be Done? But most people keep that to themselves, or just share it amongst friends, we don’t go on to display our full knee-jerking tendencies to the entire nation.
I want to tell you the story of Sajid. Like many politicians, Sajid is an occasional knee-jerker, but he normally keeps himself under control and doesn’t blurt out too many policy proposals. He’s very good at his job, and has recently been given an important promotion (with many predicting even more in his future) in which he’s responsible for dealing with the internet. Unfortunately, Sajid’s addiction to knee-jerking makes him forget everything he knows about the internet as he hastily comes up with a policy in response to a press release. The thrill of that momentary rush he gets from a jerking knee and the instant policy buzz it provides overwhelms all his common sense and basic knowledge. Everything – even basic questions like ‘how can the UK Government impose regulations on sites based overseas without widespread filtering and regulation of UK ISPs and users?’ – is ignored, in favour of experiencing another brief patellic spasm of muscular pleasure.
To propose a solution to knee-jerk addiction here would be a foolish task, and merely surrendering to my own desires to have an opinion on anything. We must instead take our time and consider every option and every angle to this problem before tentatively proposing a solution that will likely still require some amendment and will not solve the problem instantly. Until then, all we can do is watch our politicians carefully for whenever they show the signs of public knee-jerking, and respond to them with mockery, which experience has shown is the best way to counter the symptoms of the addiction, if not the root causes.