Start with this pair of sentences:
Policing isn’t about communicating with people. It’s about communicating with people.
That would be a pretty daft instant contradiction, wouldn’t it?
But wait. Let’s say “PR” instead of “communicating”. Because PR = boo! bad! nothing to do with communicating!
Policing isn’t about PR. It’s about communicating with people.
Doesn’t quite work, does it? So let’s throw in something about the nasty internet:
Policing isn’t about PR and fancy websites. It’s about communicating with people.
Ah, that’s better. Second sentence is still a bit contradictory though. So let’s add in something about cutting crime. Cutting crime and communicating aren’t contradictory of course, but it might just hide the meaning a bit…
Policing isn’t about PR and fancy websites. It’s about keeping people safe and communicating with people.
One final touch, let’s change that communicating bit:
Policing isn’t about PR and fancy websites. It’s about keeping people safe and reassuring the public.
And voila. Let’s hope no-one reading that thinks, “Hang on a minute. The public keep on telling researchers they are more reassured the more they know about what the police are doing in their area. So surely reassuring people is about PR and that pair of sentences doesn’t add up?”
Because that would just make it sound like we’ve gone for the easy jibe the media will love and to hell what boring stuff like the evidence that communicating with people does reassure them.
And that of course is something the Taxpayers’ Alliance would never do, isn’t it?