Summer’s lease…

27 Aug

We know that summer is nearly done because the pouting, morose Mourinho drags himself into press conferences to bemoan his lot and BT Sport drool over his every utterance. We seem addicted to the pessimist, the downbeat, the prophet of doom. The smiling mouthful of teeth that is Jurgen Klopp gets far less attention than the sulking Jose.

A man called Bobby Duffy has written a book called ‘The Perils of Perception’. He points out that we crave bad news, and journalists love the maxim ‘If it bleeds, it leads!’ We have come to distrust politicians and the media and rely on our everyday experience from which to draw more general truths.

This doesn’t stop the Daily Mail hijacking our sense of insecurity and taking us up the garden path of misinformation. The Mail asserts: ‘Immigrants commit a quarter of all crime in London’. Given that 40% of the capital’s population is immigrant, it looks like they are remarkably law-abiding. Duffy goes on to cover a large range of misperceptions. Brits apparently think that 15% of the population is Muslim. Actually it’s 4.8%. We overestimate wildy, almost always to feed some idea of threat or gloom or prejudice. We are led in this by our leaders in Parliament and the media.

The truth is that life is miles better now that it was when I were a lad. By nearly all credible assessments poverty is decreasingly, crime is falling, terrorism is in decline and longevity is on the rise. There are still plenty of problems for us to sort out but we should resist what he calls ‘rational ignorance’ where we confirm our bias in the face of statistical and other truths.

‘Rational ignorance’ might explain the media’s devotion to the glum dirge of Mourinho. He’s having a laugh at our expense. Now bored with the Premiership he will seek a multi-million payout so that he can ply his gloomy trade in warmer climes. Perhaps he has twigged that the adventure and sparkle of Guardiola, Klopp and Pochettino are things that he cannot match. He has lost his mojo. He’s rationally ignorant.

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