There has recently been a number of “studies” which “prove” some seemingly obvious points which no one could disagree with or say: well I’ll be damned, I never knew that!
So, what are these gems which rank alongside CBeebies for insight and new thinking.
1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Academics have ‘proved’ the old Victorian saying to have some real medical benefit. Really? Now we all know – fruit is good for you. You don’t say!
2. Middle class parents buy houses close to schools they want their kids to go to. Academics have ‘proved’ this to be true also. Are these people serious? I was really not aware people did this!
3. There are not many working class kids at grammar schools and they do nothing for social mobility. Well I never! You’ll be telling me not many poor kids go to Oxford or Cambridge next.
The problem with this sort of dross is that it appears to have infected all aspects of life. Because these people are academics or ‘experts’, their rather obvious findings are given a staggering amount of coverage in the media. The real problem with this is the way it affects policy making. Too often these pearls of academic wisdom become all the justification needed to push through daft ideas or wacky policies such as the ‘traffic cones hotline’. Remember that one?
Take for example debates in political parties, played out in the various dailies about the latest wheeze from a fresh faced policy wonk talking in language only used by a select few who have had the ‘operation’. Yet look at the letters pages of these same papers which will tell you about the things that really matter to people. People want concrete action on houses, jobs and the health service, not academic meandering. Just compare the reactions to Ed Miliband’s conference speech in 2012 on Predistribution and this year’s promise to freeze energy prices. Straight forward commonsense wins out.
A reliance on ‘gurus’ and wonky ideas only serves to widen the gap between politicians and the public. Whether it is High Speed Rail, Immigration, Education or the NHS, too many people have stopped believing what they are force fed by the media, the civil service and their politicians. The truth is the public can spot a stunt or sound bite a mile off. Our politics, left and right, has too many ‘Great Answers’, when the truth is you don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.
The CBeebies are out of control! It’s dumbing down of the highest order. It’s bleeding obvious: we need people not frightened to think the unthinkable and tell it like it is. Otherwise, the gap between the public and its politicians will grow wider.
Bah! Happy Christmas.