Thursday, February 24, 2011

The pathetic hypocrisy of the Yes and No campaigns

Politics, as I so often point out is full of such much rank hypocrisy it really does become absurd in the extreme sometimes and today is no different. In fact, today is especially funny because we have a convergence between the debate over the "cuts agenda" and the "AV referendum", and I'm rather pleased to say it all revolves around my personal little equation (which should really be given a name) that goes:
Ul = c \ uc

That is, an argument will be deployed that talks of an arbitrary unit loss (Ul), which is calculated by taking the value of a proposed cut (c) and dividing it by the unit cost (uc) of the given arbitrary thing. For example, if the unit cost of one teacher is £1, and a cut of £1000 in back office functionality is proposed, then it will be argued that the cut means a loss of 1000 teachers.
You see, yesterday we heard much about a False Economy report which played loose and fast in some places with the little cut over unit cost is equal to unit loss, and, quite rightly, it was slated by the target of the report, the Coalition.

But, we also saw the No2AV campaign come under fire too, because it was playing with the equation too if we change the meaning of "c" from cut to cost.Their argument in adverts was that the referendum cost (c) could be shown to represent a unit loss (Ul) if it was arbitrarily divided by the unit cost (uc) of a chosen emotive subject, like say a cardiac unit for a premature/ill baby - complete with picture of baby natch!

Naturally this has led to much screaming from the Yes campaign about how No2AV is disgustingly pushing a "vote No or the baby dies" line. Will Straw is busy posting on Twitter for example saying that political advertising should conform to decent standards and the same rules as other forms of advertising.

He's also posted on Left Foot Forward about how this is "the nasty campaign" and it's hit an "all time low". Now, he's probably got a point there. Political advertising that plays loose and fast with figures and pushes arbitrary extrapolations probably shouldn't be something we should expect.

However, you have to wonder whether Will Straw and other's sudden conversion to requirement decency has been brought about by a brief bout of memory myopia, because I don't remember any of the Yes supporters condemning the following little advert that pushed a "Vote Labour or you'll die of cancer" line during the election campaign. If I remember rightly, anyone who had an issue with it was displaying faux outrage especially if they were not on the Left.

Now,I'm not going to accuse the Labour-led*** Yes2AV campaign of trying to appear "super-outraged" to use a Sunny Hundal term but rather I'm going to point out how ridiculously fucking absurd they're being.

Not only are they complaining that No2AV are using spurious logic that they also use in relation to the impact cuts. They're also rather miffed that the No2AV campaign are doing political advertising that they themselves have supported in the past.

Let's be clear right now. Both sides are being fucking morons, and both sides need to grow the fuck up.

*** The use of the term "Labour-led" is a deliberate piss-take out of the way people like Will Straw call the the No campaign "Tory-led" when it is clear that both campaign are cross-party in their make-up, and "evidence-based blogger" should stick to reality.

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