Friday, 30 October 2009

'My mind's made up,

don't confuse me with the facts!'

An old t-shirt I remember, you know, one of those ones your Mom puts you in when you're a kid because they think it's cute and there's nothing you can do about it because you don't yet have disposable income. The picture was of a cartoon turtle, arms folded across his chest defiantly, vigorously shaking his head. OR, it seems, they could have just put up a picture of this Labour government, fingers in ears, heads all shaking. Maybe that turtle should be Labour's new symbol.

Again the government has rejected the carefully researched findings of an apparently objective, non-political body. Well, that's not really the news -- they've already done that. Now they've gone and shot the messenger. Not only does this undermine public confidence in the government's social policy, it represents yet another missed opportunity to engage with progressive politics and policy, it's a boon to the Opposition, who won't be able to believe their luck: can you see the headlines? Come on! The guy's name is Professor Nutt!

I don't object in principle to governments rejecting scientific findings. On the contrary -- it is their duty to evaluate any such evidence and construct social policy based on decisions that necessarily need to take into account factors beyond the scientific evidence. It's just the particular way this government seems to reject findings it doesn't like, that doesn't fit it's increasingly narrow -- and unfortunately right-wing -- ideological bias. Their knees are jerking up so fast that my chin is really starting to hurt.

Like when all the evidence demonstrates that certain services are more effectively delivered by the state, using a publicly-owned, centrally-organised system, and they persist with privately-funded initiatives... Who says ideology is dead? Forgive me. I'm coming over all old-school Marxist again.

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