Tag Archives: False Consensus Effect

Winning elections is a lot harder than you think

Peace in our time

Sometimes short-term popularity isn’t a good thing.

… and the benefits of doing so are much bigger than a lot of commentators seem to realise.

When I say (in the previous post here) that a politician, or a political party can get away with backing a particular cause – my convictions on Trout Dipping, for example – as long as it enjoys ‘a reasonable level of support’, I mean that Trout Dipping needs to have enough of an attraction to allow a political party to include it their manifesto in a way that wouldn’t damage their chances of winning an election.

Sure, they can adopt one or two points of conviction. The public understand that, sometimes, politicians have to make ‘tough choices’ and that Neville Chamberlain’s popularity in 1938 provides us all with an object lesson. Continue reading

Your opinions annoy everyone else

G20_crowdThe other day, I promised to start answering the question of how I think it can be possible to be a principled politician while avoiding the career-ending pitfalls of principle. This post won’t do it, but it will help build to the answer. I’ll need to make this point on the way.

Imagine we were building a democracy from scratch, after some kind of apocalypse? All property rights would be void, all power-relations would be gone and we’d be working on a blank sheet of paper.

There are all sorts of logistical and logical problems we’d have to solve, but one of the most interesting ones would be the points at which human nature – however you want to define it – reject democracy and work against it. Continue reading