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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8239/political-spin-just-a-load-of/

Political Spin: Just a load of …

June 29, 2008 by

(A great book from one of our own. Jim)

Crap: A Guide to Politics.
By Terry Arthur, Continuum, 2007. 173 pages.

Oftentimes, while plugged into the various mainstream media outlets, I find myself dissecting the rhetorical nonsense of the political class. Of course, I am never as funny or as sharp as I suppose. Luckily, there are political writers who can hit the mark, time after time. Terry Arthur is one such writer.

In his new book, Crap: A Guide to Politics (Continuum, 2007), Arthur rips through the rhetoric and sets matters straight. Witty and pointed, he nails the contradictions and lies that spin effortlessly and continuously from politicians and bureaucrats.

Taking the UK as his straight man, Arthur surveys the current issues and debates and responds in kind. His foils provide ample fodder, and Arthur spares no one. In case anyone thinks that the spin in the US is unique, Crap will show that the spin coming out of the UK is no different from the spin coming out of the US. Spin is spin, indeed.

And, it must be so. Just like infants – who the world over begin communicating by babbling the same sounds – the political class and its eternal sidekicks in the media babble the same silly nonsense – the da and ma are evident in every country and from every government. Sophistry recognizes no boundary, no border.

Consider this tidbit from The Labour Party Election Manifesto 2005 (p. 73):

The best defense of our security at home is the spread of liberty and justice overseas.

To which Arthur replies:

Yeah right. For ‘overseas’ read Iraq, where bombing for a decade is supposed to make us all safer in our beds.

Is the UK Labour Party the brother and sister of the Democrats and the Republicans? Or, the Libertarian Party for that matter? Of course, political parties read from the same playbooks, the same script, regardless of country.

Arthur does not let anything slide. He gets the best of the nonsense even when the debate is on the softer side, the youth in this instance (p. 105):

We know that parents and young people think that there should be more things to do and places to go for teenagers. We will publish plans to reform provision in order to ensure that all young people have access to a wider set of activities after the school day such as sport and the arts. (Labour Party Election Manifesto 2005)

Arthur gets it right:

How’s that for planning? And don’t forget the special clothing that some of these activities will need – and new equipment, and even food for sustenance. Go on, go for broke. Except it’s us that’ll go broke.

Indeed, we are all going broke playing nannies at home and abroad (p. 151):

We will triple Britain’s aid in a decade; aid that now lifts more than 5,000 people out of poverty every single day … (Hilary Benn, Labour Party Conference 2006)

Arthur got them again:

But the despotic governments ruling most of the world’s poor just snaffle your aid; within a day or two it’s in a Swiss bank account. Government-to-government aid doesn’t work. I know that, you know that. Or are you telling me that you’ve aided 5,000 despots?

Arthur – an adjunct faculty member of the Mises Institute – has the skills and breadth of knowledge to find the hidden non-sequiturs, the logical Where’s Waldo of the political spin machines. He pulls the nonsense out of the wash and tears through it with his sharp pen.

Funny, witty, and topical, Crap is a book that will keep you laughing through the night, leaving you to think, “That’s true, and funny. Why didn’t I think of it?”

June 7, 2008

Jim Fedako is a homeschooling father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and maintains a blog.

Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com


P.M.Lawrence July 1, 2008 at 1:49 am

“The Labor Party Election Manifesto 2005″, “(Labor Party Election Manifesto 2005)” and “(Hilary Benn, Labor Party Conference 2006)” are all incorrect. There is no such thing as a UK “Labor” Party (although there is an Australian Labor Party here in Australia). In Britain, it’s a Labour Party. The spelling matters and shouldn’t be changed, not only out of respect because it is a proper name but also because the wrong spelling will make internet searches or library catalogue software searches harder.

Oh, and it’s titbit, not tidbit, too.

Amber July 1, 2008 at 5:18 am

According to Webster’s, the meanings of “titbit” and “tidbit” are synonymous. (Unless, you were suggesting some kind of anatomical definition of “titbit”. In that case the two, of course, would be complete different in meaning ;)

Jim Fedako July 1, 2008 at 7:19 am

Labour corrected … thanks.

Tidbit remains.

P.M.Lawrence July 1, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Ah, but Webster’s is an American dictionary, following the US practice of being prescriptive, trying to change the language according to some agenda. In this case, trying not to use “tit”, which was there precisely because it is indeed an anatomical reference to do with feeding infants. British dictionaries try to be descriptive, reflecting actual language.

Terry Arthur July 2, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Just for the record, and P.M.Lawrence, from the author Terry Arthur:

Jim Fedako has already agreed to correct his excellent and very supportive review (yes I would say that of course!) with regard to Labour v Labor. It may help if I confirm that the correct UK spelling (Labour Party etc) is used throughout the book.

P.M.Lawrence July 2, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Just there I was addressing Amber’s notion that ‘Unless, you were suggesting some kind of anatomical definition of “titbit”. In that case the two, of course, would be complete different in meaning’. It does come from an anatomical meaning, a bit of tit for an infant, and they are not different meanings. Furthermore, you can only get it to “tidbit” with an American accent, sounding “t” as “d” (which I believe comes from German immigrants, e.g. Henry Kissinger). In other English speaking countries it is a forced spelling, not matching the pronunciation. But US prescriptive dictionaries have that sort of prudery as part of their agenda. It’s actually the prescriptive approach that I dislike, with its claim to authority to tell me what to think.

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