The article is largely a rehash of their recent piece of litter:
While the article has the distinct advantage of being mercifully briefer than the original(They refrain from repeating the genuinely sincere opening and closing remarks. These, of course, contain the clarion call of deadbeat academics the world over; that more research is required!) they manage to summarise their main concern. This is as old as their conspiracy theory obsession itself (46 years young!):
- Conspironauts are psychologically flawed
Conspiracy theories have become an attractive, addictive habit, offering a comforting explanation for an increasingly complex, mysterious world. For those who are distant from the great decisions and the powerful people that shape our lives, there is a mystique that allows little room for coincidence or accident.
- Conspironauts are intellectually flawed
If, despite all evidence, we start explaining all events by cui bono, the world suddenly becomes perhaps a little darker, a little more treacherous and frankly a lot simpler and straightforward than it ought to be. We often find that the facts are crowbarred into a world view that has little time for things that aren't conspiracies.This, I think is a little unfair, especially coming from two cunts who, in fifty sparsely worded pages, completely fail to demonstrate that distrust of our complex and less than straight forward institutions is a bad thing, or has anything, beyond their own etiolated imagination, to do with 'extremism' and is in anyway frustrating to 'counter terrorism'.
As they say in the original crap:
While it is not possible to demonstrate direct causal links between conspiracy theories and extremism, our findings suggest that the acceptance of conspiracy theories in contexts of extremism often serves as a ‘radicalizing multiplier’,* which feeds back into the ideologies, internal dynamics and psychological processes of the group.How they can come to such findings when they admit:
We do not know how many people in the UK actually believe in the conspiracy theories, particularly among minority or disadvantaged communities. Baseline figures of this type would be helpful. Although there is some anecdotal evidence** to suggest a generalised belief in conspiracies may harm trust in government and political engagement, the relationship between belief and action is far fromclear.escapes me.
But that does not prevent them from proposing a solution to a problem that might not exist.
This, as these two fancy themselves as thinkers, is of course to teach the unfortunate how to think. Specifically, how to think in a way that will repair the:
tears in the social fabric that extremists exploit
Maybe I should have a go at this critical thinking they are banging on about.
How should I think about their publisher, DEMOS, whose business is apparently:
Which is a fairly unrevealing description of a parasitical bunch of flim flam artists forcing public and corporate money into its gaping, and supposedly left leaning, yaw.
a think-tank focused on power and politics. Our unique approach challenges the traditional, 'ivory tower' model of policymaking by giving a voice to people and communities, and involving them closely in our research.
Anyway, let's start with a few past and present members of their advisory council, how should I think about:
How should I think about its clients?
More government departments than you can shake a stick at.
Would they benefit from a well connected group like DEMOS(Cui Bono? oops)?
How should I think about its usefulness to these clients?
Well the australian cuckoo, Patricia Hewitt (founder of the strangely similar IPPR) said on Channel 4's (another client, but then I don't really believe in monolithic conspiracies,honest) dispatches programme:
“Now the think tank and the seminar route I think is a very good one and will remain a good one and so identifying the right think-tank. Policy Exchange is a good one at the moment, Demos is another good one. And saying ok, does that think tank already have a relationship with Minister X? Can we invite Minister X to give a seminar on this subject? Your client would then sponsor the seminar and you do it via the think-tank. And that’s very useful, because what you get for your sponsorship is basically you sit next to the Minister.”
How should I think about its mysterious genesis?
Jacques and Geoff Mulgan (who would serve as advisor to the extremely right wing prime minister (and now upscale meeter and greeter) Anthony Blair) apparently set it up under the tutelage and inspiration of former Mont Perelin Society vice president Arthur Seldon. Another of hisinterests, the libertarian alliance, described DEMOS as
"a cavalry of Trojan horses within the citadel of leftism. The intellectual agenda is served up in a left wing manner, laced with left wing clichés and verbal gestures, but underneath all the agenda is very nearly identical to that of the Thatcherites."Seldon's pal, eminence noir and conspiracy activist, Brian Crozier suggested:
The ultimate sophistication of subversion is to take over the government, not by unlawful but by lawful meansI don't think he was talking about getting elected.
So we have a Goldman Sachs/bilderberg general secretary, a creepy parapolitical agitator and a neoliberal ex communist mentored and inspired by an extreme right wing ideologue (whose partners describe the DEMOS project quite frankly as a false flag operation) peddling influence between powerful commercial and political players for their own miserable advancement.
A left wing think tank is definitely an odd place for this lot to hang out, but even ginger nut Danny Alexander, chief secretary to Gideon's glans, is in the mix these days.
I am forced to conclude DEMOS serves as a craven,biddable flunky that will promote the desired policy of its political and corporate paymasters.
I am forced to critically conclude they are all full of shit.
I would say that anyway, but a proper professor (not some soppy 'research associate') wrote:
Instead funding was channelled to think thanks to lobby for policy outcomes. This was part of a major expansion of think tanks across the narrowed political spectrum with Demos, IPPR, the Social Market Foundation and others advocating the business friendly policies favoured by their funders. The think tanks are able to get close to ministers and key figures at party conferences and other events – to act as lobbyists in other words. Any measures to address privileged access and lobbying transparency must include these kinds of policy actors, as well as commercial consultants, in-house lobbyists and campaigning NGOs.
These problems are compounded by issues of privileged access to MPs, ministers and civil servants. We are seeing a complex nexus of relationships fostered by the revolving door in which former politicians like Blair (or Thatcher or Major before him – and last week Patricia Hewitt's consultancy with Boots and advisory work for Cinven ) or civil servants take up lucrative positions with corporations in order to secure business interests. Allied with the revolving door are other symptoms of privileged access such as secondments into and out of the civil service for business people. This can mean that organisations seeking government contracts or market advantage can have someone on the inside taking part in procurement or policy development processes.
If that doesn't sound like conspiracy, even only at a squalid level, it'll do until the real thing comes along.
A laurel and hearty handshake to the good people at:
* I am afraid I don't understand this concept
** No problem with this one