29 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 38: Bit of Pickle

By Roger Daring


News of Eric Pickles’ (commonly known in Westminster as ‘The Pickler’) Localism Bill has reached the IIPBA team and prompted us to investigate the following problem: Is Eric Pickles a doppelganger of ‘Mole’ from Wind in the Willows?

The Results

When we put the staggering aesthetic similarity to the British public:

• 32% thought that ‘doppelganger’ was a German techno outfit from the 1980’s
• 94% did not know who we meant until we referred to Eric as ‘The Pickler’
• 47% said that they would rather lay with Mole in his underground burrow than touch Eric’s pickle

Concluding remarks

1. Being the evil twin of a nature loving Mole could explain Eric’s urge to open our entire countryside to corporate development.

2. Pickle is an unfortunate surname for Eric.

28 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 37: Ed Miliband's nose

By Ron Ford Golightly


Today, we answer two questions that people are asking about Ed Miliband:

1. Did Ed Miliband have a nose job because (a) his wife couldn't sleep through his snoring (b) he has a silly voice (c) his advisors think that it will win Labour the next election or (d) he likes the fact that he can eat baby food for 3 weeks after the operation?

2. What will he sound like after the operation?

The Answers

1. A combination of all of the above, but specifically, and we had a good laugh about this, because they think that it will win Labour the next general election. Greg Beales, Miliband's chief of staff, is reported to have told the press that "you will not recognise the new Ed. He will combine the confidence of Kennedy, the pure animal lust of Selleck and the octave range of Tom Jones."

2. One senior backbencher said that he hopes that he will emerge sounding like Barry White, and Greg Beales seems to be making things up so we asked a carefully selected cross section of the British population how they hoped he would sound after the operation. The results are as follows:
  • 23% said that they thought that David Miliband sounded just fine and that they thought he had a lovely voice.
  • 17% said that they thought he should "go the whole hog" and "get a face transplant".
  • A unanimous 60% said that they want him to sound like Tony Blair because they really liked him and can't remember why they got rid of him in the first place.

Thinking Paper # 36: What's the difference between an economic analyst and a pre-historic Shaman?

By Ron Ford Golightly


So, great news! The economy has grown by 0.2% in the last month, which, on a year by year basis, means that the UK economy has grown by 0.7% over the last year. Larry Elliott, The Guardian's economics editor, says it's a "bad number" and someone else from somewhere else said "it's a bit scary", then he shouted "Greece" really loud until everyone else looked scared. Louise Pompingdon-Thyme, Stock Analyst for DFRT Partners, told us this morning that the City's attention is firmly set on the drop in the share price of Blighty but commented that the FTSE 100 is currently 15 points higher at 5940, but this could swiftly change once the GDP figures which tell us that we're not Greece get released. Elsewhere, the Square Mile is concerned by the international outlook, but remains confident that the United States will reach a deal over its debt ceiling and that Greece will get new quantitative tiling done in its bathroom. Analysts who wanted to get on television this morning told us that one-off factors such as Pippa Middleton's bottom, a Horse running loose on the M1 and a new bike lane in Peckham could have impeded the economy.

The Definitions

Pre-historic Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. Basically, it is an individual who claims to be able to communicate with higher spirits and Gods and provide answers to uncertain situations in order to calm or to incite fear within the population, whichever suits the politics of the day. They also claim to be able to influence the weather, heal the sick and provide good fortune in war. On one Peloponnesian island, the Shaman's role is to ensure that solar eclipses happen infrequently. Nice work if you can get it.

Unlike the Shamans, economic analysts wear ties, sometimes appear on television and have silly names (e.g. Stephanie Hope Flanders). Just like the Shaman, they pretend to understand a higher force, the Global Market, but usually fair no better in their predictions than Andy "the Viking" Fordham who makes his economic and stock market decisions by throwing darts at random around a room of differing stock options written on post-it notes.

Concluding Comments

Please don't listen to any of them. Take a leaf out of the Viking's book

25 July 2011

Thinking paper #35 - The Hacking Scandal: A Post Modernist’s Guide

By Jacinta Burrow


We’ve all been gripped by #hackinggate, but have we really appreciated its post-modern twists? The IIPBA is all about sticking it to our bureaucratic overlords so let’s step away from what Kay Burley’s trying to tell us and apply a deconstructionist approach to the #Murdochalypse. It’s the one thing Rupert hasn’t thought of.

Key Points

1. It was a July day like any other. Then, in a beautiful stream-of-consciousness tableau, Sky News began reporting that “Sky sources” were saying that News Corp was not withdrawing its bid for BskyB, which owns Sky News. The IIPBA very much supports this kind of intertextuality in news reporting. It would like to see the BBC incorporate at least one metafiction segment into its six o’clock bulletin.

2. Downing St was forced to republish the list of the Prime Minister's meetings with media figures after a day’s existential debate about whether a “walk” is the same as a “meeting”. For Dave, the answer is yes. But if a slumber party is held at Chequers and none of us is there to see it, did it ever really exist? Hhmm. Quite.

3. A royal reporter for the Press Association was arrested over phone-hacking. In fact, a royal spokesman had borrowed her phone on a trip in 2006 to check his own voicemails. The Palace said she was innocent. He said she was innocent. She said she was innocent. The police decided to prove they were all right by spending time arresting her. The IIPBA commends this kind of more-Kafka-than-Kafka’s-post-modernist-masterpiece-The-Trial-style policing. The officers concerned were clearly only trying to wrestle with the question: what comes after bureaucracy? But guys. Chill out, yeah? Jesus.

4. John Yates and Boris Johnson have both admitted that they knew their phones had been hacked, but decided not to re-open the hacking investigation to prove that what they thought had happened had actually happened. Now THAT’s post-bureaucracy.

Concluding Remarks

To recap: the police are now investigating the press, including someone who works at The Sun about what he did when he worked at the News of the World.

The police are now investigating the police. The IIPBA was sure that “Cressida Dick” was some sort of self-referential joke on the part of the Met, but apparently not.

MPs are investigating the press and the police. Louise Mensch (neĆ© Bagshawe) is investigating Piers Morgan and the entire Mirror Group via that tried and tested judicial method, the 140-character tweet. And something called the “cloak of parliamentary privilege”.

Lord Justice Leveson is investigating absolutely everyone. The IIPBA stands ready to assist him in any way it can.

23 July 2011

Thinking Paper #34 - Why is everyone getting married?

By Jacinta Burrow


Before it was upstaged by the discovery that journalists might not all be whiter than white, the welcome news reached the IIPBA that Frank Lampard Jnr, runner-up 2005 FIFA Player of the Year and celebrity Conservative supporter, is now engaged to that one from Daybreak.

So, why is everyone suddenly getting married? First, it was Kate and Wills, then Ed and Justine (Miliband), then Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, and, on 30 July, we’ll be treated to the nuptials of Zara Phillips and something resembling a blancmange with human features called a “Mike Tindall”. As the nation tries to come to terms with the end of the Jordan-and-Peter-Andre-affair, what still drives people to get hitched?


The IIPBA asked 406 married people what the hell possessed them to do such a thing. Here are the results:
  • It offers a perfect excuse to ditch friends you secretly find annoying (6%)
  • There is now someone who is legally obliged to have sex with you (17%)
  • You will not die alone (25%)
  • A wedding reception is the one time in life when a punch up only adds to the general carnival atmosphere (18%)
  • Hey, what else were you going to spend that £21k on? (14%)
  • There’s always divorce… (15%)
  • I was drunk in Las Vegas (5%)
Current Policy

A tax break for people who put a ring on it is a flagship Tory policy and, as we all know, getting married to someone of a different gender is crucial to mending Breakdown Britain (remember that?).

And just look at Iain Duncan-Smith: he’s been a husband for 29 years and seems fine. Whereas there was absolutely no way in the world that Ed Miliband could win the next General Election without a wife. Probably.


So should we just give in to the Archbishop of Canterbury who’s had a right mard on since The Royal Wedding, and tie the knot? Dave wants us to. Rowan wants us to. Our Mums probably want us to. The influential IFS think tank recently found “no strong evidence that marriage leads to better cognitive or social outcomes for children than cohabitation”, but then its work has really slackened off since the head honcho went off to defeat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

This government even seems content for us to get divorced, as long as we do not become “runaway dads”. And, really, what have you done lately to support Britain’s occasion cake industry, especially in this Age of Austerity? Thought so.

Thinking Paper # 35: David Cameron's political obituary

By Ron Ford-Golightly


Odds have been slashed for David Cameron to resign as Prime Minister and the BBC are rumoured to have already written his political obituary. But how would his political obituary read? What achievements can he point to? Is he the Prime Minister with the softest skin? Or the pinkest? The IIPBA speculates.

The political obituary

David Cameron was born as a fully formed adult male with pink smooth skin and a roast pheasant tucked under his arm. After leaving the womb of a Lady who lived on a rather large estate in Oxfordshire, he was beckoned to Buckingham Palace by the Queen who told him at the age of 22 that he was going to be Prime Minister because he had the right sort of blood. He entered a building in Westminster and started giving speeches without notes and then he told everyone to be nice to people. He made friends with a chap called Gideon who shared his opinion that the Conservative party had to pretend to be electable and they both enrolled in a part time course at Luton College in advanced Tony Blair studies.

He went onto win an election or something with 17% of the vote. The Queen said that it was about time we had some Royal blood back in Government and then put her hat on ready for the big day. He began ushering in a post bureaucratic age and demanded that poor people give up their jobs so that they could work for free to make society really big. He went around making some speeches and statements about this and that. Arguably, his greatest achievement as Prime Minister was to make Nick Clegg the whipping boy for all of the worst policies to come out of the Coalition. During this time he and Gideon ate roast pheasant and drank Champagne secretly in Gideon's shoe cupboard.

He left No10 under a hailstorm of dead Libyans, unemployed people and culled badgers. The size of his bald spot was finally revealed to be 6cm by 6cm. Simon Hoggart of the Guardian was invited to form a new government following a landslide electoral victory in which a new box was created on voting slips which allowed everyone who didn't want to vote for a political party to vote for Simon Hoggart.

22 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 34: Who would David Cameron invite to his slumber party?

By Ron Ford Golightly


We recently learnt that David Cameron has "never held a slumber party" nor has he seen Rebekah Brooks "in her pyjamas" (but what about her underpants?). This begs the question: who would David Cameron invite to a slumber party?

The Detail

We asked all 53,000 staff at News International who they thought he should invite and they all said "me". Rupert Murdoch added that he had sent the Prime Minister a picture of Brooks in her pyjamas to get him "warmed up". Our contacts in No10 informed us that the Prime Minister would also like to invite his favourite darts player, Andy "the Viking" Fordham, actor and abusee Grant Mitchell and Guardian journalist Simon Hoggart. When we told our No10 contacts that all of the invitees were white and male they said that the Prime Minister would probably get Nick Clegg to dress up as Baroness Warsi to bump up the "ethnic" numbers.

Concluding comments

Regardless of whether David Cameron holds a slumber party or not for the staff at News International, he and all other future Prime Minister's will continue to court Rupert Murdoch or whoever else happens to own really powerful newspapers and media outlets. They're definitely "all in it together" and this sits a bit heavy in the stomach of the IIPBA but that seems to be the way that it is regardless of how good Rebekha Brooks looks in her pyjamas.

20 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 33: Toby Young - An open letter

By Ron Ford-Golightly


With all this stuff about sexy Asian wifes (.com) and aging Australians, I'd hate for the world to forget about the post bureaucratic age (PBA). That is why it is so pleasing that Toby Young, journalist, Big Society cheerleader and one of the 12 prophets of the post bureaucratic age, recently accused the government of reneging on their post bureaucratic dreams. Young told the CIPFA conference in Birmingham that ministers last year appeared to believe in a ‘post-bureaucratic age’, but are now too scared of a world without bureaucracy to see their convictions through. He then accused them of fearing the accountability for any failures and so had imposed burdensome restraints on things like the school of Toby Young and other such things. For this, we say "thank you" Toby, and issue an open letter / invite.

The Letter

Dear Mr Young,

I am writing to you as the co-Director of the Institute for Ideas in a Post Bureaucratic Age (IIPBA), a progressive think tank with a holistic vision to create a critical space for post-bureaucratic discourse, to first of all thank you for your work on the PBA agenda and secondly, to make you an offer.

We are seven months into our venture and strongly feel that now is the time to reach out to other PBA crusaders and for this reason, we would like to invite you to take up a place on the board of the IIPBA. At this stage, the role is unpaid. However, if you were to accept this position, you would be entitled to an IIPBA t-shirt, a free massage and a guiding influence over the direction and work of the IIPBA. If you were to decline the position you can still have a free t-shirt.

We greatly admire your work and, on a completely unrelated topic, we think that you carry your baldness as well as, if not better than a) Nick Robinson and b) Harry Hill.

Myself and Tim (my partner and co-Director) would gladly meet to speak further about this position and answer any questions you have.

Kind regards and I look forward to hearing from you,

Ron Ford Golightly

Co-Director, IIPBA

Live(ish)blog - Cameron Statement

With Tim Massingberd-James

11.45ish - Cameron slightly changes terms of inquiry or something

11.50ish - Cameron condemns something in strongest possible terms

Live drawings from Miguel:

11.55ish - Miliband says something about hacking

11.56ish - Miliband says something about Weeting

11.56ish - Bird arrives outside my window, starts pecking ground

11.56ish - MPs say 'ooh' or something and Miliband says 'compromised' *loudly*

11.58ish - Phew, This Morning is on the other side.

12.02ish via sms from Ronnie Ford-Golightly - George Osborne wistfully asks 'Where is Gordon Brown?'

12.06ish - Basher Davis says something about Damian Green.

12.09ish - Jack Straw (You know, Will Straw's Dad) asks something, makes Cameron angry for some reason

12.10ish - John Whittingdale stands. Tories shout 'hear, hear'. Some assurances asked for, Cameron agrees etc etc

12.25ish via sms from Ronnie Ford-Golightly - Nick Clegg stares into the mid distance and pretends he's holidaying on Lake Titikaka

12.28ish - David Lammy asks about sausages. Must be lunchtime.

12.29ish - Cameron presents horrifying image of Rebekah Brooks and Gordon Brown in pyjamas. I think I've gone blind.

12.38ish via sms from Ronnie Ford-Golightly - Theresa May looks regretful that she ever became a politician

We're down to Edward Leigh now. Awesome jumpers but he's not an agenda-setter.


14.23 - Ron Ford Golightly returns from a long, pleasant lunch to see it is still going on. Poor Nick Clegg...

19 July 2011

Thinking Paper #32 - SuperWendi...Fact or Fiction?

By Tim Massingberd-James


Wendi Deng is a hard woman who is married to Rupert Murdoch. She does not take any shit. If you mess with her she will punch you to the ground. But what do we really know about this awesome woman?

  • Wendi Deng once slapped a pilot whale to the ground.
  • Before Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Deng was married to herself. It was an arranged marriage. Wendi arranged it.
  • The Matrix was made to keep Wendi Deng at bay. it didn't work.
  • Wendi Deng doesn't get dressed in the mornings, she is already dressed.
  • Wendi Deng's right hand is made of steel
  • In her youth Wendi Deng wasted time playing volleyball
  • Wendi Deng bothered finishing university
  • Wendi Deng is pro-vegan
  • Wendi Deng was born
  • Wendi Deng left China to study in 1988

Thinking paper #31 – Why Tom Watson, why now?

By Tim Massingberd James


Predicted to be make indulge in the biggest amounts of pointless political grandstanding this afternoon, Tom Watson MP is a big man, but he's out of shape. Formerly Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, Watson now chunters away from the backbenches doing nothing but scrutinise the Government wine cellars he once quaffed.It's difficult to work out what the point of the man is.

Tom Watson

Tom Watson was educated in Kidderminster, before attending the University of Hull and going on to become the Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East. He is a fat man who is friends with Gordon Brown and people said he was something to do with a Damian McBride, which is a brand of Irish Whisky

During his time in Parliament, Watson has had an expenses and done a Glenn Beck or something. He suffered the unfortunate trait of looking a bit like a pig in glasses, which led to above average scrutiny by the blogging community, who were able to easily mock up pictures of him looking like a wrong 'un.

Watson loves to talk about Murdoch, mainly because he only has a small website and wishes he was a billionaire media proprietor able to secure an attractive young asian-american wife, and most of all wishes he was the object of the attention of a tired-eyed Chipping Norton ginger. For a fat man who spent a lot of time in student politics, and has never owned a Times, it is easy to get obsessed about these things.

Watson is a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and as such will get a chance to ask stupid questions to Rupert Murdoch and feel like a big man as he punishes an eighty year old Australian whose parents probably never gave him enough attention, and subsequently started collecting newspapers.


Watson is an MP. They're all funny in their own little ways, and they all have an inflated sense of their own importance. Watson told the Guardian that “there is not going to be a killer blow on Tuesday. Expectations are way too high," but he didn't really believe it. He hopes poor Rupert cries and says he done the phone tapping of Chris Bryant because he loves his funny little face. However, Tom Watson will never be attractive, or charismatic, so maybe we should let him indulge himself. It's probably one of the few pleasures he gets now he no longer has access to the Government Wine Cellar.

18 July 2011

Thinking Paper #30 – Does corruption make policemen better?

By Tim Massingberd-James


Since the police began, some of them have probably been corrupt. The odd bribe is probably par for the course and most of them probably spend their weekends riding on the yachts of rich criminal overlords and staying for free at Champneys, but do the public think corruption makes them better or worse at their jobs?

The Met

John Yates and Sir Paul Stephenson, the Deputy and Chief Commissioners of the Met announced their resignation over the last couple of days, for reasons probably either related or unrelated to corruption in the force, or for buying a copy of the News of the World, or sleeping with Rebekah Brooks or something.


Recent ficticious research by the IIPBA showed that 98% of the great British public would prefer police to be corrupt if it means more 'bobbies on the beat' (too far, too fast), and have watched enough films to know that corruption in the police is par for the course. 68% of respondents expressed 'extreme dissapointment' when they were told that recent resignations were something to do with Chris Bryant's voicemails, and 96% were a little bit sick in their mouths when it was revealed that one of John Prescott's voicemails was a dirty message from the fat oaf intended for long-suffering wife Pauline.


All police should be corrupt. It makes better national scandals. That sells more papers. Or something.

15 July 2011

Thinking paper #29 – Are gingers more likely to crave the attention of antipodean billionaire media tycoons?

By Tim Massingberd-James


Once, Rebekah Brooks was famous only for marrying Grant Mitchell. This week, she is the most famous ginger in the country, and is making headlines around the world, but are gingers more likely to crave the attention of antipodean billionaire media tycoons?

Schoolyard bullying

Gingers are often bullied at school, and independent IIPBA research shows this is even more likely if their fathers are tugboat drivers. As such, Rebekah Brooks might have faced a tough time during her days at Appleton Hall County Grammar School in Warrington, and this would have made her 189% more likely to crave the attention of a funny looking Australian who barely speaks.

The Grant Mitchell factor

Rebekah Brooks married Grant Mitchell in an Eastenders special double episode in June 2002, called “The Square goes to Vegas”. Dot Cotton was head bridesmaid. Brooks stared up at Grant's gurning face during sex until 2005, when she was arrested following an alleged assault on her husband. Putting up with Grant for three years is enough to make anyone to reach out for the attention of a Murdoch.

Phone Hacking

The papers say something about Rebekah Brooks and phone hacking. It is said that she and Grant conducted a plot to tap the phone of Billy Mitchell in order to procure crack for Phil Mitchell. Dot Cotton was head bridesmaid. Andy Coulson played Ian Beale's love interest, in a special double episode called “The Square listens to boring voicemails”. The Chief Constable of Walford Constabulary quit during Sunday night's episode, which was multicast live on Sky News and BBC News 24. Everyone scratched their heads and wondered who they were supposed to hate the most.


Like Mick Hucknall, Rebekah Brooks is a northern ginger, but there are lots of things for northern gingers to be happy about. The IIPBA thinks Brooks craves the Murdoch's attention because she has little personality and tired eyes. It has nothing to do with her gingerness.

14 July 2011

Thinking paper #28 – Chipping Norton – All you need to know.

By Tim Massingberd-James


We have heard a lot in recent days about the Chipping Norton Set, which includes David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, Jeremy Clarkson, Alex James off of Blur, Matthew Freud, Elisabeth Murdoch, Ruby Wax and Kate Moss, but what does have to attract these people, or anyone?

Things in Chipping Norton
  • Pubs
The following reviews from ChippingNorton.net give us a flavour of the nightlife in the town:

> The Blue Boar is a versatile kind of venue, which refuses to be categorised.
> The new tenants of the Red Lion say it is a traditional pub which sets the highest standards
>The Chequers is thought to date back to the late 1500's as a pub when it was identified by a sign of a blue anchor outside.
  • Roads
Jeremy Clarkson reported in a recent episode of Top Gear that there are potholes on a roundabout. I wasn't really listening

  • Post Offices
The Post Office is located at 20 High Street, Chipping Norton

  • Telephones
Since 2009, Chipping Norton has had access to telephones. Rebekah likes this because she likes to not know anything about telling people to listen on the phones, or something.

  • Massive expensive houses
Chipping Norton is surrounded by big expensive houses which are perfect for fencing off and not letting anyone into.


Chipping Norton looks dull, but it basically has everything. No wonder these rather boring people who are inexplicably famous like it.

13 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 27: Danny Alexander: Fact and Fiction


The third part of the fact and fiction series features the most annoying man in Westminster, not Ed Balls, but our beloved Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. Our market research found that the general public couldn't quite say why Danny Alexander was so annoying but that he most definitely was. Anyway, the following bollocks was made up, but is hopefully plausible enough to be true.

  • He was so upset that Rory Stewart got to go to this years Bilderberg conference that he ate a family sized boneless bucket from KFC in one sitting. Treasury officials who found him slumped at his desk afterwards said that his office smelt of "shame and sweat".
  • He once made Adam Boulton of Sky News retch after farting during an interview. NB: Adam Boulton has quite a strong constitution.
  • When you Google "Danny Alexander", the second result on the options drop down list is "Danny Alexander fart"
  • He goes to the same hairdressers as Ed Balls.
  • As head boy at Lochaber High School in Fort William, he was tasked with guarding a poo in the corridor following an incident with a very troubled young child. The teacher we spoke to said that Danny did a really good job of preventing the other students from walking in it.
  • Despite being famous for farting on national television, he should be more famous for making 40,000 people unemployed in Aberdeen following a very lucrative, but socially destructive decision regarding North Sea oil.
  • His favourite Eastenders character is Alfie, played by Shane Richie. He has tattoo of him on his back.

10 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 26: Politicians haircuts - An insiders perspective

By Ronnie Ford-Golightly


Over the past month or so we've been interviewing hairdressers from across Britain in the hope of gaining an insight into the whys and wherewithals of our political masters haircuts. We showed 50 hairdressers pictures of several politicians, but the focus rested on Ed Balls and David Cameron. Set out below are their comments.

Ed Balls

The predominant feeling with Ed Balls is that his hair is too small for his head. Jill from Chelmsford said "it looks like he's wearing a really small wig". Tony from Tony&Guy said that "his hair is completely incompatible with his face... he needs a real makeover". He suggested a city style slick back. At the end of the interview, Tony offered to donate a £50 Tony&Guy voucher to the Labour party .

David Cameron

All 50 hairdressers were very impressed with the work that goes into the Prime Minister's comb back. We asked them how many hours a day they thought it would take to shape his hair in this fashion in order to cover his expanding bald spot. The average time given was 3-4 hours. However, the predominant feeling was that whilst the combover is quite a feat, the Prime Minister should wear his baldspot with pride. "Look at Nick Robinson" said Mike from Stoke, "now there's a handsome, bald man with strength and confidence".

5 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 25: Michael Gove: Fact and Fiction

By Ronnie Ford Golightly


The second edition of our fact and fiction series arrives at the doors of the Department for Education. Not much has been made of Michael Gove in the press of late. We suspect he doesn't have as many friends in the press as George. However, our surveys suggest that he's quite a boring man, so we made a few things up which I hope you will enjoy.

Fact or Fiction?

  • Michael Gove knows more about Tony Blair than Tony Blair does.
  • He's read so many books about Blair and the New Labour years that sometimes he makes his wife do New Labour role plays with him. He plays Frank Dobson, the former Health Secretary.
  • His favourite former Health secretary is Frank Dobson.
  • He is part of the "Notting Hill Set" - the "set" also includes Hugh Grant, Kat from Eastenders and Julia Robert's character from the film with a similar name.
  • He is worth £3m less than George Osborne, but £1m more than the IIPBA (how much is George Osborne said to be worth? Readers who write in with the correct answer will win an IIPBA t-shirt)
  • His lips make up 70% of his face and produce 30% of the water vapour above the Department for Education building.
  • He once wore his trousers so high that he didn't need to wear a shirt. However, he still wore a tie.
  • He has been receiving voice coaching from George Osborne since 2001

2 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 24: Memories and Sky News

By Ronnie Ford-Golightly


Does anyone remember MP's expenses? We were ready to kill over this. People threatened to hang MP's from lamp posts. How about climate change? Maybe a tinge of a memory. And global poverty? Remember that? Us neither. We think we once cared about these things and may do again, but we're unsure. The IIPBA isn't questioning the authenticity of the anger and concern about these issues. It is simply concerned that our priorities are shaped and shifted by a higher force that is Sky News.

The Sky News Vicious Loop theorem

This has 3 stages: (1) We watch Sky News and get really concerned about something. The educated classes talk about these issues over dinner, politicians flap around frantically and civil servants work jolly hard for a few weeks on the relevant policy area (2) A debt crisis, an earthquake, a celebrity divorce or the start of Wimbledon hits the media and we all forget about whatever it was that we were concerned about. Politicians and the educated classes make new and concerned clucking noises over dinner and someone promises loads of made up money for something (3) the loop begins again and we forget about whatever it is we were concerned with.

An offshoot theory of this, the "I've forgotten why I cared in the first place theory", can kick in after several loops of the aforementioned theorem. What happens here is simple. After being repeatedly told to be concerned about something, we grow distressed and slightly apathetic about issues that we think that we may have once been concerned with, but don't think we are anymore.

Policy Recommendations

1. We watch less Sky News and read more books. Any books, doesn't matter

2. We try and resist concerts and wrist bands in the name of causes

3. We lobby people like Sting and Bono to put their money wherever their mouths happen to be at any given moment

4. We demand that all political party manifestos include a sub-section which reads: "Ministerial offices and party political headquarters will remove all flat screen TVs from walls and blanket ban newspaper subscriptions to the Daily Mail."

5. Prime Ministers and Prime Ministers to be should never, ever be allowed to meet Rupert Murdoch. Communication between these people should be limited to forwarding on jokes via email or text.