The addition of more and more numerical information subtracts from our experience, divides us culturally, and multiplies our problems. We are caught in a numbers racket, but it’s our fault – for we accept the equations we’re given without challenging the algebraic values. Now that the old media don’t perform that function any more, it’s down to We The People to crunch those numbers. There’s never been a better time to relearn the art of deconstruction.
“It’s not the votes that count, but who counts the votes”
Why is it second nature to speak your first language? Very few of us would wish to high-five a Fifth Column traitor: but he could, at one and the same time, be first in line to the Throne. When we see a useless but smug politician on Cloud Nine and yet at sixes and sevens, one feels the strong impulse to give him a bunch of fives….especially when we’re one over the eight heading towards three sheets to the wind.
It’s probably true that a stitch in time saves nine – especially when you’re all dressed up to the nines and feeling in Seventh Heaven ready to face your five minutes of fame. On the other hand, if you’re feeling hung, drawn and quartered by a ménage à trois towards the end of a seven year itch, you may not feel in the mood to go the full nine yards.
My two cents worth is that two heads are better than one, but I do not have zero tolerance of those who are between two stools on the issue. That said, the Catch 22 on that is it can result in going round in circles back to square one.
Maths generally – including algebra – can give us both handy and universally understood scales of relevance by which to judge what’s going on…and indeed, what’s been running things for millions of years. For example, we say “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and this is a hard-wired truth: our ancestors had sight when they crawled from the oceans tens of millions of years ago. But we’ve only had language for 150,000 years. Moving images in the media swamp recall of the voice-over involved. Any adman worth his or her salt knows this.
However, the geometry beyond numbers doesn’t obey the rule. Boris Johnson once referred to adverse reports about his behaviour as “an inverted pyramid of piffle”. It turned out he was lying. The “eternal triangle” offers a nice soundbite on human relationships, but it doesn’t really cut the mustard like “two’s company and three’s a crowd”. We talk about wheels within wheels and circles in spirals, but it’s only when we start analysing the circular national pie with percentages that it becomes clear just how unfair equality of opportunity can be if such an ambition is being perverted by exploitation.
The 2019 election was infamous for its promisory largesse: but promises written in election pamphlets are, for the political class, not to be interrogated in a proper mathematical context.
Before that, we saw first David Cameron and then Theresa May talk a good game about job statistics, but perpetually evade the question of the monetary value and rates per hour of those jobs.
What they did was use like-for-unlike data to suggest an interest in “the many”, without ever defining the percentage of citizens better off as a result.
George Osborne went further still. He simply ignored all the numbers, and told the House of Commons, “Britain is once more paying its debts”. This was a lie of Goebbelsian proportions…..or what legislators tend to dismiss as “a figure of speech”.
All of this explains why politicians tend more and more these days to avoid numbers that might prove a hostage to fortune. Diane Abbott is one of many MPs who fails to grasp this. Her interview with Nick Ferrari about police numbers and salaries in 2017 taught even Corbyn Labour that, in butterfingered hands, costings were dangerous.
True enough, in the 2019 bunfight, MPs of every colour vomitted up promises of nurses, doctors, graduates, housing and investment budget increases that would occur under their version of government. The almost complete absence of politician willingness to engage in any debate at all about how the promises would be funded, or the cost of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement absorbed was, on reflection, the key issue.
Corbyn cynically (and very belatedly) offered a huge sum for 1950s born pension-deprived women, but refused to discuss the detail….because it was woefully insufficient to tackle the problem. BoJo insisted he had cut the cost of Brexit, but refused to discuss the enormous elephant trap of liabilities in WA2.
The consequences of numerical maths were waved about by hands holding manifestos…but then parked elsewhere in favour of quite incredibly bland, braindead If You Wish upon a Star slogans: ‘Let’s get Brexit done!’, ‘It’s Time for Real Change’, ‘For the Many not the Few’, ‘Our Future, together’ and so forth.
In the US, there was Obama and his ‘Yes we can’, followed by The Donald with ‘Let’s make America Great Again’. Obama failed to fulfil any of his promise, and Trump (while a better geopolitical bluffing negotiator than any President for a long time) talks of economic ‘recovery’ using general statistics that are bent, out of context, or just not true. His much-praised letter to Nancy Pelosi on Impeachment was a classic deconstruction of Democratic Party propaganda, spin and utter invention; but the last part on the economy was drivel from start to finish.
Sometimes, of course, we watch as the Unelected Elites try to stick the knife into elected frontrunners they don’t like…..and then we see those politicians in turn lying about the degree of truth in the negative spin about them. It is a disgrace that both the old media and the so-called social media are complicit in all of this. In an Information Age, however, information distributors are monarchs answerable to nobody save their masters in “intelligence”.
How ironic it is then that the Information Age has used both quantity, exaggeration and unaccountable censorship to produce the most misinformed electorate of my lifetime. Social inequality, educational conformity and the rise and rise of the Smuggies have in turn added huge numbers to the uninformed total.
State power now has more deadly tools at its disposal than ever in history. Electorates across the piece are hopeless at hiding from surveillance, slow to see the dangers therein, and ill-trained in the art of doubting information – regardless of provenance. In the short term, that won’t change until the System for the Few collapses in on itself in the short term, education methodology is radically reformed over the next decade, and devolved power demolishes the worst excesses of surveillance by the middle of the 21st century.
Only beasts of the field accept. Emotional intelligence woven into human wisdom doubts the hidden agenda and the long-term intention of legislators, globalists and cops who aren’t there to protect us any more: they work for Them.
“There are lies, damned lies and statistics,” says the old adage. It isn’t true, and it never was. The liars are those who interpret the numbers for their own ends. The dupes are those too lazy, distracted or stupid to go beyond the headline, and drill down into comparative context to present a more balanced picture. The Fourth Estate used to do that. Today – and into the future – we are on our own in a world of MobThink and Artificial Intelligence.
“It’s not as bad as you suggest,” a French friend told me at a drinks do before Christmas. She was right. It’s worse….of which, more over the next few days.