Monday 30 April 2012

Evolutionary Voting Tactics

Charles Darwin knew a thing or two about niches. His seminal study of the Galápagos finches explained how each species had evolved a means of exploiting the scarce resources of their harsh environment. Beaks. That was the secret.

Humans are a species of many beaks and can exploit almost any environment given, as Barnum observed, enough suckers. And we’re all suckers for one thing or another, aren’t we? Even the beleaguered Yosser was just a finch in search of the right kind of seed.

Here’s a great example. Set up a monitoring body for education and watch the finches flock. The creation of an inspectorate in turn creates inspectors, who then probe and point and write reports. “Something must be done!” They say, so things are done. Principally, resources are diverted to the task; food for finches. As the forerunner of Ofsted was founded almost 200 years ago they’ve had plenty of time to get really good at it.

“New slates!” they demanded and manufacturers sprang up to service that demand. Today, we have a slavering over all things electronic and pointless £gazillions are spent feeding the biggest, dumbest birds you ever did see, with remarkably little impact on the preparedness of the young chicks to take flight. But think of the jobs at stake if we suddenly came to our senses. The education industry is a behemoth and we should be grateful to watchdogs like Andrew Old for keeping a eye on its inanities.

The same happens in medicine; collusion between health authorities, doctors, drug companies, newspapers, television and Uncle Tom Cobley and all conspire to create both the habitats and the denizens to inhabit them. Made-up diseases, made-up cures and made up ‘ologies’ keep millions in employment. Shocked? Don’t be. It’s the economy, stupid.

People have a way of sniffing out an opportunity. And people have a way of doing what little they can to improve their own chances. Entrepreneurs need no government help, but will naturally vote for the side least likely to tax their endeavours into dust. The less able will opt for the side most likely to try to buy their allegiance. And the good people in the middle will recognise that without trade there will be no jobs, no dole and not enough nuts to go round.

Which kind of explains why the latest opinion polls show Labour with a convincing lead against the Conservatives and yet more people (36% to 28%) still trust the Tories with the economy. It isn’t nonsensical, it is entirely consistent with human behaviour.

Which is also why, despite the utterly untenable notion of Ken Livingstone regaining the title of London Mayor, some tits are still going to vote for him.

Tit-for-twat. Don't be a Tit. Don't vote for a Twat.

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