Cameron’s Nudge that knocked democracy down: mind the Mindspace.

The ‘nudge unit’ has been of concern to me for some time. I think it should be more widely publicised given the nature of the risks it poses to us all. The students I studied with wanted a psychological ‘edge’ for their business marketing strategies and read, feverishly, any literature promoting ‘psychological selling’! I rue the day our lecturer introduced these youngsters to conditioning!

Politics and Insights

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There is a clear pattern of alarming and extremely anti-democratic policies being formulated by the Coalition that are designed to protect the interests of the very wealthy; to stifle debate, challenges and opposition; to permit political and corporate corruption whilst obscuring it; to restrict access to justice for victims of government and corporate corruption and oppression; to remove accountability and transparency, and there is also an increasing detachment of policies from wider public needs and interests.

One of our fundamental freedoms, as human beings, is that of decision-making regarding our own lives and experiences. To be responsible for our own thoughts, reflections, intentions and actions is generally felt to be an essential part of what it means to be human. Of course there are social and legal constraints on some intentions and actions, especially those that may result in harming others, and quite rightly so.

There are other constraints which…

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If It Isn’t Osborne, It’s Oborne; No, The UK Will Not Go Bankrupt. EVER

TheCritique Archives

(Well, Not Unless It Chooses To.)

by Martin Odoni

One recurring myth about the National Debt, a myth that simply refuses to release its expiring gasp, has been given plenty of fresh oxygen once again this week, in the aftermath of the Autumn Statement by George Gideon Osborne – our economic mastermind par excellence*. One example of this is from the Chancellor’s near-namesake at the Daily Telegraph, Peter Oborne, who wrote an article criticising Osborne for having a far less impressive hand on the public finances than the man himself seems to imagine.

On the one hand, it is quite refreshing that the Telegraph, of all newspapers, is willing to take a Conservative Party Chancellor down a peg or seven. In recent times certainly, when he has not been looking suspiciously trippy, Osborne has looked much too pleased with himself for ‘achieving’ a year of modest growth in GDP, which happened

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The Fake Anti-Corporatism of Fuehrer Farage

How do we get this message across to potential working class UKIP voters? (Given that the BBC and the media are relentlessly marketing the UKIP rhetoric!) Someone please put on the megaphone and make as much noise as I do in my little town!

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

There are several pieces of interest in this fortnight’s edition of Private Eye. One of these, on page 5, is the item Landing on Mayfair, which demolishes the claim by UKIP’s generalissimo earlier this month (November 2014) that he and his party stand for ‘radical change’ from ‘corporatist politics’. The Eye states that it must therefore have been a totally different Nigel Farage, who in May last year – 2013 – went to an exclusive party in Mayfair at the offices of the hedge fund Odey Asset Management, hosted by Crispin Odey and attended by a number of City financiers.

The article then gives the details of the amount of sums big business, and particularly the financial sector, has given to UKIP. Harwood Capital Management’s boss Christopher Mills donated £50,000. Odey gave £22,000, and Arron Banks, the insurance tycoon, has promised a cool £1 million. Furthermore, UKIP’s treasurer…

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Cameron’s pre-election contract: a catalogue of lies

Not really much more to say on this. …. Despite the efforts of the Tory PR machine to spirit these things away, read on……..

Politics and Insights

I felt that this post was very worth preserving from Conservativehome, since it is a signed contract between the Conservatives and UK citizens, the insincerity of which is very evident four years on from when it was written. I took the liberty of converting the PDF into JPEG digital images, to preserve an exact copy of the contract, just in case the Tories decide to delete the original – well they do have form, after all. (See: Some of the promises the Tories are trying to delete from the internet  and  Lynton Crosby’s staff deleted valid criticism from Wikipedia, for example.)                              

“So this is our contract with you. I want you to read it and – if we win the election – use it to hold us to account. If we don’t deliver our…

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A reminder of the established standards and ethics of Public Office, as the UK Coalition have exempted themselves

Owen Jones being echoed here. Grab a copy of ‘The Establishment’ for even more scary stuff like this!

Politics and Insights

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How policies are justified is increasingly being detached from the aims and consequences of them, partly because democratic processes and basic human rights are being disassembled or side-stepped, and partly because the current government employs the widespread use of a “malevolent benevolence”type of propaganda to intentionally divert us from the aims and the consequences of their ideologically (rather than rationally) driven policies.

An example of such propaganda is the common use of words such as “support”, “incentives”, “responsibility” and “fairness” to legitimise welfare cuts during a recession and the punitive benefit sanctions regime introduced by the Coalition. (I’ve written at length about this elsewhere on this site).

Furthermore, policies have become increasingly detached from public interests and needs.

Transparency International are a politically non-partisan, independent organisation whose mission is to prevent corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society, particularly in governments…

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Is this the best human rights correction ever? Or the worst?

UK Human Rights Blog

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.11.53Even by the usual brazen standards of human rights reporting, this correction from The Daily Mail stands out. Obviously, we weren’t meant to take Richard Littlejohn’s August 2014 comment piece seriously, it being semi-rabid comment bait, but surely the article should have included a health warning to that effect?

In”seriousness”, the Mail’s response to the false claim that “Others have won the ‘right’ to heroin and gay porn behind bars” is pathetic. The claim which has been corrected was not presented as a joke and it would not have been understood as one. As it happens, Littlejohn was probably referring to the longstanding human rights myth that a serial killer, Dennis Nilsen, was allowed to receive hardcore gay porn in jail thanks to human rights law. His case was in actual fact refused permission to proceed in the High Court – page 30 of this government report gives  more detail:

Dennis…

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BBC uses unattributed quotes from Tory ministers and reports them as facts

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the BBC!)

Have a look at the extraordinary last paragraph of this article on the NHS, in which the BBC is clearly reporting pure government propaganda as fact:

BBC: The Conservative and Lib Dem coalition government has increased NHS spending each year during the current Parliament and both parties are committed to the founding values of the NHS that no-one, regardless of income, should be deprived of the best care.

Now compare these quotes from Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt from a couple of years ago and the (strangely anonymous) BBC reporter’s (supposed) own words from the article:

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These are not facts. They are the opinions of a government minister being reported as facts by the BBC. And they’re not even true.

That’s not news. It’s propaganda.

Mind you, I don’t know why the reporter who wrote the article is so keen to remain anonymous.

I mean, we…

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