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November 10, 2012


Louis F. Caruso

Well said.Politicians hopefully see and understand the macro landscape better than common citizens. Subsequently, politicians must serve the interests of the country's ability to progress by setting up structures and policies that ensure success.

In turn, politicians must do a much better job acknowledging the politics and interests of the local.


We already have X-factor politics how else do you explain Tony Blair and David Cameron.

I don't know why you think there is a single technocratic solution. Even factual reports are biased on various value judgements including data sets, boundaries etc.

Economics has no solution to problems, even to ones within it's stated scope.
e.g financial markets.

Your views on immigration are superficial and certainly do not make for the case for immigration. As some of the commentators pointed out this issue has to extend to include the social and cultural.

Perhaps you could start with the evidence in Robert Putnam's book.


and some of the criticisms.


You have not scratched the surface of the immigration debate. But it is clear the British public oppose further immigration, including many immigrants!

Like with your views on immigration the failings of the political class are legion.

Comment on the aspiration for a living wage, which still excludes taxes and housing costs (so is not a living income). The Living wage should be the legal minimum wage in my view, after adjusting for housing and taxes. But this does not imply regional pay as we should work to normalise housing costs not set in concrete the current over inflated asset values.


Wasn't the point of the post, that politicians are facile, ineffective and superficial. As for Burke: politicians would have to have some judgment and a vision before they could achieve any effect.

Sow's ears the lot of them.


“Emma is flat wrong to say that "If you don’t have an academic career or a string of publications behind you, it can be a struggle to have your voice heard." The likes of Simon Wren-Lewis or Christian Dustmann have as much influence in Whitehall as a welfare recipient.”

You are flat (and provably) wrong in attempting to show that Emma is flat wrong in her material implication: you deny the antecedent (by indicating that the likes of Simon Wren-Lewis or Christian Dustmann *do* have academic careers or a string of publications behind them) and you affirm the consequent (by indicating that they struggle to be heard). Two logical errors do not make one good argument, and from these errors, nothing logically follows to counter Emma’s claim.

Besides which, it is clearly true that it *can* be a struggle to be heard in certain quarters if you don’t have an academic career or a string of publications behind you. Why be so silly to deny it?


Politicians are in enthrall to special interests with money, especially but not exclusively the City of London.

The Overton window on immigration is not just closed but nailed shut. We will not be persuaded. Look at the world.

The idea that politicians represent the public is naive in the extreme, and economics is used to justify the status quo, ex post facto (after the fact).

Money and power is the key to influence not academic authority, that is just political window dressing.

This is self-evident, and Emma is engaged in naive naval gazing.


More to the point, what exactly are you asking when you use the word "should" in relation to any large scale issue to do with how politics works?

I would something about as meaningful as whether the sun "should" end its life as a red giant.


In a parliamentary democracy with infrequent elections the need for politicians to engage with the electorate is slight.

In contrast, the need to engage with each other is significant, both when the politics are consensual (e.g. in coalitions) and confrontational (when you must maintain the discipline of your side). It should hardly come as a surprise then that politicians "speak a different language" and are capable of self-deluding mistakes (e.g. dodgy expenses claims). This bubble is typical of many industries and professions.

By the same token, politicians have little need to interact with "experts". Most government consists of maintaining existing orthodoxies, so occasions where we reach a fork in the road and expert opinion could prove decisive are rare.


Money is off course the most effective way of ensuring your opinions and wishes are considered.


There's one fairly straightforward way of squaring the demand for a more participative politics with the competing demand for better decisionmaking. The problem with participative decisionmaking is (at least in part) that it tends to select out social or economic groups. It's only better than representative democracy if it involves lots of people in making better decisions than politicians can.

One way of stepping closer to this is to find a playful way of getting a diverse group of disinterested people to play games with data In order to cast new light from many minds on a problem.

MPs can't defensibly ignore such evidence in their deliberations. It's not easy but it's do-able. Every attempt I've seen at participative decision making seems to attempt to side-step this.

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