A Word In Your Ear - October 3, 2013

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Political leaders like to be in the driving seat and ours should perhaps take a tip from Norway’s Prime Minister.

Jens Stoltenberg keeps in touch with public views by turning out as a part-time taxi driver and chatting to passengers about national issues.

He doesn’t exactly
 disguise himself, but dons a Norwegian taxi driver’s red jacket and shaded spectacles.

If he gets recognised that only encourages 
still more forthright views from those he’s chauffeuring.

It sounds like a good idea. Cabbies are famously forthcoming on current affairs, having long periods to ponder over newspapers they read between fares.

Eton-educated Mr Cameron and company could received no-nonsense public response to their problems and policies.

Failing that, they could also sit and listen at a neighbourhood barber’s or local pub.

Common sense flows freely and hearing it might tighten their grip on
reality.

This simple exercise could have saved governments from domestic blunders like a 24-hour drinking ‘café society’; dumbing down education, or unfettered immigration. It would have revealed to our leaders the general view on Europe, the Human Rights Act or, indeed, fresh military strikes in the Middle East.

I don’t usually get political but, of course, taxi drivers do.

Leaders in other fields, like banking or the law, might also gain new insight behind the wheel.

Some, like Gordon Brown, might find some public views to be bigoted but, then, at least that’s the real world. In my experience of travel and working overseas, Britain is the least bigoted and most tolerant of countries.

When arriving to work in Australia, the car in front of my taxi had a sign proclaiming, ‘Grow your own dope – plant a Pom!’

I chuckled, as we Brits retain our sense of humour. So does Jens, who generally ends up sharing a laugh with surprised passengers.

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