Ireland: Six years ago last week Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised and as the belated Oireachtas Banking Inquiry trundles along mainly rehashing old news, enduring government spin and lies that damage the economy, were also on display. By Saturday, old-style Irish political journalism, which has much in common with the sports variety, was also on display, and Stephen Collins, political editor of The Irish Times, judged that the governing coalition had recovered its "nerve."
"The message from Kenny and his senior ministers was that the economic recovery has provided the Government with a strong message to sell but they need to do a much better job of it," Collins wrote.
It did not matter to Collins and others that Enda Kenny, taoiseach/ prime minister, could say:
It appears from the official press release and the print media reports at least, that there was no explanation as to why a) the 250,000 total conflicts with Central Statistics Office (CSO) data b) the rate of unemployment that implies 'full employment' and why the rate would be higher than in the bubble period.
We covered this issue last week and we're awaiting an official explanation as to how 80,000 job losses could be magiced away.
Some ministers lie when they claim that Double Irish tax-avoidance related services exports reflect "competitiveness" but when jobs data is manipulated to fit a revised full employment target, wonder how many members of last Wednesday's so-called "Jobs Cabinet" had anymore information than members of the public?
Why would any political party use honest election manifesto cost data when a government behaves like this?
We know too why Michael Noonan, finance minister, refused to give the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council any role in costing election proposals.
"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase popularised by Mark Twain (1835-1910), the American writer, and distortions caused by the foreign multinational sector can give political charlatans some latitude.
In the US the National Bureau of Economic Research‘s Business Cycle Dating Committee which decides on when a recession starts and ends doesn't just rely on GDP (gross domestic product) data contractions in two consecutive quarters. It also looks at other indicators and in Ireland's case, in 2008-2011, employment was lower in each of the four years compared with the preceding one while it was flat in 2012.
Ireland: Kenny gets sums wrong on jobs - missing 60,000 - almost 60,000, based on Finfacts research.
Last week we also provided an example from trade where ministerial spin is damaging to economic development, with its emphasis on self-congratulation coupled with agency chiefs who seldom stray from the official line, in a system where there is little evidence-based decision making.
Spin and lies
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last May that in May 2010, Tony Abbott now Australian prime minister — then opposition leader — was being interviewed over a promise he had made not to increase taxes — a promise he then broke in a budget reply speech by pledging to fund his paid parental leave scheme with a new tax.
Michael Kinsley, an American journalist, wrote in Time magazine in 2007:
Spin and the big lie are not new but spin has earned a toxic reputation for conventional politicians.
Adolf Hitler was a practitioner of the big lie and in his book 'Mein Kampf' noted:
George Orwell (1903-1950, born Eric Blair) wrote two classic novels with totalitarianism as themes: Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
Squealer, the pig, is in charge of propaganda in Animal Farm and in today's parlance would be called a spin doctor.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the character Syme is working on the definitive eleventh edition of a dictionary of Newspeak, a language of words that would not become obsolete before 2050. "'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it," Syme says to Winston Smith.
A year before, the heads of Trinity College and University College Dublin announced an innovation alliance with bromides such as: "world-class ecosystem," "world-class graduates" and "visionary job creation plan."
The putative alliance was in fact still-born despite the bullshit!
George Orwell in 1946:
The enduring addiction to spin in Irish politics, also reflects a lack of confidence and self-belief.
© Copyright 2015 by Finfacts.ie