Everytime someone blinks Dr Eoin Clarke seems to put more nails into the coffin of his reputation as a coherent, never mind credible, commentator.
This week, we had Dr Eoin prattling away about how Consumer Choice is a bad thing (to be fair-ish, it is a polemic), based on a visit to Starbucks in Paris.
I don’t like choice. No, sorry that was a lie. I hate choice. I detest it. Simplicity is best. . . .
To me, a hospital and a doctor serve a function. Its not complicated. If I get sick I go to my doctor, he gives me a prescription. If I get really sick I phone 999 they take me to a big white building and put me in a bed. Since when did it all get so complicated? I don’t want to book a surgeon. I don’t want to choose my care, to rate my food, to score my surgeon. This is not X-factor this is my health. I am an historian not a medical genius. I would much prefer it if my doctor or hospital made my choice for me.
Fitting the name of Dr Eoin Clarke’s blog ‘the Green Benches’, posts are currently being recycled, and I’ve archived a screendump from the original September 2011 one here (1.5mb), including the (interesting) comments thread.
Frances Coppola came up with the brilliant quote:
The real hilarity of Clarke’s coffee experience is that actually his problem was LACK of choice. What he wanted wasn’t on the menu. So his solution to his lack of choice is to have only one item available, namely the one he wants. Thereby forcing all others to like what he likes or lump it.
And here’s Dr Eoin twittering away about Gordon Brown yesterday, demonstrating his usual legendary grasp of numbers and how to reason with them:
Let’s leave aside the curious Gordonion absence from Westminster, presumably a result of Brownian Motion where Mr Brown is bounced around the world at random making speeches.
Perhaps such absence should count against the positives of any such (commendable) charitable donation, but let’s take a little peek at Dr Eoin’s imagination.
Did Gordon make a million pounds?
That depends how precise you are being.
In fact £1.4m, as reported by the BBC, after the publication of the House of Commons Register of Members’ interests. So that’s OK in Twitter terms:
Gordon Brown has earned more than £1.4m since he stood down as prime minister, including fees and expenses.
The ex-Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said that “not a single penny” of the money went to Mr Brown personally.
It was all donated either directly to charity or to help the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown fund charity work.
Did he give every single penny to charity?
Errr. Nope. That’s 22 carat Eoinobollocks.
As the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown website puts it:
We are budgeting to meet salaries, accommodation costs and staff expenses of around £550,000 a year. In addition to the costs of the Office, the costs associated with Mr Brown’s role as Distinguished Global Leader at New York University are met by New York University; as Chair of the WEF Policy Coordination Board are met by the World Economic Forum; and as Visiting Fellow at Harvard University are met by Harvard University. Gordon did not write his recent book, Beyond the Crash, for profit. All author proceeds from the book are donated to PiggyBankKids.
The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown is a Company Reg. No: 7362179. And £550k is a huge amount of administration for what amounts to a private office for 2 people.
Did he give £1m to charity?
Errr. Nope. That’s Eoinobollocks too.
Specifically identified charitable donations come to something around £120k, as reported by the Financial Times:
Figures published by the Financial Times now reveal that while absent from Parliamentary duties, Mr Brown privately earned £1.07 million
Money earned by Mr Brown is paid into a company “The Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown”
Mr Brown insists that he does not receive “a penny” for his work outside Parliament and that all the money goes to employing staff and to charitable organisations.
£123,429 has been paid directly to charities by organisations and companies as a result of Mr Brown’s work.
That is a very Eoinonian version of “every single penny went to charity”.
In his desire to bend the knee to the Great Gordon, I think Dr Eoin has translated Mr Brown’s:
not a single penny of the money went to Mr Brown personally
He gave every single penny to charity.
And it’s also very Eoinonian to construct a big hero-worship based on a statement that you have misunderstood.
The thing that amazes me is not that Gordon Brown seeking to big up his activities. He’s a politician and God knows he needs some comfort from somewhere after his record as PM.
But that Dr Eoin can make such a dog’s breakfast of reporting something so simple.
He is reminding me of a Biffo the Bear comic strip in the Beano, where the good Bear tripped over the cat and lost the eggs AND the toast.
When asked for breakfast, Biffo replied:
If we had any eggs, we’d have had eggs on toast, if we had any toast.
Even when the account is based on recognisable facts, they are mangled beyond recognition, then mangled further in the recounting.
Then conclusions are drawn in any of 28 different random directions, none of which make any sense.
Let me illustrate.
Usually 2 and 2 is 4.
When people get their maths wrong, 2 and 2 becomes 3, 5, 6 or 22.
When Dr Eoin gets involved, 2 and 2 add up to a packet of salt and vinegar flavoured turquoise Jabberwocks, with a Hungarian catflap garnish. Orthogonal reality, you see.
And – after two years of idiotic wibbling – he still hasn’t come back from dimension Eoin.
One day when Dr Eoin does a statistics or economics evening class for a week or two, he’s going to get a hell of a shock.
Meanwhile, is there a cartoonist out there with an interest in starting a new strip: Eoinonomics?
There’s a theme here about some areas of the prominent blogging left becoming more and more boneheaded, and the media left becoming sillier and sillier as they treat the boneheaded blogosphere as a serious source.
We will return to that.