We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Charles Dickens, they ain’t

What is the difference between a headline and a story?

Well, in this case, a whole world of difference. The headline to this item on the BBC (where else?) spells out in big, bold type:

Calls for tax rise to help children

Ahhhhhh…children. Itty-bitty, helpless, doe-eyed, little moppets. Who can refuse a plea to help the little children? What kind of greedy, stone-hearted monster would vote against the opportunity to bring a ray of sunshine to their adorable, chubby faces?

Spare yourself the struggle with your conscience for only in text of the story does the actual identity of the proposed beneficiaries become clear:

Scotland’s new children’s commissioner has called for a penny on income tax to pay for improvements to child protection agencies, which she claims are badly overstretched.

So the extra tax money is not for children at all but to create more public sector jobs for functionaries.

The only things that are ‘overstretched’ are the public heart-strings they keep tugging on.

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2 comments to Charles Dickens, they ain’t

  • malcolm kirkpatrick

    “To” is a statement of intention. Reporters who use this construction: “A law (or tax) –to– help children” or “to stimulate the economy”, etc. pose as mindreaders. It might work as a measure of journalists’ bias to count the times they write “…to…” X for some X and the number of times they write “…which _____ –said– was to…” X. That is, do journalists uncritically accept statements of intention from Greenpeace and not from Peabody Coal company, from Labor MPs and not from Tory MPs.

  • Guy Herbert

    And “a penny” on income tax (which is just over a three percent increase in that tax) presumably will tax 1% of the marginal income of almost all those families with children. A significant reduction in their parents’ disposable income strikes me as a disbenefit to almost all children.

    Spare the social worker, spoil the child, perhaps.