what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, December 23, 2011

C'est la Vie - et La Mort

In the summer I predicted that a bid with which I was involved for a Structural Fund project would be judged as failing to meet the admin requirements – since this is the easiest way for evaluation panels to get rid of unwanted competition in the EC’s procurement system. A few weeks ago I had that prediction confirmed – but with a bonus. None of the 8 or so companies which bid for the project satisfied the onerous and bureaucratic administrative requirements! Little wonder that new member countries find it so difficult to spend the money which has been allocated to them!
Also in the summer I was told, at the start of the tendering process (!), who would emerge as the winner of a significant 4 year EC project in a large country with oil (and temperature extremes). And hey presto – that French company has duly emerged the victor. With at least two of its 3 key experts having no real experience in the required field but the Team Leader having spent time there and having all the tight contacts (let alone nationality) to grease the necessary parts of the machinery. I had decided at the start that the project (and capital) were not for me – and turned down several approaches. We were all wasting our time. The process was a foregone conclusion.

As I watch the images (on French television) from Vaclav Havel's funeral in Prague, it is fitting to give yet another quotation - this time from a 2002 address in which he was musing on his time in power -
And I’ve discovered an astonishing thing: although it might be expected that this wealth of experience would have given me more and more self-assurance, confidence, and polish, the exact opposite is true. In that time, I have become a good deal less sure of myself, a good deal more humble. You may not believe this, but every day I suffer more and more from stage fright; every day, I am more afraid that I won’t be up to the job, or that I’ll make a hash of it. It’s harder and harder for me to write my speeches, and when I do write them, I am more fearful than ever that I will hopelessly repeat myself, over and over again. More and more often, I am afraid that I will fall woefully short of expectations, that I will somehow reveal my own lack of qualifications for the job, that despite my good faith I will make ever greater mistakes, that I will cease to be trustworthy and therefore lose the right to do what I do.
And while other presidents, younger than me in terms of their time in office, delight in every opportunity to meet each other, or with other important people, to appear on television or deliver a speech, all of this simply makes me more fearful. At times, the very thing I should be welcoming as a great opportunity I deliberately try to avoid in the almost irrational fear that I will, in one way or another, squander the opportunity and perhaps even harm a good cause. In short, I seem more and more dubious, even to myself. And the more enemies I have, the more I side with them in my own mind, and so I become my own worst enemy
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