what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nudging and lying


Rain last evening has brought cool. My ever-resourceful journal put me this morning onto another House of Lords inquiry which has been going on for some time – into „behavioural change” of all things – and onto about 1,000 pages of evidence related mainly to changing eating, drinking and travelling habits. An amazing freebie! I’ve long considered that policy advisers and makers (who churn out legislation) did not give enough attention to the numerous factors which make people behave the way they do. Some years back, I developed a table on this – which I keep updating. A fairly recent version can be accessed at page 73 here.I’m just flicking through the evidence – but already a couple of things have caught my attention – a fascinating table on ages of public service development in a paper on managing the impossibility of expectation – public services in 2020 from a new website. And an interesting submission from the Central Office of Information (COI) – which immediately raised in my mind the question of its relationship with the Statistical Office (which has been downgraded by the Coalition Government and whose chairman-designate has just resigned after a tough gruelling from MPs). I discover that the COI is also heading for extinction – after a review by a State Secretary (Matt Tee) who bears the title Permament Secretary for Government Communications but who seems to me to embody all that is worst in Orwellian Nuspeak. Instead of analysis, there is scoping and benchmarking. "Partnership” is nuspeak for privatisation. Indeed a new verb is invented "to brigade” as in
Government should agree a direct communication strategy, taking into account its priorities, the audiences it is trying to reach and the channels available to it. The strategy should brigade communication around a small number of themes.
And the axing of the COI is phrased as "its brand should cease to be used” !! These are weasel words – for wankers. Better to say that "government communications” is a synonym for…..lies!
Finally a nice gypsy rythm
And bring back Hieronymus Bosch!!! What would he make of our world in 2011? This is "ship of fools"

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