Professor Linda Bauld is almost the model public intellectual – clear, careful, insightful. She regularly performs a very valuable function for us all, almost
On Sky TV News two days ago, she was happy to tell the interviewer:
1: The Scottish Government has done far better in communicating with the people.
1: Research has shown greater confidence among Scots in the actions of their government.
Now, this is going somewhere isn’t it? It should be. Greater confidence leads to greater compliance. The researchers were certainly going there.
And, greater compliance means lower infection levels. Obviously?
1 plus 1 equals 2? Professor Bauld wasn’t going there and said:
It’s not that we’ve done better in this pandemic in terms of the indicators we look at, cases, ICU, hospital admissions and deaths. We were doing a little better in the summer but not so much overall, it’s the communication.
Wait, so the better communication and the greater confidence in the government policy in Scotland have been to no avail?
But, but, the infection level in England over the whole pandemic has been 50% higher. It’s currently nearly three times higher. The death rate over the whole pandemic has been 25% higher in England. New admissions to hospital in Scotland are falling while in England, they’re climbing.
I think I know why the professor won’t follow her own logic and face the fact that Scotland has done better. Nobody is saying that. Nobody, because it’s one of those things that cannot be said even though it is true. It’s thought control.
There’s a bit of a myth that those without formal qualifications are more prone to thought control. As Chomsky has noted, it’s the opposite. When you live and work in a world where what you are prepared to say will limit both your career prospects and your presence on high status media, many academics self-censor semi-consciously.
That’s why certain academics appear on TV and others don’t.