David Cameron\'s Behavioural Insight Team - Dangerous Mind Manipulation - a la Common Purpose?

On 3rd jan 2011 the Independent newspaper reported on the Tory Cabinet Office Behavioural Insight Team. This secretive little group has been set up to devise psychological initiatives to manipulate people\'s behaviour - also known as reframing. Interesting that this little vipers nest should be uncovered after The UKColumn recently exposed that Francis Maude MP and Julia Middleton CEO Common Purpose had been scheming to set up behaviour change in the Top 200 civil servants using the Common Purpose \'model\'. Behavioural Change is commonly linked to NLP or neuro linguistic programming. What they don\'t tell you is that all NLP carries a risk of mental illness from implanted suggestions that \'fail to take properly\' or which conflict with existing beliefs and norms. The risk may be circa 3% of people who undergo NLP training of some form. Sounds small but when 10,000 people are receiving NLP or 100,000 school children we can expect to see numerous instances of mental illness or other mental disturbances - suicides? - such as the cluster of 39 at Bridgend in Wales.

Of course where children and adults are given NLP without their consent (it is hidden or buried in so called leadership training or self development or motivational courses) these individuals are, in reality, being assaulted. As such they have the right to claim compensation for such assault and ill effects arising as a result.

Are you happy to be \'reframed\' by unknown people for unknown political objectives? Do we not have the right to control our own behaviour? These are dangerous psycho political experiments on the general public and children ...surely they need to be stopped?

Read on for an excerpt of the Independent article. \"Shame, vanity, laziness and the desire to fit in are all to be used as tools of Government policy by ministers acting on the advice of a new psychology unit in Whitehall.

The first glimpse into the confidential work of the Cabinet Office\'s Behavioural Insight Team came on Tuesday when ministers suggested members of the public should be able to make small charitable donations when using cashpoints and their credit cards.

On Friday, the Cabinet Office again followed the unit\'s advice in proposing that learner drivers be opted in to an organ donation scheme when they apply for a licence, and also floated the idea of creating a lottery to encourage people to take tests to prove they have quit smoking.

These initiatives are examples of the application of mental techniques which, while seemingly paradoxical to the Coalition\'s goal of a smaller state, are likely to become a common feature of Government policy.

The public will have \"social norms\" heavily emphasised to them in an attempt to increase healthy eating, voluntary work and tax gathering. Appeals will be made to \"egotism\" in a bid to foster individual support for the Big Society, while much greater use will be made of default options to select benevolent outcomes for passive citizens – exemplified by the organ donation scheme.

A clue to the new approach came early in the life of the Coalition Government, in a sentence from its May agreement: \"Our Government will be a much smarter one, shunning the bureaucratic levers of the past and finding intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves,\" it read.