It’s a new piece of jargon but it reveals a valuable insight.
Professor Hood explained that ‘negativity bias’ was the phenomenon that good news is scarcely visible and quickly forgotten. Bad news is indelible, magnified, multiplied and never forgotten.
We remember Government’s for their foul-ups not their successes. A recent case was the megaphone reporting of the innuendoes against Peter Hain and the micro reporting of his innocence. The unforgettable sin of Thatcher was the Poll tax, Blair the Iraq war and Brown, the 10p income tax. They all had their successes. Who remembers them?
It’s negativity bias.
Another witness Tony Travers made several telling points. One was the dislocation between the understanding of life by civil servants who make laws and the population that suffers from them.
Some civil servants believe that Tax Credits designed to overpay allowances and then claw them back at the end of the year believed that this was a workable tax. It was based on the belief that the average family had a working balance of £1000s in their bank account to deal with these adjustments.
They did not know that most families live from week to week and adjust their spending accordingly. The demands for the repayment of overpaid allowances have caused widespread distress and debt. A good well-meant tax inflicted anxiety on many families.
There are many other examples of Patrician Government imposed their life concepts on the mass of Plebeians. This is very bad government.
Jacqui Smith produced a waspish reply to a topical question from Independent MP Andrew Pelling. He was elected as a Conservbative in 2005. In 2007 Pelling was investigated over allegations of assaulting his pregnant wife. His 26-year-old second wife alleged her husband assaulted her at their home in September 2007.
Pelling was suspended from the Conservative Party after his arrest and sits as an Independent. The new topical oral questions allow MP to raise matters of immediate interest. Hansard records yesterday’s exchange.
Mr. Andrew Pelling (Croydon, Central) (Ind): If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith): Domestic homicide of women is at the lowest rate for 10 years. Conviction rates for domestic violence cases have risen from 46 per cent. in 2003 to 72.5 per cent. in 2008. Between 1997 and 2007-08, there was a 58 per cent. fall in domestic violence incidents. Despite all that, we know we must do more, particularly at the Christmas period when women are at increased risk. For many, Christmas is a family time but for some it is a time of fear, violence and isolation……..
Jacqui could have answered this question in a hundred different ways. No doubt, it was sheer coincidence that she homed in on violence to women.
He is here to chair an AGM of the parliamentary Mencap group. Following his long career making the nation laugh in the early days of television, he devoted decades in working for the mentally handicapped.
He had a personal interest with his child who had mental health problems. Sadly one of his seven grandchildren has some similar difficulties. ‘Although he is a great swimmer’ Brian told me with pride.
At the aged of 85 Brian still fulfils a full programme of work as the President of Mencap.
He is great example to us all.
Security threatened ?
Some were cynical that Damien Green’s arrest could not possibly involve national security. Tonight's report suggests that there was a basis for an arrest. One civil servant’s leak certainly did.
A Scotland Yard employee was jailed for eight months for leaking secret information about a planned al-Qaeda attack to the Sunday Times.
Thomas Lund-Lack, 59, a civilian member for the Metropolitan police's specialist operations in the counter-terrorism command, had last month pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to wilful misconduct in a judicial or public office. He disclosed secret documents - a Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre report - to a journalist from the Sunday Times, which ran a report on April 22. "Disclosure of this nature should and ought to attract immediate custody," said Mr Justice Gross, when handing down sentence today in Kingston Crown Court. "I shall impose such a sentence in this case with no little sadness but equally no hesitation."
Civil Service Supremo Gus O’Donnell quoted this case in his justification for calling in the police in Green’s case. The judge in this instance reminded civil servants of the perils of leaking to the press. The maximum sentence for such an offence was life behind bars. The Sunday Times claimed on April 22 that Iraq-based al-Qaeda leaders were planning terror attacks in the UK. Mr Justice Gross said: "Mr Lund-Lack will understand the need, as anyone in court will understand, that to protect your free society it is essential that some intelligence must be kept secret. Secrets must be kept and they cannot be kept if an insider breaks his bond of secrecy.'