2022-09-30

Lies, and politicians

I am perhaps old enough to remember when, in general politicians did not outright lie.

OK, bear with me, usually they have speeches and statements written in advance, and carefully checked, by staff with a lot of experience. I mean mistakes can happen, but for a career politician in an high office there is no excuse for that even.

The wording would normally be very careful, and in spite of flunking English language badly, I learned long ago to listen to the choice of wording used, especially by politicians (and on adverts). Note when the wording is not how it would "normally be said". It usually means there is some subtle wording to ensure that what they say is "technically correct" (in the worse sense of that term).

It is not too hard to do - you can easily add "It plan to...", "I strongly believe that...", "In my opinion...", "As I understand it...", "It has been reported that...", "I am told that...", etc. And then say almost anything and not technically be lying.

Sadly, it seems that outright lies are more common, accepted, and even expected. This seems to be particularly bad with Trump and Boris, or at least that is how it seems to me (see what I did there?).

What we have had over the last few days is perhaps one of the worst examples, because clearly a lot of people believed the lie.

The mythical £2,500 energy cap!

For example “We have taken action by the government stepping in, making sure that nobody is paying fuel bills of more than £2,500.” (reported here). The "per year" is implied, and they could weasel on that one I guess. This was not "we plan to", but a statement as "fact". And a lot of people seem to have believed the statement (see here). Indeed, it seems some people are cross how EV car users can charge their car as much as they like and not pay more than £2,500. But it was a lie.

Even "fuel bills" is bad: does that include a petrol car? And the fact there are people that buy gas in canisters, and heating oil, or even wood, are not included in this, is also somewhat bad when using "nobody" in such a statement.

This was refined, but the wording is terrible. We now have: “That’s why we took action to make sure people aren’t paying a typical fuel bill of more than £2,500, that’ll come in on Saturday…” (reported here). Well, "typical fuel bill" is vague at best - one could assume it is "typical for me"... Which is wrong.

But it is worse, we also have: "The decisive action we have taken means that no family will be facing a typical fuel bill of more than £2500, not just for this year, but also next year", (reported here). This time we have the clear "no family". So even if one family faces a "typical bill" of more than "£2500" then it is a lie. You cannot talk of overall average or typical and use "no family" - it is like saying "nobody will have less than average fuel bills". Lots of families typical bill will be higher than £2500. So yeh, lies again, even though they had time to correct the "mistake" of the previous lies.

Is it just me that feels such clear lies should have some accountability, some cost, some penalty?

There is no £2,500 cap

I hope people know this now, but the cap, as of tomorrow, and as it was previously, is "based" on an "average" household bill for the year, i.e. average of all households in a region (as I understand it), but what is capped is actually the per unit usage and per day standing charge. Use more and you pay more - use less and you pay less.

Also, the "cap" (from tomorrow) is quite a bit higher than now, and a hell of a lot higher than this time last year.

Is there a hidden catch?

The fact this is based on average household usage, and even per region, to work out the actual price cap, leads me to assume that if usage changes - if people reduce usage to try and manage some of their fuel costs, then the "cap" will increase to ensure the "average" stays at £2,500. So I would not rule out further changes (increases even) to the per unit price cap during the two year period for this energy price guarantee. It almost makes any collective effort at cost saving pointless. I may have this wrong, but it seems the logical conclusion.

8 comments:

  1. You're not the first to point this out. FullFact have been banging on about this too: https://fullfact.org/economy/liz-truss-energy-price-cap-2500/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, that is the first link in my post, even!

      Delete
    2. Fair cop g'vnor. Never spotted that link on first (or second!) read.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, I try. But feedback always welcome.

      Delete
  2. The new display format is far wors than before. Changing the background from dark to light got rid of the blue on black disaster but here we have single word links hiding because the contrast is still bad. The font size is a problem too. I read it on Firefox on Android, and the font size is the same whether I read it portrait or landscape. I dunno what it looks like on my laptop as I haven't been able to o check since the change. HTH.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I find the language around this issue very bizarre as well. When I first heard about the "cap" I thought it was outrageous that a rich person in a huge house could heat their swimming pool all year round and never have to pay more than £2500, but of course that's not what the policy actually means. It's actually a per-kWh price cap, but I guess they assume we're all too stupid to understand what a kWh is.

    While we're at it, I hate the use of "families" to refer to "households" in this way. Over 8 million Brits live alone (and many of those who don't live alone are merely flat-sharing), but apparently we don't matter unless we are "families" with spouses and children.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The "cap" was a media reporting thing, not a politician thing. I've clearly heard Truss append "for a typical household' to the sentence, only for the media to drop it.

    1) British people on the whole are not exactly honest.
    2) British voters vote for "colourful" politicians/clowns. That's not honest politicians fault. The Tory members could have voted for Rory Stewart (or any other honest politician) but he was realistic about taxes, so they voted for the clown. Same in September, Truss said "lower taxes", so they voted for her.

    British people on the whole need to be a lot more logical about everything really, and especially realising when voting that they are not voting for a TV show. Last month the media reported that people where worried that the selected cabinet was "boring". It's not difficult to see why British politics is in the state it is. Voters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are plenty of clips and quotes where Truss got this very wrong. I am surprised at the "british people are not exactly honest" comment. But there are worries I have about voters as a whole, yes.

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