Never one to sidestep a bandwagon, council leader Mike Freer has readily spent taxpayers’ money conducting this pernicious social engineering experiment in Barnet.
Mr Freer was interviewed by Daniel Finklestein for the programme “Persuading Us To Be Good” broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this week.
The idea behind ‘nudging’ is that the messages are supposed to be subtle and discreet - almost subliminal. In Barnet, however, the nudgers are in your face, knocking on doors and telling people to repent their evil ways.
In the interview, Mike Freer says:
“The council has a leadership role. The role of the council has shifted over the last 10 or 20 years from simply being a provider of services, to actually being responsible for helping local citizens improve their lives. I think basically nudging people along - it’s a terrific idea…”Compare these words with Freer’s recent column in the Barnet Press:
“We no longer turn up and say: “We are from the council, we think you need this.” We are moving to: “We are from the council, what do you think you need?” Of course this involves help and advice from experts, but where in the past there was a feeling that the council knew best, now we think that you do.”A classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.