Political Spin: Just a load of ...

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A Guide to Politics
. By Terry Arthur, Continuum, 2007.
173 pages.

while plugged into the various mainstream media outlets, I find
myself dissecting the rhetorical nonsense of the political class.
Of course, I am never as funny or as sharp as I suppose. Luckily,
there are political writers who can hit the mark, time after time.
Terry Arthur is one such writer.

In his new
book, Crap: A Guide to Politics (Continuum, 2007), Arthur
rips through the rhetoric and sets matters straight. Witty and pointed,
he nails the contradictions and lies that spin effortlessly and
continuously from politicians and bureaucrats.

Taking the
UK as his straight man, Arthur surveys the current issues and debates
and responds in kind. His foils provide ample fodder, and Arthur
spares no one.

In case anyone
thinks that the spin in the US is unique, Crap will show
that the spin coming out of the UK is no different from the spin
coming out of the US. Spin is spin, indeed.

And, it must
be so. Just like infants — who the world over begin communicating
by babbling the same sounds — the political class and its eternal
sidekicks in the media babble the same silly nonsense — the da
and ma are evident in every country and from every government.
Sophistry recognizes no boundary, no border.

Consider this
tidbit from The Labor Party Election Manifesto 2005 (p. 73):

The best
defense of our security at home is the spread of liberty and justice

To which Arthur

Yeah right.
For u2018overseas' read Iraq, where bombing for a decade is supposed
to make us all safer in our beds.

the UK Labor Party the brother and sister of the Democrats and the
Republicans? Or, the Libertarian Party for that matter? Of course,
political parties read from the same playbooks, the same script,
regardless of country.

Arthur does
not let anything slide. He gets the best of the nonsense even when
the debate is on the softer side, the youth in this instance (p.

We know that
parents and young people think that there should be more things
to do and places to go for teenagers. We will publish plans to
reform provision in order to ensure that all young people have
access to a wider set of activities after the school day such
as sport and the arts.

Party Election Manifesto 2005)

Arthur gets
it right:

How's that
for planning? And don't forget the special clothing that some
of these activities will need — and new equipment, and even food
for sustenance. Go on, go for broke. Except it's us that'll go

Indeed, we
are all going broke playing nannies at home and abroad (p. 151):

We will triple
Britain's aid in a decade; aid that now lifts more than 5,000
people out of poverty every single day …

Benn, Labor Party Conference 2006)

Arthur got
them again:

But the despotic
governments ruling most of the world's poor just snaffle your
aid; within a day or two it's in a Swiss bank account. Government-to-government
aid doesn't work. I know that, you know that. Or are you telling
me that you've aided 5,000 despots?

And, it's likely
we have.

Arthur — an
adjunct faculty member of the Mises Institute — has the skills and
breadth of knowledge to find the hidden non-sequiturs, the logical
Where's Waldo of the political spin machines. He pulls the
nonsense out of the wash and tears through it with his sharp pen.

Funny, witty,
and topical, Crap is a book that will keep you laughing through
the night, leaving you to think, "That's true, and funny. Why
didn't I think of it?"

7, 2008

Fedako [send him mail] is a
homeschooling father of five who lives in Lewis Center, OH, and
maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

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