My local rag is not part of any of the well-known international media stables. It is a small island, fairly insular, reflective of the mainstream paper. One of the most durable sections has been the Agony Aunt column (sample letter: "Afraid friend is dating a bisexual").

Some things, however, are international.

Its uncritical report of this week's parliamentary debate for an increase in the public debt ceiling was littered with "we are in good shape", "banking sector is sound" and similar citations. Notwithstanding the stark reality that these are in context depressingly misrepresentative assessments of the risk horizon they are, of course, well-intended utterances meant to maintain confidence and smooth furrowed constituent brows.

But to what point must matters degrade until soothing chatter and presentationally inspired policy placebos are recognised as delusional? Recent history says right up to the moment when the wheels fall completely off the wagon.

Take, for example, the identically themed statements issued since 2007 beginning first in the US housing sector. Many pundits, some miscalculating the importance of perceived self-interest, were caught saying as early as 2007 that the worst was past. Many firms and business associations, as late as this summer (the Confederation of British Industry comes to mind) were caught issuing public releases of an overconfident and complacent nature.

20/20 hindsight one might conclude - easy to call them delusional post case. However, they were readily identifiable, more often than not, as delusional at the time of release.

The result is that credibility has been systematically sacrificed on the alter of good intentions whilst appropriate and imaginative forward planning has not, usually, been timely. Why it is policy makers and administrators, above all, do not grasp this obvious truth is a mystery: a little naked honesty clears the thinking admirably and represents a wise longer term political investment.

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  1. Hu // 1/01/2009 02:53:00 AM

    Good blog, Just saw you are in the list of top 50 best blogs from timesonline.
    My blog

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