Jan 282010

What the f*ck is wrong with you British people? Seriously, is every single one of you on crack?

How in the name of all that is holy and good does THIS pass for effective campaigning by an opposition party that wants to be the party of Government?


We can make you behave

Even the Guardian is taking the piss out of this idea, which speaks volumes.

…a Conservative government will impose a seven-day cooling off period for store credit cards, so shoppers can’t immediately rack up debts on them when they sign up at the till. That’s a far less intrusive way to tackle problem debt than banning store cards, for example, or introducing a new tax.


A Conservative government will require all public bodies that want to launch marketing campaigns to state precisely what behaviour change the advertising is designed to bring about, and an element of the advertising agency fee will be made contingent on achieving the desired outcome


The new insights from behavioural economics and social psychology are helping us to apply that principle to today’s problems, and cut burdensome regulation and costs. In fact, when you come to think about it, it’s all pretty rational, isn’t it?


I can’t believe that, in this once-great nation, the populace has created for itself the choice between authoritarian control-freaks and authoritarian control-freaks. Is this really what you want? People in absolute charge of you who all think they know better than you? People who think you need a cooling-off period, like a child on the naughty step, before you can make a decision about what to do with your own damn money? People who think you need to be told by public agencies how to use your own brains to make rational decisions? Do you really find life such a complicated hardship that you want a government to hold your hand from cradle to grave?

What the hell could possibly make you think George Osborne knows better than you how you should live your life? Why on earth should people whose only skill is kissing your ass have this kind of responsibility? What set of facts makes you believe that the people who run your country are immune to irrational action?


Answers on a postcard. I’m off to have a drink.

UPDATE: Alex Massie writes in the Spectator:

Kinder, gentler, subtler authoritarianism is still authoritarianism and makes a mockery of Tory rhetoric. That rhetoric is quite appealling but when you actually look at what the Tories actually want to do then, more often than not, their plans bear little or no relation to the meaning of their words. So why should their words be taken seriously?

Then again, this should not be a surprise. As James points out in his excellent column this week, Cameron and Osborne run an unprecedentedly centralised operation inside the Tory party. There’s little reason to suppose that their approach to government will be any different. Your freedom is severely constrained by their idea of that freedom. But that’s ok because Muesli Authoritarianism is good for you!

Beneath, commenter Fergus Pickering likes the credit-card cooling-off idea:

Actually I think the store card idea is a good one. But perhaps, Alex, you haven’t yet had the pleasure of teenage daughters. When you have had, that’s when I’ll listen to you on this. Teenage girls spend what they haven’t got. It’s in the genes.

To which I can only say, Fergus, if you need the government to police your daughters’ spending habits, you should never have become a parent. And really – ‘it’s in the genes’? You sexist asshole.

Meanwhile, I am reminded that Osborne co-wrote this article with one Richard Thaler. Thaler has a history of co-writing, as it is he who co-wrote the original libertarian paternalist Bible, Nudge, with none other than our old friend, Cass Sunstein.

  12 Responses to “The very definition of sinister”


    ‘Stenders is on tonight, followed by X-factor and Strictly come talent birdwatching with Beetle Bailey.

    Dumb down the populace enough, and anything is possible.

  2. And why did you emigrate here?

    It’s ok, we’re all in the same boat.

  3. Well, I’m open to suggestions Bella. However, I also read Pajamas Media and it seems that you Americans are stuck in the same mess as us. I rather suspect that the average French peasant is also suffering. Stringing them all up from lamp posts might help. Failing that perhaps the best thing is to try and avoid any contact with them.

  4. PS. I didn’t mean we should string up the French peasantry or avoid them! Sorry…..

  5. I don’t. I left.

  6. Yes, steady on with the blanket condemnation of us British, old Yankee thing, after all it’s not as if we elected a government that marches around the world bombing the shit out of nearly defenceless Johnny Foreigners for the imagined crimes of their leaders, is it? …ah fukkit

    we haven’t had a conservative Conservative party for many years now…..glad to see that libertarians are as quick to use the “sexist” word as socialists are though.

    • Excuse me, Mr Rob, but the idea that profligacy is a genetic characteristic of teenage girls *is* sexist. Socialists also use the words ‘puppies’ and ‘watercolours’. So what’s your fucking point?

      • Are feeble attempts at humour always to be taken seriously – are you so quick to anger, and so ready to use bad language? Apparently so….and in your tweet (displayed above – supra – so no spying involved) that
        “Apparently mentioning sexism is un-libertarian because socialists use the word, too. We purging the language now in our quest for purity?”
        you might notice you have made a few leaps of logic beyond what was actually said.

  7. And why do you say that mentioning sexism is un-libertarian? Is it? I do not profess to know very much about libertarianism, but I gather that you do.

  8. I thought I was a libertarian, but my effective control of my bunch of teenage daughters means I must be a nudge authoritarian. I’m confused, perhaps schizoid. I’m off to join the conservatives.

  9. Welcome aboard old chap!

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