People in this country have had enough of experts, said a senior politician the other day, one who is, at the time of writing, unusually, still a senior politician.
It’s okay – I’m not going to get political. It just occurs to me that these could be worrying times if he’s right, because I could be considered ‘an expert’, of sorts. Not about international finance or anything, obviously, but on the merits of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes versus M&S’s version, or on what different cars are like, I can hold my own.
This is because I have – to paraphrase another man off the news – never had a proper job. Most of my working life I’ve spent researching, measuring, driving and testing cars and advising people – perhaps like you, dear reader – where to put their money when it comes to them. There’s little honour in it, because I am but a reviewer. What you might call a rentagob. A critic. A Lidl Chris Harris.
Anyway, as a result of that, I put a reasonable amount of stock into people like me. So I won’t buy a pair of headphones unless What Hi-Fi? has given them five stars. The respective merits of a gas versus induction hob are things I’d deeply research before plumping one way or the other. You can’t know everything about everything, so I like it that there are people out there who know their market equivalent of the things that I know without looking them up: that horsepower and torque are always equal at 5252rpm, or where the bonnet release is on a Ferrari California. So I trust them. I listen to them. I won’t make a decision without them.