Potter around an airport bookshop (as I've had plenty of time to do recently) and you'll see the most popular titles aren't - as many would suspect - potboilers from Grisham, Archer or the like, but rather odd books about business, philosophy and economic theories. Things like 'The Wisdom of Crowds' and 'Wikinomics' and 'The Black Swan'. You might have read a couple of them, or scanned through them in a moment of boredom, but let me sum up the idea as succinctly as I can: basically, if you let a lot of people think about stuff, then they'll come up with the wisest and best solution. Or to put it another way: people are clever and they think outside the box if you let them.
I think that's the idea anyway. I got so thoroughly fed up with the pisspoor prose of The Wisdom of Crowds that I abandoned it in a hotel room in Prague, and The Black Swan got stuffed down the side of the settee, never to be retrieved, a very long time ago, as it was unremittingly shite. I find it all to be tedious crap. Because if you try to set people a problem, then the general population doesn't come up with a brilliantly insightful solution that will work, they come up with the same toss they always come up with, I'm sad to report.
As I shall prove now. The BBC website has set its readers a challenge: how can we combat piracy, they ask. These business bollocks books would have you believe that the wiki genius of everyone's pooled intelligence would arrive at a brilliant, unforseen and wondrous conclusion, and that would be the most recommended comment.
There's certainly nothing the Royal Navy could do. As you'll remember in 2007, they were obliged to surrender to an aggressive group of Iranian pirates because defending themselves could have upset certain groups in Britain. So forget about sending them to board a tanker, that would probably constitute an infringement on the Somali pirates' human rights and be harmful to our oh-so precious "multicultural" worldview.
Kieran Power, Leeds, United Kingdom
The US navy should completely destroy the port responsible for harbouring the pirates. Problem solved. People like that can't be negotiated with, they're basically terrorists.
how long before the usual suspects start to tell us that we need to respect these pirate's "human rights"? Back when Britain had a navy we could be proud of nobody would dare attack our shipping because they knew what was coming if they tried it - death. Now anyone feels they can have a go - Iran, Somailia, and all we do is line up to say sorry. Increase warship patrols and have a zero-tolerance policy on pirates, it's easy to kill them faster than they breed and stop people giving them ransoms
And Mike Giggler chips in with:
ban all parrot sales immediately...garh!
jonboy walton, kent, United Kingdom
(Yo) ho ho.