When Facts Change

Spookily following on from yesterday’s post, I heard yet more talk radio, this time on BBC Radio 4. It was about neutrinos. There was a potentially baffling half-hour on how our view of the universe has swung each time a new physics theorem is ‘proved’.

The one useful selling pointer was when a professor quoted game shaping economist John Maynard Keynes;

When the facts change, I change my mind. What would you do?

This programme was curiously preceded by a debate about why politicians seem so reluctant to change their minds. When Maggie famously said “this lady’s not for turning”, she was part of a U-turn avoiding, flip-flopping free movement that appears all embracing. The conclusion was that getting caught up in the vortex of the continual news cycle, unnecessarily makes modification of positions and an evolving of opinions appear weak.

This goes against the grain of the Keynes doctrine. And as presenter Evan Davis cutely observed, “when the facts don’t change, I change my mind”.

Think about the implications of this when in the blood and thunder of a tight campaign.

The issue of prospects not wanting to be seen to be similarly ‘weak’ can prevent them from publicly coming over to your point of view.

If you suspect such intransigence is down to this, then bringing up the Keynesian quote may well ease their path to your side. Get your new “facts” at the ready…

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