Spin, Spun, Spin Off

A government unit aimed at “nudging” people into making better life choices is to become a profit-making business.

The Behavioural Insights Team – known as the “nudge unit” – will join with a commercial partner and become the first policy unit to be spun out of Whitehall.

I suppose one way of looking at this is positively. At least we will not be paying for our own nagging. There is always the possibility that it will go bust and disappear into well deserved obscurity, because, let’s be frank here, the whole concept of a state sponsored nudge unit deciding for us what are better life choices and then nudging us in its preferred direction is deeply abhorrent and contrary to the original nudge concept anyway.

So, yeah, lets see it spun off and sooner rather than later –  and, no, I will not be nudged by anyone, especially government.


  1. No doubt it’s major clients will be Number 10, Quangos and fake charities, but it’s at least off the books now and a ‘cut’ in government spending.

  2. During the dying days of the New-Labour regime it was radio ads that were constantly nagging us. One day I did a tally and found that one third of the ads were government sponsored. Stop smoking, take more exercise, drive more slowly, eat less salt, eat less fat, eat less sugar, drink no more than a thimble-full of booze per week and FFS lose some weight because, although anyone who looks at you would say that you are pretty thin, according to your BMI you are seriously overweight, bordering on obese.

    I grudgingly awarded the coagulation a brownie point because this stuff stopped when they came to power. It turns out though, that they just can’t help themselves can they? I suggest that the political class lead us all by example by living a 100% healthy lifestyle themselves.

      • Surely you have to admit that if my idea was actually put into practice it would be much more fun. Preachy politicians being forced to do games and PE like schoolkids. All of their menus dictated by Jamie Oliver. Their bars could still be subsidised as long as they were restricted to half a pint of beer or one tiny glass of wine.

  3. What makes me wonder is how it could ever be a viable comercial concern without serious favouritism from the Government (which, heh, it turns out they’re getting…); who except people with more money than sense would pay to listen to their self-evident crap? It’ll be the same shit they try to feed us now but just much more expensive.

  4. Hmm. I think this might be better news that it appears to be on the surface. Call me a hopeless optimist if you will, but there’s surely just an outside possibility that this new proposal might be the Government’s way of slyly cutting funds to all those fake “health” charities (ASH spring to mind, but no doubt there are countless others) who currently rely heavily on taxpayers’ money for their survival, without appearing to “ease up” on the “health message” so beloved of politicians of all shades. After all, how can those charities possibly object to funds being diverted to a “nudge” unit such as this when it appears, to all intents and purposes, to support many of their own aims? That would make them appear – shock! horror! – more concerned with their own existence than the furtherance of their much-trumpeted “health” objectives, wouldn’t it?

    And one would hope that with the injection of funds from the private sector, there would be a much better analysis of whether or not the money is likely to be wisely spent. When deciding whether or not to invest, for example, a private funder is more likely to question whether it is really worthwhile to invest in a “nudge” unit who is largely intending to focus their attentions on a relatively small percentage of the population who have already been nudged to death and who are unlikely now to take any notice of further nudging; on the other hand it might well be worth investing in a “nudge” unit who are intending to devote more time to “unhealthy” lifestyles which are indulged in by a much higher proportion of the population – alcohol, obesity, lack of exercise, or overwork, for example. Not, of course, that any of these things are the business of any “nudge” unit – I’d rather they just kept their noses completely out of people’s lives – but at least the hectoring and finger-wagging might just be a bit more even-handed. And that, for smokers, would at least be a bit of a relief.

  5. This is the team that featured in a story in the ‘Evening Standard’ yesterday, about trying to persuade hotels to use smaller plates to cut down on food waste…

    • The response to which should be twofold; who is going to pay for all the new crockery? The second should be simpler, shorter, negative and finish with “off”.

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