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24 April 2009 | Dr Jenny Dugmore Blog
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Who Wants to be Chancellor of the Exchequer?
This week Jenny takes a personality test and discovers some spooky results..

For those of you outside the UK (or sound asleep all this last week) the UK has just been guided though the new UK budget announcements by the Chancellor of the Exchequer: the annual attempt by the current government have to keep the country solvent, or at least no worse financially than the year before.  In theory an accounting exercise in ‘balancing the books’, in practice its also a social engineering exercise that balances the benefits and needs of different groups of people in the UK, and very occasionally the rest of the world. 

So we have at one end of the spectrum a quiet note that tax on alcohol will go up 2%.  Too small an increase for those that wanted a bigger rise in the tax to reduce alcohol intake to reduce the binge drinking that is growing at a rate that worries everyone but the binge drinkers. I would guess that the 2% increase was too large for the binge drinkers themselves.  At the other extreme there has been a huge debate about the higher tax rate for those earning (quite a lot) above the average UK income.  In a country where some managers have recently retired from the banking sector on a larger annual pension than many people earn in their whole lifetime, this is decision was probably more about being seen to do social engineering than actually about raising UK taxes. The debates about all points in between continue, including speculation about ‘what the next government will do when they get into power’.

The person who does the budget can expect to be unpopular with many people at the very best of times and in the current economic client there are likely to be few who are pleased on a personal basis.  The best the Chancellor can hope for is ‘it could have been worse’.  To quote Norman Lamont, who did the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer in the ‘90’s.

“First requirement is an indifference to newspapers. The second is that you can always draw some comfort from football managers…… He is well advised to be dull….. It’s a good thing to be dull with your language”. 

This may be very sound advice – perhaps there was view that if he’s really dull the Opposition will fall asleep out of sheer boredom?   It does however raise a few interesting mental challenges though: A politician may be dull, but would a politician ever set out to try and be dull?  Isn’t it a natural part of every politician that they want to be the centre of attention – they want to be leaders, looked up to and supported.  Surely ‘being dull’ doesn’t get a look in the want to be list?

In one of those odd mind leaps the idea of a politician trying to be dull (and wondering what sort of politician might attempt this) reminded me of tests used intended to identify what type of personality you are, and therefore what type of role you would be best at and of course, find most fulfilling. I recently came across a link to a (free) online version of the Myers Briggs personality test.

According to this link using the Jung - Myers-Briggs typology all people can be classified using four criteria:

- Extroversion - Introversion,
- Sensing - Intuition
- Thinking - Feeling,
- Judging – Perceiving

Encouraged by my husband (a demographer) and daughter (an anthropologist) I did the test.  Some of it rang true, some of it I was less sure of, perhaps because it was something I didn’t really like? 

I was intrigued to discover I should have had a career as a scientist or in information systems (I started off in one and I’m now in the other – bit spooky really), possible also a lawyer or librarian (definitely not me).  I also questioned the statistical validity of the approach, only then to discover in the fine print that that was exactly the sort of reaction that someone of my type would have.  We all decided to do it again, and second time round we each came out with some differences in what type of personality we had.  Each of us had been doing something different in the few days before each test, so each of us seemed to have been shaped by our recent experience, although perhaps only as a temporary change. 

So what type was I?  Sorry – my secret.  But anyway, if I do it again I may discover I should be Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Although I hope not, I have quite enough challenges without sorting out the UK economy and I do want to keep reading the newspapers.  Do try it yourself though.  

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!

Dr Jenny Dugmore Email to a colleague | Add to MY ITP

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