Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins – Greg_L-W.
GUEST POST by Richard North:
HE Questions whether The Self Appointed self important Westminster Bubble clique are Out Of Touch.
Richard North makers a very sound point and for clear provenance one need only look back at the election less than 2 months ago!
You will remember that the election results had the illiteratti of politics totally wrong footed, eating their hats, kilts and words in disbelief – along with the media – none more so than the pundits at the BBC who had spent so much time interviewing eachother that they had come to believe their own propaganda!
Some will remember that I and Richard North were predicting the outcome of the election with near pin point accuracy back in October and November whilst the political elite, the pundits and the Westminster bubble were still in denial even after the exit polls were showing Richard and I were spot on right.
It may have cost us a few friends along the way, false friends who having told us we were wrong and did not know what we were talking about, friends who were up until the last minute not only suggesting a vote for Ukip would produce a landslide and that Farage would win in Thanet – friends to self important to admit they were wrong to this day!
Perhaps they will pay a little more attention now and not be duped by the smooth talking, inept & outdated likes of Bill Cash, Nigel Farage, Ian Milne, Matt Elliott, Rodney Leach, Dan Hannan, Keith Carson, EuroFacts, Democracy Movement, Freedom Today, Ukip and their ilk feeding off of each other and the Westminster bubble; as they perpetuate the folly of their last referendum in 1975 which they clearly lost due to the egos of those in the NO Campaign, just as they will surely loose this time and for the same reasons.
For details of the EU’s next treaty, when the lock will be brought to bind in member states and further centralise the political and economic control the EUroPhiles could do worse than read CLICK HERE
In legal terms, the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of published content rests with the publisher. Thus, where a newspaper might commission named authors to write a piece, the ultimate responsibility doesn’t change.
Given the flood of rubbish that we are seeing in the media on EU issues, therefore, most often it is the newspapers rather than the author(s) that we challenge. And, over the years, we have been active in pointing out their manifest failings.
But so devastatingly poor has their output now become that, for a long time I have been arguing that the legacy media (which includes newspapers) are institutionally incapable of reporting EU issues properly. I’ve even gone so far as to assert that they lack the institutional architecture which would enable them to do so.
Generally, such is their dereliction that they do not even realise when they are making errors, or allowing their authors to do so. When they are told, mostly they lack the honesty to admit they are wrong. As a result, they close down the means by which they could learn from their mistakes, and thus perpetuate their own ignorance.
As a result, pointing out media errors has provided a rich source of material for this blog, and in many ways we gain a perverse satisfaction from seeing the media repeat their errors. Thus do they confirm our thesis, again and again and again.
Very recent events have done nothing at all to shake our thesis and, as time passes, we see so many examples of the institutional media incompetence that we have occasionally wondered whether it is possible to have a free and fair referendum.
Fortunately, the grip of the legacy media is slackening, and although the self-referential politico-media loop survives – with constant reinforcement from the increasingly lacklustre London think-tank circuit – the number of passive onlookers diminishes by the day. People may visit media websites but fewer and fewer people rely on them. We go elsewhere for our information.
By way of an example, the media might assail us with discussions on tariffs in respect of the EU’s Single Market. But knowledgeable people (which means those who do not rely in the media for their information), know that that main barriers to trade have long ceased to be tariffs, and have become non-tariff barriers. Unlike the media, we know that they are increasing to the extent that they are far more troublesome and expensive as trade barriers than the tariffs ever were.
Among the people who know this is the growing band of Flexcit readers – responsible now for over 21,000 downloads. Yet such intelligence escapes the media writers (whether staff of guests) because Flexcit lacks the magical quality of “prestige”. And only if material is imbued with this property will it gain the attention of this snobbish, dying industry.
However, this “information snobbery” goes much further than merely excluding sources because their authors come from the wrong side of the track. The “not invented here” syndrome extends to any source outside the London claque, even when the originator has unimpeachable credentials and huge global stature.
Thus we see the authors of a recent think-tank paper prefer a source of some antiquity from within their comfort zone. Even though it expresses bizarre and long-discredited ideas (except, that is, to the London claque), it takes precedence over a more recent paper from Pascal Lamy, one time European Commission Trade Commissioner and former Director General of the WTO.
Published in English by the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) in Brussels, this paper might just as well be written in Swahili as far as the London claque is concerned. As to the concepts discussed – entirely familiar to the readers of this blog and those familiar with Flexcit – they might just as well come from another universe.
In the wider world (such as inhabited by Pascal Lamy), information is most often assessed on merit – but that doesn’t apply to the London circuit. Recruiting what Nigel Farage calls “posh boys” (and girls) for your editorial board will gain you far more brownie points than mere factual information. There is no premium at all for accuracy or depth – “prestige” is everything.
Furthermore, in their closed, self-referential little world, the “posh boys” (and girls) think they own the agenda. Certainly, with ready access to an incompetent legacy media – which is also largely London-based – they have high visibility and gain in “prestige” from being published in “prestigious” journals. But it is merely an exercise in mutual coprophagia. It impresses only the denizens of the bubble.
These were the people who, almost to a man (and woman), failed to predict the outcome of the general election, when we were quietly confident that the Conservatives were going to win. Many of the self-proclaimed financial gurus in the claque missed the signs of the 2009 financial crisis coming, and still don’t understand why it happened.
Nevertheless, to help them remedy their profound ignorance, it has been put to us that we should expend time and effort “educating” these people – leading them to the path of righteousness. Despite having been ignored, sneered at, and generally treated with disdain, we should now extend to them the benefit of our hard-won learning, even though most of the material is contained within Flexcit, which they can’t be bothered to read.
But not for nothing did I invent the phrase “constructive ignorance”. It describes a state affecting certain people, where they deliberately deprive themselves of information. Most often, they revel in their own ignorance as they limit themselves to “prestige” sources, mostly from within their own circles.
Unfortunately, rather like alcoholics who can’t be treated until they admit they have a problem, these “information snobs” can’t be tutored or informed until they are prepared to admit what they are. They then need to recognise that they are neither the centre of the universe, nor the fount of all knowledge and wisdom. They also have to acknowledge that other people, some of them despicable, lowly creatures, might actually know more than they do – a lot more.
Such presumption in lowly creatures, however, is most often regarded as “arrogance” (better translated as having ideas above one’s station). The effect of this property is further to legitimise the exclusion of information. If one can dismiss a source as “arrogant”, or confer a base motivation, it absolves the bubble-dweller from taking any notice of it at all.
By this means, we see created the Catch-22 nightmare where advocacy of a message from an “inferior” source is matched by an equal or greater determination that it should not be heard. Only if one is deferential and discrete is a work regarded favourably, except that it then remains unknown and is ignored anyway.
Confronting the nature of this problem, one is reminded of that wonderful joke, which asks: how many social workers does to take to change a light bulb? The answer, contrary to expectation, is one – but the light bulb really has to want to change.
Despite the put-downs, the sneering and the studied indifference, we are still keen to help spread the messages that win the referendum – as opposed to bolstering their progenitors’ egos. The readers of this blog (and this writer) collectively represent a powerful resource, with unparalleled skills and knowledge. We are here to be used and are remarkably liberal with our information and who has access to it.
But if the “information snobs” are determined not to listen – are determined not to read anything we produce – we cannot help them. If they remain attached to their belief that they are superior beings who can learn nothing from us “plebs”, they will continue to fester in their own ignorance. Much as we might regret it, there is nothing anyone can do. And we cannot afford to waste our time on them. Our focus has to be on those who appreciate it, and can make best use of it.
And that, despite the presumption of the gilded circle, is actually the majority. The monopoly of information provision (and analysis) went long ago, and the amateur efforts we so often see handed down from the centre merely invite derision (and occasionally despair). The “information snobs” are the losers – they’re just too ignorant to know it.
To view the original article and the Forum for comments CLICK HERE
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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