Tuesday 23 June 2020

Simple strategies to deceive

There are two unifying strategies underlying the PM’s approach to everything. The underlying goal is always to protect the interests of the most well-off, and the aim is to do that in a way which a sufficient number of electors in the key seats will support.
Strategy 1 is a very simple one – when in doubt, lie. Even better, when not in doubt, lie. Even when the truth would be more helpful, and even when the lies are so blatantly obvious that he can’t possibly expect anyone to believe him, the approach is still the same: lie. He knows he’s lying, we know he’s lying, and he knows that we know he’s lying, but he still does it anyway. When the lies are exposed, repeat them. It doesn’t matter – the media will broadcast even demonstrably untrue government statements as though they were true, and few will pay much attention to the timid, half-hearted, and occasional fact checks.
Strategy 2 is also amazingly simple: find a scapegoat. Nothing is better at diverting attention from your own failures than having someone else to blame. Foreigners are always a useful starting point, especially European ones who simply don’t understand how special and exceptional the UK is. And if it’s not foreigners, it’s the poor. Getting younger people to feel resentment about paying a decent pension to the old is just another example. The only people not to blame are those who own and control the wealth, and they maintain their position by ensuring that the population at large remains divided, blaming each other for their lack of wealth rather than blaming those who have hoarded it all.
Whilst it’s true that there is an anomaly in the calculation of the triple lock for pension increases as a result of the drop in wages because of the furlough schemes, the attack on the triple lock isn’t a new one. They’ve been looking for an excuse to weasel their way out of it for a while now, and I somehow doubt that they will settle for a ‘temporary’ adjustment. For those who respond that Boris Johnson has ruled out scrapping the lock, I’d refer them to strategy 1 above.
The interesting thing is that, in fact, the main beneficiaries from the triple lock aren’t current pensioners at all. Those of us receiving pensions do of course gain a little from a 2.5% increase even if there’s no inflation, but due to the power of compound interest (which Einstein apparently did not describe as the most powerful force in the universe), the main beneficiaries over the long term are the young people who will see their future pension entitlement growing as a proportion of their income over the next 30-40 years, as Chris Dillow has pointed out here. But then, convincing people to act against their own self-interest is precisely the aim of the lie and scapegoat strategy. It’s why so many blame those on benefits for their own difficulties and support the loss of their own freedoms so that those freedoms can be removed from foreigners. It was at the very heart of Brexit. It’s a strategy which works – and it will continue to work as long as a sufficient number of people are taken in by it.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Simple solution to the alleged triple lock dilemma. Apply index to a baseline of pre Covid data and disregard the artificial drop that has occurred during Covid. Not the first time for a government to ignore an inconvenient bit of info, is it ? I'm kind of perplexed by the creation of a false division/schism over pensions. Some "authoritative" twit says "ah but, pensions will have grown to some ridiculous figure by 2050" Well twit, pensioners in 2050 will not be the same as those today, very few anyway. Pensioners in 2050 will be those in the 30-40 band or slightly over today, the very demographic that the stirrers are targeting with their agitation. Its high time that state pensions started to catch up and be really valuable especially as private pension providers have proved to be such a shower of underperformers since the rush to privatising began in the late 80's in all aspects other than rewarding themselves. In other aspects of our lives that would be described as scamming or even downright fraud.