Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Rabble Rousing

“Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening,
terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in
this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities, the political, the
religious, the educational authorities who attempted to comfort us by
giving us order, rules, regulations, informing, forming in our minds their
view of reality…
To think for yourself you must question authority and
learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable, open-mindedness;
chaotic, confused, vulnerability to inform yourself.
Think for yourself.
Question authority.”

- Timothy Leary

There is a fairly stock piece of UK journalistic moaning on the BBC website 
which reads like a PR release from the associated charity. This time the sacred political buzzword “family” is out in force.
Unsurprisingly a charity which is engaged in making “the UK a better place for families and children” has designed a survey model which purports to show how families with children are going to be the worst off due to government cuts and tax policies. "This research confirms that families with children are shouldering a disproportionate burden," said Katherine Rake of the FPI.

Now I am no heartless conservative and having had a quick read of the FPI research paper it shows some fairly reasonable assumptions and appears well presented. What I find irritating is the way the report is being presented. A case in point being Ms Rake’s comment that the research ‘confirms’ anything. It is research. Based on a model. That ‘confirms’ nothing. It may suggest or indicate but it does not ‘confirm’ anything because its not empirical it is a projection. I am certain I could conduct a model showing that I alone am the most impacted individual in the UK from government austerity but that would just be my own propaganda not a confirmation.

Ms Rake is quoted again "As a result of the changes being introduced between January 2011 and April 2014 families are set to lose more than pensioner households and working-age households without children." The issue here is she means more impacted in relative percentage terms not in absolute terms as I am positive that parents with children receive far more benefit in absolute terms than the single unemployed. The changes are summarised on the following graph;

It seems that those who will be worse off at least by 2015 are the unemployed, the single parent unemployed and the unemployed couple with Children. Now I think a lot of people might actually agree that that is fair. Why should they 'earn' more when they are unemployed!

The worst part of the article to my mind is the political discourse which highlights a stock government statement defending its record and some inflammatory comments from the opposition in time honoured style;

“Yvette Coooper, says the research is a "damning verdict" on the coalition's family policies and she accused the government of being "out of touch" with the pressures on families.”

Apparently now a research model has grown from a confirmation to a damning verdict!

"The government is taking more from children than from the banks. Women and children are paying the highest price.”

This is just a horrendous piece of rhetoric. Children and unemployed people do not pay any tax. Therefore the government is at best giving them less not taking more from them! Notice she threw in the banks as the stock villain. How dull.

The BBC comment invite at the bottom of the article really sums up the tone of the journalistic and political discourse in the UK;

Do you feel that you are hardest hit by the government's tax changes? Send us your comments using the form below.”

No comments:

Post a Comment