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January 06, 2015


Tony Yates

At the zero bound they could be considerably greater than one. 3.5 isn't an outlandish estimate based on estimated models.


Better that they all say "Vote for us, you'll still be fucked but you'll probably be marginally better off than with the other lot"


worth noting that ridiculous hyperbole is becoming standard operating procedure for all parties at all times. Seven days to save the pound, last chance to save the NHS (which seems to be an annual campaign) et al.

Much of this is also reflected in public health messaging as warnings over the dangers of smoking and drunk driving become increasingly dramatic whilst the gains from such campaigns are seeing declining returns.

My gut feeling is that this isn't only due to politicians (or public health professionals) over estimating the impact of policy, although that's bound to be a factor. More that in response to declining gains through campaigning the struggling communicator tends to shout louder rather than look at changing the medium or the message - which might be more challenging for them.

From experience in looking at public health campaigns the real challenge professionals face is that they're often the wrong people to deliver the message as they don't have the necessary credibility or reach - they're just seen as nagging officials. Increasingly they'll work with charities with greater levels of trust to engage with members of the public that don't engage with mainstream health campaigns.

Mainstream politicians don't have the option of using a trusted third party so they've only really got the option of shouting louder in order to try and get the attention of an increasingly antipathetic electorate who just don't trust them. This helps feed the minority parties who are able to engage by taking an anti-politics view that is often culturally rather than policy based.


My problem with David Cameron is that he doesn't seem to understand what an efficiency saving is. Every other word out of his superficial lips is efficiency.

Some of the ConDem austerity has resulted in efficiency savings but more often than not what we are presented with is cuts, plain and simple. We are not getting the same output for less inputs or anything like that. So when David Cameron claims he is making efficiency savings he is either thick beyond measure or a lying bastard. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.

It is funny that the Tories say we need austerity to avoid poverty but that is exactly what austerity is causing, real wages have seen the biggest sustained fall since records began, food banks are exploding etc. The Tory logic appears to be this: we need to create poverty in order to avoid poverty. I ask you is Cameron thick beyond measure or a lying bastard?

Matt Moore

You may also remember "24 hours to save the NHS". That was two years ago right?

Dave Timoney

Re PolicyGMCVO's observation: "ridiculous hyperbole is becoming standard operating procedure for all parties at all times". Twas ever thus. In 1945 Churchill claimed that the Labour Party's manifesto would require "some form of Gestapo" in order to be implemented, which was not merely hyperbolic but in poor taste, given the circumstances.

The belief that the electorate can only be stimulated by strong meat is common among the elite, and is an extension of the traditional reactionary view that the common herd are incapable of understanding complex issues.

Focus groups and the patronising drivel of TV and the broadsheets ("so what does it all mean?") are as much a symptom of this as the simplistic rhetoric of the tabloids.


pablopatito says

"Better that they all say "Vote for us, you'll still be fucked but you'll probably be marginally better off than with the other lot" Which sounds amusing and is hardly a motivating message!

But I am not sure this is true. I think as a matter of fact the cuts by the Coalition fall overwhelmingly on the people on low incomes and who depend on welfare benefits and state social services. For the people affected by the cuts the effects are not marginal at all but very substantial. These cuts have no economic justification at all and are just class war. An exercise in ideology of the worst kind. Many of the cuts will probably be bad for the economy, but even if they are neutral they still are social policy disasters. So glib amusement is not really justified.


Set me thinking about the stratification of western societies. What layers are there - workers/admin/managers/ponderers/bullshitters/strategists/politicians/investors/bankers. Then how many work in each layer and how useful are they. I fear that we are tending to accumulate largish numbers in the more useless layers as stagnation makes the remaining useful layers less attractive. As for elections, a pox on all of them.


It's the narcissism of small differences.

As political parties and politicians become ever closer together in terms of policy, background and mindset, all differences need to be exaggerated.

In a world where the average person gives little thought to politics, big, striking messages are needed to get through to get attention (at the expense of truth and sense of proportion). No wonder the press and politicians supply them.

I remember a Daily Mail front page a few months ago: "Bin Collections: The Great Betrayal!". If Judas Iscariot's worst crime was decreasing the frequency of bin collections, I doubt Dante would have placed him in the centre of Hell, having his head chewed by Satan.

An Alien Visitor

"I remember a Daily Mail front page a few months ago: "Bin Collections: The Great Betrayal!""

rather than being hyperbole, this could simply reflect progress. I.e. The issue today isn't how many are dead as a result of plague but things like frequency of bin collections. personally it is an issue that needs to be taken seriously, but in a sober manner.

Your approach is dangerous, as you can't see progress, and when you can't see progress you can more easily slip you back into regression.


@An Alien Visitor

I agree with you. I don't mean to demean things like the frequency of bin collections. In fact, competently doing "little" things like this day in day out affect our welfare more than more headline-grabbing events and initiatives.

And I agree that it is a happy day when the nation's greatest worry is bin collections. "Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes" etc.

And you seem to agree with me - "but in a sober manner". This was may real criticism of the piece. Not the substance, but the emotional language. What hope is there of a sober debate over emotive issues like immigration and terrorism if we can't talk soberly of more prosaic issues like bin collections.

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