Left Outside

Science says… personalise the cuts

Simon says… stick out your tongue.


Simon says… play with a Siberian Tiger Cub.


Simon says… emphasise with the 500,000 public sector workers who are going to lose their jobs and with the elderly and most vulnerable who have seen the budgets of the councils who care for them cut by 30%.


Simon says… feel outrage that the Treasury are pretending that the richest are hardest hit by assuming that the loss of child benefit to a millionaire is a greater hardship than to those on lower incomes and be angry that they are willing to risk inflicting “spiralling poverty” on millions.


This chimp ain’t emphasising and this chimp ain’t outraged. He’s overwhelmed and unresponsive. Why when faced with the biggest assault on the welfare state since its foundation is he so calm?

Because statistics don’t move people to action, they don’t anger and they don’t make you drop down and weep at the senselessness of it all (as you undoubtedly would if you did not have some threshold to keep you sane).

When a small number of people suffer we can picture their anguish, the details of James Ross found tortured in Portugal are more easily intelligible to us than the horror of the Congo, a point made forcefully by Ben Goldacre.

If the left wants a tactic for fighting the cuts then it needs to abandon statistics as propaganda, a billion pounds mean nothing these days and a 100,000 people suffering is just a statistic.

These cuts need to be personalised, and it needs to be made clear that they are unnecessary. Bendy Girl has done us a great service in providing one of the first personal reactions, we need more.

Filed under: Politics

When NGDP is Depressed, Employment is Depressed

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Increase NGDP, Put These People Back to Work

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October 2010
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Politics Blogs


Paul Sagar

Left Outside is always worth a read for passionate, and frequently irreverent, analysis and comment.

Sunny Hundal

Oi! Enough of the cheek!

Chris Dillow

Left Outside is, I think, entirely wrong

John Band

This might be the least well informed piece I’ve read on LC, which is quite an accolade.

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