Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fantasy narratives - failing economy

The video of a clip with Tony NcNulty ( Employment minister apparently ) below was highlighted else where at the time, but I've just re-watched it and I think it tells us something important about the current Labour regime.

If you've never seen it before watch it then I'll carry on my point below:

Firstly I have to say I have had the same experience as Tony McNulty's having here with a boss who was a cross between Jeremy Paxman and Alan Sugar. It a mistake you only ever make once, and if your still in employment afterwards you make damn sure your on top of your facts there after.

Tony McNulty is normally a much more assured media performer. But Paxo's right - as employment minister he should have known those details. It rather leaves two possible interpretations:
1) He's not doing his job and should resign.
2) He was not closely involved in the preparation of the announcement and is having to clear up the mess. ( If I were a minister who had been so sidelined I would raise hell and demand assurances that such a thing would never happen again and if I didn't get them resign. )

But now combine this botched announcement with the spin on the graduate internships the government has announced. It proudly used the names of Barclay's and Microsoft - and yet a day latter we discover that neither company will do anything different from what it has done in the past ( ie no new places - just allowing the government to put a cover sheet on their own actions and try to sell it as a new initiative ).

This is the government of the media grid. Establishing the narrative, but neglecting the facts on the ground. Spin before and over truth. Perhaps we should all castigate ourselves that this still shocks us after almost eleven years of Labour.

But worse is to come. The McNulty interview and especially the attention to Rolls Royce with Brown's expensive campaigning on the taxpayers expense visits. We are about to get a reheated version of "the white heat of technology" ploy that Wilson tried to pull on the electorate.

The new jobs will be in green technology, computers etc and from the way he speaks its clear he view it as governments role to bring this about. Or at least it will be the narrative to be used to full the government media matrix's for the next few months.

The reality will of course be very different.

The government doesn't know what its doing. They are making it up as they go along, and anyway what they are really thinking about is how to coble together a narrative that can hold together long enough to get themselves re-elected. As the interview above makes all too terribly clear.

Further: As if to make my point for me - see this quote attributed to an article by Peter Mandelson over on the Daily Dolly:

"Voters know that it is right to plan and invest for the upturn: ensuring that future jobs and growth come from new innovations in areas such as environmental technology, high-tech manufacturing and the creative industries. I am glad that, at least when it comes to the latter, the Labour party itself is now moving to the forefront of new media and online campaigning."

You see the combination of the "White heat of technology" ploy combined with their real interests - not will it work - but can it be used to win an election.

We know government is bad at picking winners (see 1970's), and also that recessions perform an important role in realigning capital to more productive areas. Government interference guarantees the economy will learn little and come out weakened.


rugfish said...

Well spotted Man in a Shed, I didn't see the interview so thanks for making a good case of it. I agree with you. McNulty does usually have some media skills however ever since he said on Newsnight that "Georgoe Orwell's 1984 is my favourite book and I've read it many times", I've taken everything he and his compatriots say with large doses of sodium chloride, or 'salt' for those of us who speak more plainly than Labour especially the dark force of spin Peter Mandelson.

So Barclays and MSN have cleared the matter. Well done for letting us know that too. I didn't know. Also, I guess this 'hi-tech bright green future' which Labour is plugging is surely only intended as you say to make the Tories green with envy at the next vote count, and thus Labour's attempt to give 'hi-tech answers' must be uncovered before it tricks the electorate again.

Can I ask what you think of the unanswered question which Paxman gave. If you run it again you'll notice he asks whether there is some "new economic plan". You will understand that 35,000 people would inevitably be a tax burden if no jobs are actually created. Yet in the technological stakes we have car-plants holding on by their teeth whilst laying masses off, and Dell Computers shipping their manufacturing to Poland.

Notwithstanding the predicament what you describe of Barclays itself, it has laid off 450 people from its own technology department and doubtless other will follow. Rolls Royce may be another one to follow Beoing which cut back 4,500 jobs last week too.

The government I think must think the electorate is so stupid but Paxman and the media isn't really following through with its questioning. Clearly the twats are in it together.

Man in a Shed said...

Rugfish - What worries me is I think they do have a new Economic plan and I think it was thought up in the same way as the announcement McNulty is trying to defend - by some Spin merchants with no reference to expert advice.

This is confiemd by the comments from LabourList I quote from Mandleson and also by the quater baked announcement today of the goverbnment blowing another £500 million on a scheme for jobs.

Which I have already heard dismissed on the radio as stupid in a contracting job market - other criticisms have been made by the likes of Frank Field who points out whats the point in training when employers can employ non- EU nationals ?

The £2.5 per long term unemployed taken on is just stupid and shows that no one with private sector experience was involved in cooking the thing up. ( £2.5k compared to the cost of employing the wrong person is a drop in the ocean ). In fact I was just about to do a post on the subject ...