Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Choice agenda

Bermondsey Mum has a problem with choice, or rather too much of it and in a consumer setting, confronted with a myriad number of options, finds it all a bit paralysing ie she is the kid in the sweet shop who can only choose one thing but can't make up her mind faced with all the goodies.   The internet has in some ways made this worse.  If BM searches for something, gotta be honest she's only going to look at some of the options on page 1 of the search results.  A combination of life being too short and sometimes the pressing need to make a decision, any decision sets a limit on her choices.

Elsewhere, BM relies on her favourite shop in the real world, John Lewis of course, to edit the choice for her.  There are other department stores but to BM's mind they are either too expensive, trend-led, dark inside (an immediate put-off) or have assistants who persist in offering to help.  If BM needs help, she will ask for it - simples ! 

Which leads me on to a comment I heard over the weekend from an election pundit that whereas politicians of all stripes have for years now spoken in glowing terms of offering the people 'choice' in our GP, schools, hospitals etc (however spurious that choice might turn out to be in reality), the problem with this election is that Tories and Labour insist that there are only 2 choices.    So when we come to decide who to vote for, it's simply not good enough any more to be presented with only 2 or at best 3, options.  We want choice but the system as it currently stands does not offer it to us.  Hence, the pundit offered, the explanation for the absence of any clear lead for the Tories.  People, used to choice and in the consumer world, understanding what that choice means, are not buying it.

BM supports electoral reform, after all it's the only grown-up way to ensure true representative democracy.  But here's BM's dilemma: John Lewis would be no help... 

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