I am gemused to see that Cameron has been seduced by the idea (laudable) of cutting back on government legalisation that is designed to force us to behave in ways that the government wants us to, but has instead decided to replace it with a concept known as "behavioural insight" (aka "nudge theory") which attempts to manipulate us into behaving in ways that the government approves of (eg giving more to charity, paying more taxes and drinking less)...not so laudable.
How does it do this?
Via a combination of subliminal messages and appealing to the innate human desire to be part of the social "norm" (ie "decent people like to pay more taxes", "the majority of people don't drink to excess" etc).
The theory is that people will comply with whatever "group norms" the government tells us are in play. This technique is used by dictatorships to control their populations, in extremis the state uses the "group norm" approach to encourage the population to spy on and bully those who do not comply with "approved group norm" behaviour and indeed to alienate and ostracise certain social/ethnic groups.
So enamoured is Cameron with this theory, that he has set up a secret group of "experts" who are advising him on how to apply it across government departments (see yesterday's HMRC Is Shite for one such example). Indeed so secret is the work of this group that
Nanny won't tell anyone who is in it, or what they are doing.
Anyhoo, whilst Nanny tries to play mind games with us (latest advice from the "nudge theory think tank", abolish rounds and adopt a tab system instead for paying for drinks in pubs) it is worthwhile remembering what governments are actually meant to do.
Governments are meant to provide us with a "plug in and play" environment in which we are able to live our lives freely, without hindrance, and to conduct our business with as little bureaucratic interference as possible.
Has the government provided us with a "plug in and play" environment?
No, it has not!
1 The train services treat their customers as prostrate milch cows, ripping them off with ever higher fares in return for a substandard cattle truck service.
2 Heathrow airport (the alleged hub of our airport network) regularly turns into a poorly managed refugee camp at the slightest hint of inclement weather.
3 Refuse piles high on the streets thanks to the incompetence of our overpaid unelected council officials.
4 The police store data on victims of crimes who dial 999.
5 The UK is £4.8 Trillion in debt etc.
In short we have become a third world country where the government chooses to play mind games, rather than get down to the business of fixing the shite infrastructure and broken local "democracy".
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