The Importance of Political Narrative

Telling stories is an important part of who we are, as a nation and as a species. There’s a huge amount of data thrust at us by the world, and, given that we can’t be experts in everything, the stories we tell ourselves and others are a very useful short-hand to help us make sense of the chaos around us.
By failing to realise the importance of storytelling, politicians and voters underestimate the ability of influential leaders to shape public opinion, rather than just chasing it.

In this essay we’ll begin by examining two the standard narratives that have been constructed around the 1983 and 1997 general elections; we’ll look at the part the idea of ‘economic competence’ played in returning the Tory Party to power in 2015; we’ll examine the way people latch onto tangible details over more important but more abstract details; move on to look at Labour’s messaging in the 2015 general election and the question of whether Miliband’s Labour or the SNP were more left-wing; examine debates around the minimum wage and the living wage; look at contemporary failures of political journalism; and then ask whether Jeremy Corbyn is electable.

Continue reading “The Importance of Political Narrative”

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Arriva’s Romanian Scapegoats

This mini-rant first appeared on our Facebook page

One of the ‘trending topics’ on Facebook is that an applicant for a job driving buses for Arriva was refused an interview because he’s not Romanian.

Arriva_R929RAU_(2)
Arriva Dart / Pointer on Burton on Trent route 3B, February 2011 by Dan Sellers.

If you’ve noticed this story superficially, it’s generally portrayed as Brits being treated as second class citizens in their own country, preference given to the foreigners, etc. You can predict who’s selling this version – the usual suspects such as the Daily Mail, Express, Breitbart and so on.

But when you look deeper into the story, it seems that Arriva have been overcharging the immigrant drivers for the housing they’ve arranged, with 7 people living together in a 3 bedroom house. Between the 7 of them, they were paying £700 a week for a 3-bedroom house, back to an agency that Arriva had arranged a deal with.

Foreign workers are not the enemy. Exploitative bosses are.

Further reading: Bus drivers in Hemel are ‘living in cramped conditions and can’t speak basic English’