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May 13, 2010


Luis Enrique

does this cut both ways? Will the Tories "look more favourably" on Lib Dem positions etc.?

[by the way, I know you talk about how unpredictable future lending is, counterparty of private saving etc. but do you really think that the thing to do is leave the deficit to sort itself out, and make no cuts nor tax increases?]

I'd expect the phrase "you did sign up to cut the deficit" to be wielded because they did sign up to cut the deficit

chris c

I think a good question in response would be, why do you assume the Tories and Cameron are going to be the manipulative ones?


Look, about that reading list of Cameron - I have a hard time believing he hand-picked it, or indeed read more than a small fraction of those books! If he's got that much time his hands, I would be amazed.

Dan | thesamovar

Chris, you might be interested in the Jacques Ellul's book "Propaganda" (1965). One of the forms of propaganda he analyses he calls "integration propaganda" which works by exactly the mechanism you're describing here. The idea then is to get people to engage in actions which they can't take back and thereby draw them in to supporting a certain system, rather than trying to convince people to think things directly (which he thinks is almost impossible to do).

Fred Kapoor

Great insight. I think the whole concept is very well explained. In every business area just like in every situation of everyone's lives we need tobe consistent with what we do in order to achieve whatever we want to achieve. We need to be consistent in order to gain credibility both from others and from ourselves.

Neil Harding

I doubt Cameron or the Tories take this coalition seriously. I will be amazed if the fixed parliament thing is passed, let alone the AV referendum. Cameron has already kicked Lords reform into touch by calling it a 'third term issue'. So, even if it lasts 5 years, the Lib Dems could have been in government for that long and we still have hereditory and life peers making our laws, AV defeated. And the Lib Dems will be facing massacre at the ballot box. Still I understand why they wanted to give it a go.


@ chris c - it is a good question. I suppose my thinking does apply equally to the Tories and Lib Dems. Maybe I subconsciously had more respect for Cameron's manipulativeness than for Clegg's!

Luis Enrique

yes, consistency isn't just a bias, as Fred says, there are some efficiency reasons - it's a bit like a "commitment technology" in bargaining theory (or something).

Plus if life is a bit random, and some setbacks are inevitable, the optimal number of setbacks to tolerate before changing your mind is not 1. So that's a bit like an argument for some "consistency"

Paul Sagar

Brilliant end to the post.

But on this:

"Students who have undergone painful or embarrassing initiation rituals to get into societies value membership highly. "

That's simply no excuse for Oxford University Rugby Team and its college imitations, as I'm sure you well recall.


Why is everyone being so damn pessimistic? Yes, coalition could split, or they could merge. But there's a third option - Britain does ok and the coalition ends in 5 years time as planned.

Clegg's done Europe. He knows about wheeling and dealing. The Lib Dems have also done coalitions in other parts of the UK, and they've kept their independent line on a number of issues.

Jack Rhodes

But the people willing to take the first step are self-selected.

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