Opinion Martina Devlin

Sunday 22 October 2017

Martina Devlin: Sloppiness rather than dark forces is damaging good name of think-tank

WHERE there's a choice between a conspiracy and a cock-up, a cock-up is generally the safest bet. Conspiracy theories are entertaining but they rarely stack up, whereas evidence of stupidity is all around us.

When a potentially explosive working paper from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) went public, raised a rumpus and was hastily withdrawn this week, the favourite hypothesis hinged on meddlesome dark forces. Unwarranted government intervention was the prime suspect, with union interference also cited.

The reality appears to be more prosaic, although also disturbing: not an important thinktank behaving like a poodle, but an important thinktank with sloppy standards.

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