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Dear Owen Jones – It’s Not The Shagging It’s The Code

Owen Jones wants us all to know that we’re being very mean in talking about the sexual escapades of Professor Ferguson. Our minds should be on weightier matters. But the point here is that it’s not about the shagging at all. It’s about the code:

When deciding today’s front pages, newspapers had a choice: do they hold the government to account over Britain facing the highest death toll in Europe, or do they take aim at a government scientist, who ignored his own advice to the public, and invited a partner to his home? As you might have seen, the Telegraph, Daily Mail, Metro and the Sun opted for the latter. In a healthy, functioning democracy, a genuinely free press would not have considered this a dilemma. Bad news, everyone, because that’s not the country we live in.

This story could be seen as a run-of-the-mill scoop, a classic tale of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrisy, a staple of the British press.

There is that part of the code to consider, yes. Consenting adults shagging is not a matter of public policy whether that be BoJo, Jezza and Diane or Prof F. John Major telling us all to be moral then finding his Cabinet is stuffed with adulterers is. Because it’s the hypocrisy that matters, see?

Those who insist the proles should fly less from the steps of their transatlantic flight to tell the proles that they should fly less. Those who insist that all should go to comprehensive schools while their own children do not (Diane again? Polly?). Those who rail against inherited wealth and yet have all their very considerable family money in trusts (at least one of the Benns).

Hypocrisy is important Owen as you yourself have found out:

As the person who first started making this point, to make it again:

Economists have a handy term called “revealed preferences”. In colloquial English it means “look at what people do, not what they say, and certainly never take notice of what they say others should do”.

Now, you can’t help but notice that there is a disparity between those who say that taxes should be higher and those who act as if they should be. Clearly, an individual who really believes that the Government is more effective at spending his money would voluntarily offer up more than the legal minimum of taxation. That we have fewer people acting in this manner than are to be found writing columns and making speeches calling for higher taxation shows a certain gap, does it not, between public utterances and private actions? Why, we could make such donations a litmus test for those believers in higher taxation and state spending who want to compel all of us to pay more. Only those who show their commitment by sending a cheque to the Treasury should be treated seriously.

Cheques, by the way, should be made out to “The Accountant, HM Treasury”, and sent to 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ. A 2nd-class stamp is sufficient and you are encouraged to add a covering note so that your donation is spent in the way you like.

Well?

It is important for us to call out hypocrisy in public life for this is how we prevent the installation of Zil lanes. And it is important that we prevent that.

But OK, let us move on from the insistence that they’ve got to live by the same rules they impose upon us. It’s still about the code. Ferguson’s code that is, his computer code. It’s trash, terrible, no good, disgustingly bad. A takedown of it hereit here. According to that it doesn’t even produce the same result twice even with the same inputs. Which isn’t the way that you do even a Monte Carlo simulation.

Which does bring us to one of the interesting reasons why Owen Jones’s beloved society run by the state doesn’t work. The inputs into the state decision making process are so lousy, no good, terrible. That is, it’s not just the hypocrisy of the would be rulers, it’s their incompetence.

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Bloke in North Dorset
Bloke in North Dorset
11 months ago

The British press have enjoyed themselves at the expense of people caught shagging for years, it sold newspapers pre-internet and gets clicks now. They really like it when people have been media whores and it gives them a chance take take them down a peg or two. Personally I don’t like it, but I have no sympathy for the victims. Be factual with the media and keep your nose clean. Nobody forces them to take the jobs and I’ll bet there’s quite a few people turn down jobs for that very reason, and we’re all worse off for it. Short… Read more »

Grendel
Grendel
11 months ago

The underlying message of these revealed preferences is what I find most interesting. If the architects of the “lockdown” in both England and Scotland don’t think it’s important to follow them strictly, then maybe the government would be kind enough to treat us like adults and pass on that message: Cut down contact where you reasonably can, but don’t cut it out entirely. I just don’t like the idea of all those Swedes enjoying a beer with their mates whilst they laugh about us cocking it all up so badly!

Addolff
Addolff
11 months ago
Reply to  Grendel

Grendel, they are smart people so know it’s all bollocks.

And I have to ask – Beowulf or 1980’s prog rock?

Esteban
Esteban
11 months ago

People are losing their life savings, a family business built up over decades, missing out on seeing family, dying without a loved one at their side because the Wise and Wonderful say it is absolutely necessary, a matter of life and death!

But the W&W can break curfew to get a shag or haircut. Hell yes it’s a BFD!

Pat
Pat
11 months ago

It’s curious that news of the shagging and news of the code broke at about the same time. It’s almost as though someone wanted to discredit him personally.
We now have many who don’t understand about the code that will no longer care what he says.
We also have people who don’t care about the shagging but do understand the code will disregard him.
Together that makes a majority, especially if we add in those who care about both.
Given the credence his dodgy code enjoyed, it’s a damn good thing he has been discredited.

David Morris
David Morris
11 months ago

it’s not just the hypocrisy of the would be rulers, it’s their incompetence.

Indeed.

But how does the citizen gain recompense ?

jgh
jgh
11 months ago

But rules are for the little people.

Spike
Spike
11 months ago
Reply to  jgh

Quoting Leona Helmsley, right? No, that was “Paying taxes”

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