Bah! Morons, the world is run by morons

This really is getting silly:

You might remember the story last November about police being issued with a 90-page elf ‘n’ safety manual on riding a bike. It was rubbish, as the Association of Chief Police Offers was quick to point out:

This work was neither requested nor drawn up by ACPO and we do not endorse it.

It was put forward by a group of well meaning police officers with an interest in this area. ACPO will not be taking it forward.

Some enthusiastic cycling policemen proposed a cycling guide for the force and it was rejected. Just another non-story (albeit one that snuck into the Independent). Except that, er, it’s now popped up in the government White Paper on police reform:

Whole shopping trolleys’ worth of guidance is loaded onto the police during the course of a year. Whether this is guidance for officers on how to dress or 92 pages on how to ride a bike – this has to be reduced.

It’s not the first time a Tory’s used tabloid rubbish to make a point, but you’d think a government document laying out policy proposals might have better standards of evidence…

I hope Jamie doesn’t mind this being exerted in full but this needs to be publicised. There is no reason to base policy on lies, there are enough real problems in the world to worry about.

Hey look over there!

This is why, despite my occasional scepticism I am still convinced of the need to blog the media until they are honest. I’ll leave the conclusion to the ever excellent Angry Mob:

My point is, as it always is, that tabloid journalism has real consequences for all of us – whether we read a tabloid newspaper or not. We are all passive tabloid readers, unavoidably inhaling the hatred, the outrage and the distorted media narratives on a range of topics that impact on our lives. You cannot stop inhaling tabloid messages by turning your head any more than you can stop inhaling a rank smoke that engulfs us all. In the end we all have a choice, we either quietly gulp it down and pretend it does not exist, or we do everything in our power to challenge it and stop it at its source.


The Tory’s History Tsar Niall Ferguson in massive hypocrisy shock

We all know Niall Ferguson. He is the adequate historian who has turned into a dreadful economic commentator, empire apologist and who has been given control of the Tory’s History Curriculum.

In 2003 he wrote in favour of George W Bush’s deficts, calling him the “Gun and Butter” President. Today he is a loud critic of deficits and has repeatedly predicted Armageddon for the UK and the US if they do not slash public spending.

Cognitive Dissonance? Its deafening.

Delightfully Matthew Yglesias and his intern Ryan have taken up Brad DeLong‘s challenge and spliced two Ferguson articles together to illustrate how little credence we should give this man’s policy recommendations. 2003 Ferguson is in bold, 2010 Ferguson is in italics and there is much more at Ygelsias’s blog which I heartily recommend: or butter: this is the choice historians conventionally say that governments face. The administration is currently engaged in an audacious — some would say reckless — experiment to disprove this theory. To judge by his actions, the President’s response to the question “Guns or butter?” is: “Thanks, I’ll take both.” This, in short, is the guns and butter presidency.

Are there precedents for such a combination? What’s to say this deficit-spending won’t work? Keynes would tell us that in the current environment we must boost aggregate demand.

Certainly. Long before Keynes was even born, weak governments in countries from Argentina to Venezuela used to experiment with large peace-time deficits to see if there were ways of avoiding hard choices. The experiments invariably ended in one of two ways. Either the foreign lenders got fleeced through default, or the domestic lenders got fleeced through inflation.

But the United States has broken the guns or butter rule before. Under President Ronald Reagan, substantial increases in military spending coincided with comparable increases, relative to gross domestic product, in personal consumption — that proportion of G.D.P. that the public, as opposed to the government, spends. The crucial point, of course, is that in the short term at least, fiscal policy is not a zero-sum game.

But this doesn’t respond to long run inflationary fears. When economies were growing sluggishly, that could be slow in coming. But there invariably came a point when money creation by the central bank triggered an upsurge in inflationary expectations.

But, as Keynes remarked, in the long run we are all dead! Aren’t these “inflationary expectations” priced into the markets? [cont…]

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