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April 14, 2015



"Having made a statement under duress which we believe to be false, we go onto behave in a way consistent with it."

The big difference being that manifesto lies are not made under duress. They're sales brochures written by ad-men. How else could the Tories have the cheek to claim that reducing the deficit by half is some kind of victory when their previous manifesto promised to eliminate it? They're not even remotely embarrassed by their previous lie.


They are also given huge amounts of wriggle room by the fact that no party is going to win a majority, so no party is going to bound by their manifesto. They won't need to claim force majeure, they will just need to claim "coalition agreement".

So by definition, manifestos are now just stakes in the ground prior to beginning negotiations with other parties on coalition policy.

Unless, of course, you make a pledge rather than a manifesto promise, because a pledge definitely can't be br..oh.

Chris Purnell

I read this after reading Eichengreen's 'Hall of Mirrors' and your mediamacro and bubblethink are far from time-specific to this era.


Does a promise to cut automatically denote fiscal tightening? In another political universe could it not equally plausibly denote a promise to redistribute and promote broad investment spending; for the time being, fiscally neutral or thereabouts? And, in any case, I’m naive maybe, but I would never expect to find actual economic policy in election manifestos; only ever how promised/chosen directions of travel are being dressed up for sale.


«It is, though, easy to see why they have made it. The party is simply bowing to the economically illiterate demands of mediamacro and bubblethink. When much of our ruling class - the coalition and the media - is stupid, then acting stupid yourself might be the best option.»

What about the voters? They are grown up adults, and if they are perfectly capable of seeing through the stupidity of of the coalition and the media.

In the past the propaganda of the reactionaries and the media and the established church(es) was even more oppressive, and yet large parts of the voters did vote for decades against all that, and eventually reaped the benefits.

And in any case the voters are sovereign: if they choose to hand over their vote to knaves and spivs, for whatever reasons including laziness or cognitive capture, that is democracy at its best: democracy ensures that voters suffer the consequences of their voting for knaves and spivs.

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