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Friday, June 24, 2005

The first spin doctor

Did Moses conduct the first referendum? Biblical texts indicate that he almost certainly did not. After all the ten commandments were imposed on his people, they did not have a chance to accept or reject them in a plebiscite. However, according to Rhodri Morgan on Wednesday, the commandments comprise the ideal constitution on which to base a vote.

The First Minister was commenting in the Assembly on the outcome of the French Referendum on the European Constitution and the fact that every voter was issued with a copy of the aforesaid document, roughly the size of a telephone directory. No wonder they voted 'Non':

I agree with you about the fundamental mistake that was made in presenting a big book of rules to people. In some ways, you have to admire the confidence of the French Government in sending something as thick as a telephone directory to every single voter in France, and expecting them to come out and say, ‘This is pretty big, so we will vote for it’. A big book of rules will not go down well in the context of a referendum; if you are going to bring in rules, you should, like the ten commandments that were handed down on two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai, keep it simple. The ten commandments cover criminal law, agriculture policy and family life in probably no more than 100 words in total. Something like that would have a much better chance of being voted through.

The question then is: was Moses the first spin doctor? He certainly knew how to win over the electorate when it came to adopting a controversial new set of rules. Maybe the European leaders should go back to basics and emulate his methods.
First spin doctor would have been God, surely. Creates an absolute disaster and still gets people to worship him, managing to present the problem of evil as nothing to do with him.

Fantastic job.
The 10 commandments represent a covenant which implies that the people had to accept for it to be valid. Apart from the fact that they are not commandments (but declarations) and they are not 10, the people didn't quite accept them the first time round... :)
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