Merely an Accident of Birth

It’s a lovely feeling when you’re talking to friends about your writing and how your books come out of your head straight onto the page. At which point, they call you “gifted”. I will have to consider that comment although, coming from people whose judgment I value, it was quite a compliment.

You see, I’ve never seen myself as particularly creative. Yes, I’m a good wordsmith and, yes, I have a vivid imagination. However, I’d never seen it as other than that, much less their description of my talents. Which brings me to my point which is that I consider that everyone is talented in some way; it’s just that it’s, largely, undiscovered and/or not nurtured sufficiently. The issue is the subject of my second book, “The Real Big Society and my part in it” (, a response to David Cameron’s “Big Society” and the subject of a book by Jesse Norman, MP. In this, he talked of the vast amount of untapped talent in this country; something that is dear to my heart.

So why is it “untapped” in the first place? Well, for any number of reasons, many of which are to do with “life getting in the way”. It is, after all, difficult to think about what you might do if you’re a single parent on benefits living in rundown accommodation. The sheer relentlessness of life is bad enough as it is without politicians castigating you for your “lifestyle choice”. Any, rant over and back to my point. Which is?

Well, there was an interesting article in The Guardian this week (don’t you just love that newspaper?) describing recent research at the University of Catania in Sicily. The was about the part that luck played in scientific innovation and understanding how research funding was best distributed. Luck, it seems plays a large part with science being full of accidental inventions and discoveries; notably, if memory serves me well, that of penicillin. This would appear to back up other publications that have written of the great part that luck plays in life generally. Indeed, according to many, it is the single biggest determinant of your future.  So, how is that to be dealt with?

Well a decently funded education system which helps people to flourish, as well as decent support in early life for children and their families for a start. Then we can help people to realise all that untapped talent. In the process, of course, ensuring that everyone gets a fair crack of the whip and that the mediocrities (you know who I mean) don’t always rise to the top through, what is, after all, merely an accident of birth.

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