Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Political Class Watch

I have been thinking about this post I made a few days ago where I talked about how disappointed I am in general with political discourse these days. In particular I hate the dishonesty, distortion and manufactured outrage that so often accompanies it.

Because I see this so often it can get to the point where it washes over me but that is not right so in an attempt to try and document what I am talking about I will post instances of it on here whenever I come across it. I will make sure the title of each post of this nature is "Political Class Watch" and it will be one of the labels also.

To kick things off, here are a couple of very low level things that I have noticed. It may seem petty for me to raise them but they are subtly representative of what I am talking about (albeit there will be much more blatant examples to come).

  1. On Newsnight just after the PBR, Yvette Cooper was being questioned by Jeremy Paxman and one of the questions he asked included an incorrect calculation about the effect of the 2.5% VAT cut (he said that the cut was equivalent to £2.50 for every £100 - in fact it is about 2.13% as I already alluded to in this post). Now Cooper has a BA in PPE and an MA in Economics from Harvard. I am certain she knew that this was a miscalculation (she is always on top of her brief) but she made no attempt to correct this and let the anomolous calculation stand. Because I have a mathematical background myself this stuck out like a sore thumb for me but I suspect many people will not have noticed and hence the government's action seems better than it actually is.
  2. Peter Hain has been claiming that his name has been cleared in the inquiry about the fund-raising for his deputy leadership campaign. This is not true. The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence and their statement said they "could not prove Mr Hain handled the unreported donations.". This is far from "clearing" him, but he (and other Labour figures) have repeated this so much in the media that it is now common currency that he has been cleared. Again, this is a subtle difference and is symptomatic of the way politicians tend to operate. By the way, this specific way of operating was typical of the MO of Alistair Campbell and is well documented in Nick Jones' book "Sultans of Spin".
I will post more when I come across them

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