Friday 18 September 2009

Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink!

Nudging - or brainwashing to use the correct term - is the latest buzzword to describe the method by which politicians seek to control our behaviour if we refuse to be good boys and girls and act in a manner the state deems to be acceptable.

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.


Brian Coleman aka Mr Toad has GOT to go said...

Perhaps this lack of communication between Mr Freer's hands is the perfectly innocent reason for his 'one-handed bloggers' comment.

Perhaps he assumes that it is the same for everybody - nudging with one hand while winking with the other.

DarkKnight said...

There's nothing wrong with encouraging people to be good neighbours. However, stress and conflict are often the result of poor planning and overcrowding.

Instead of this rather 'creepy' initiative, Mr Freer would do far better to abandon his wholly unwanted 'regeneration' plan for Cricklewood which will cause much distress for the good citizens already living there, lowering the quality of life and hugely adding to traffic congestion.

This plan has nothing to do with regeneration, but is all about cramming as many people into one area as possible - thereby giving the Council a new source of revenue in the form of Council Tax.

If Mr Freer is serious about asking "what do you think you need?", he should listen to what people are saying. Scrap the scheme!

Amanda said...

Erm David I think you will find that in actual fact it WAS NOT taxpayers money that Cllr Freer spent on the whole 'Nudge' stuff.... it was in fact money from central coffers!

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Tell me Amanda, who provides this money from "central coffers"? The tooth fairy?