Saturday 16 April 2016

Tim Harford's yawn

The next post (tomorrow, as it's late) will update you about More or Less's EU coverage, but first...

Here's More or Less's Tim Harford, on this week's episode, doing that elite, pro-EU thing which so gets up the nostrils of Brexiteers: the belittling yawn about the EU referendum:
Ah, yes. Perhaps you'd thought we'd forgotten the EU referendum this week.Well, don't worry, [putting on in a bored voice] we haven't - even if I sometimes wish we could.
Oh yes, Tim of the FT? Rather we all move on, would you?


  1. Yep. That is very annoying. Because these are the very same people who will tell you how essential for people to be actively involved in democracy - to get out there and make their voice heard. So when it comes to the most important constitutional decision we have to make in 40 years? - they get together for a cluster yawn. We all know why they are doing it - because they hope to leverage ennui and confusion into a Remain vote but to my mind it's a dangerous game on their part...they equally encourage abstention - and there is no doubt that abstentions will favour Leave.

  2. Since we're discussing self-proclaimed many of our wonderfully well informed political commentators would have, last autuman, predicted by this stage a Corbyn-led Labour Party leading Cameron's Conservatives by 3 points (this weekend's YouGov poll)? I don't recall anyone making that sort of prediction. In fact what I recall were predictions of complete collapse and dire performance. I always felt (and said) Corbyn would do better than the Cassandras were saying, but that's not saying much, given the predictions were so dire. Is it time for Dan Hodges to run naked through Whitehall again?

    How many lessons do we need? None of the bankers saw the credit crunch despite having their noses up to the glass. None of the pollsters saw the Cameron single party government coming (and neither did Cameron for that matter). None of the political commentators saw Corbyn performing so well. None of the those banging the drum for migration ever thought in their worst nightmares that something like New Year's Eve Cologne would ever happen. All the bright promise of the Arab Spring as told to us by enthusiastic reporters is now as desert dust.

    There's a big lesson here for me - we need to develop self-government. Our collective judgements on these big issues is as likely to be correct as that of the experts and will in any case at least be our judgement - plus (unlike experts) if events prove us wrong we will simply change our collective mind, rather than trying to prove the events wrong.

  3. Funny you should say that. I'm just now catching up on the last Question Time (from Doncaster), and once again the BBC is unable to rig a pro-EU audience. It's astonishing. They stacked the panel 3:2, of course.

    When Dimbleby was trying to move on from the very lengthy EU discussion (after about 20 minutes already), he said that over half the questions they had for that episode were about the EU.

    "Some people think are getting bored of the subject, but Question Time audiences are clearly not."

    A couple minutes before that, Dimbleby skipped over the next scheduled question (they do line them up beforehand, then go random after those are done) said that they'd heard some pro-EU questions, and now wanted to hear a pro-Leave question.

    "Oh, my God!"

    The camera didn't quite show it, but clearly tons of hands went up, with much tittering from the audience.

    Just over 30 minutes on it, even though the BBC didn't want to. I'm more convinced than ever that the QT audience is a barometer on this issue, and my money is on Brexit.

  4. I see now it's because they wanted to rig the audience to push the tax agenda and whip up an anti-Tory frenzy. Probably not that hard to do up there, but there was at least one obvious activist there shouting about the evil rich.


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