The media - and the national press in particular - is full of myths. These usually exist either because it is convenient for government if you believe them; because newspaper editors want to sell copies by making you afraid; or simply because they sound plausible and no one bothered to check the facts or think them through in the first place. The majority of these fabrications are either scary or depressing, but that sells papers!
The 25 myths exposed include the following: the middle classes are merely the 'coping classes', eking out a living on the edge of penury - and yet middle-class income has more than doubled in real terms over a generation; boom and bust in the economic cycle can be conquered - it can't, but the media hypes the booms and then feverishly talks of 'meltdowns' when the going gets tough; Britain has eradicated unemployment - it hasn't, as 2m people are now on incapacity benefit and are no longer included in the unemployment statistics; Britain's wildlife is disappearing - the media too often reports just the bad news giving a sense of helplessness, when in fact there have been many conservation successes; and, mass university education is good for the economy or is it the last middle-class freebie that ill equips young people for cutthroat global competition? Economic growth will create wealth and jobs - GDP is growing, but so is the population, fueled by migrant workers, thus making it harder for work less Britons to find work. Public sector workers are underpaid - they are compared to the average private sector salary, but on a median scale public sector workers are better paid.
Celebrities' opinions matter - no they don't and yet too much public comment comes from ill-informed poorly qualified celebrities with batty ideas, making us stupid in the process. There is a crime epidemic - no there isn't. Crime is falling and yet papers stoke up fear as they know it sells papers. There are always 'enough' crimes to report to keep the hysteria high. Labor is taxing - the New Labor government has levied a smaller share of the national income in tax than at any point during Mrs Thatcher's regime. Having it All - the assumption we can have our cake and eat it without understanding that for most gains there are trade offs. Elegantly and wittily written, by "Financial Times" journalist David Turner who has covered all manner of subjects over his career, "The False Estate" will make you better informed and possibly happier by demolishing 25 of the most common myths.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Dimensions: 194 x 130 mm