2 July 2011

Thinking Paper # 24: Memories and Sky News

By Ronnie Ford-Golightly

Abstract

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.

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