We could call such bulletins The Outcomes, but even that might suggest there could ever have been another result. We could dub them The Predictables, but the same applies: the prediction might still have proved to be wrong. No, I name this News The Inevitables. May God protect them and all those who smile a knowing smile when they occur.
It has a heroic ring to it, that word: as in, Eliot Ness and the Inevitables.You’d have Walter Winchell reading the news, and all would sleep well in their beds afterwards, secure in the knowledge that, inevitably, Frank Nitti got his, and Eliot’s special agents smashed another of the Mob’s illicit stills.
It would make a great name for a new genre of toy from Mattel or Hasbro – with the bulging biceps you’d expect, but not the ability to change shape or turn into machines. Inevitables would simply stomp about looking exactly like you expected them to. Competitors would launch rivals called The Moral Hazards or – for kids with a precocious sense of irony – The Unexpected Consequences.
Every day, news appears and the world’s leading smartarses, on hearing the news, go “Hah!”. But most smartarses rewrite history to suit their own personally generous memory. Every blogger with his own search engine knows only too well the feeling of “I said that would happen!” followed by the failure to find any post even remotely suggesting he said any such thing. No, The Inevitables would be strictly limited to that ‘news’ where everyone from the cat to Noddy knew it was going to happen, because all other eventualities were impossible.
In short, the sort of bulletin devoted 100% to the ideas of politicians, media owners, civil servants, bankers, accountants, lawyers, and policemen. Snippets like these:
NHS hospitals face having to cut staff and services amid the worst financial outlook for almost a decade – with almost half forecasting they will end the current financial year in debt, records show. Board reports covering all 145 hospital trusts in England disclose that 44 per cent expect to end the year in deficit – with a combined “black hole” of more than £330 million between them.
England went out of the World Cup 3-1 on penalties after their quarter-final with Portugal ended 0-0.
Allowing Britain to renegotiate its relationship with Europe is not “urgent”, Francois Hollande has told David Cameron.The comments are a setback for the Prime Minister, who insists that so called “treaty change” has to happen before any referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union in 2017.
Germany’s Bundesbank would favour an end to the European Central Bank’s policy of withdrawing significant amounts of money from the banking system to offset its government-bond holdings, a person familiar with the matter said.
These are just the tip of the kind of iceberg that would effortlessly sink China were that country an ocean-going vessel. And if you would contest that, here’s some more supra-surface bits of it to gaze upon:
‘Rogue’ dental practices are exaggerating and inventing work to defraud the NHS, according to an audit of 5,000 invoices by NHS Protect. Some practices were submitting false claims on behalf of non-existent patients, and others for more work that had really been carried out.
The honeymoon is over for Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. The financial markets loved it when Abe announced a three-arrow strategy last year for ending his country’s two decade struggle with deflation and sluggish growth. Share prices soared and the yen fell after the new government pledged large-scale quantitative easing, higher public spending and structural reform in a package dubbed Abenomics. But markets were left distinctly underwhelmed on Monday by Japan’s latest GDP figures, which showed growth at 2.6% in the year to the second quarter of 2013, down from 3.8% in the 12 months ending in March. The rate of expansion was far weaker than expected and scotched the always rather fanciful hopes that Abe had found a magic bullet for Japan’s woes. He hasn’t.
Popular backing for Mr. Erdogan’s leadership fell to 39% in January from 48% in December, according to a survey of 1,000 people from pollster Metropol. In the last decade, the borrowing burden has shifted to private enterprises and a significant debt stock has materialized, that hovers like a bomb over the private sector.
Directly as a result of lax licensing laws, a primary cause of A&E problems is alcohol. All that can be done for a drunk patient is to sober him or her up by pushing intravenous fluids through a drip and monitoring them for four hours. On a Friday or Saturday night, 70% of the patients in an emergency department might be there because they’ve drunk too much.
There is no mass market for The Inevitables. The overwhelming majority of citizens know precisely what the result of most media campaigns, political policies, tax laws, cost-cutting drives, takeovers and police investigations will be: exactly what they expected. To run this service at a profit, one would have to distribute it on the basis of a cable Channel piped only into the homes of the Establishment….a sector the marketing chaps might term The Numbskull Niche.
This would, however, be entirely commercial, for the geographic investment would be conveniently limited: if one mopped up all the intelligent idiots in Washington, London, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Delhi and Melbourne, any supplier of les dernieres inevitables would have 97% of the market. Not only would the viewers be totally loyal, every single item would have within it the potential for drama, by dint of being completely unexpected by the audience. Imagine the morning news:
“Global relief was widespread this morning as the Earth stayed within an orbit around the sun established some three billion years ago, but brought into question of late by neoliberal astronomers who questioned whether such inflexibility was really healthy for solar systemic course flexibility in the gravitational space”.
It can’t miss. Anyone interested in helping The Slog attract seed capital for this obvious winner should write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Warning: applicants may be referred to the authorities as nuts. Idea not hatched in a factory producing nuts. Nut trace elements may be present. Consult your Life Coach before applying. The value of nuts and Life Coaches can go up as well as down.