This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I think you have to be careful Brad about using a phrase like "while trolling the web", as many people might not realise that "trolling" is the US spelling for "trawling" (fishing with a net). Some people might interpret "trolling the web" as someone confessing that they are an "internet troll".
On JEB's piece "Thinking? Oh, but that is so yesterday", I saw an interesting article by FT columnist John Kay (he runs a website where the articles are free-to-view) which offers some explanation for the abandonment of thinking by the British political class. Kay claims it is due to following a political style that he calls "government by announcement".
"Government by announcement is now characteristic of British politics. The goal is to make statements that will receive favourable media coverage. There is little perception of any need to follow up on these announcements, or consideration of how they might interact with other similar announcements, and no concern for the effects of the uncertainty these initiatives create for people engaged in real business. The style was established under New Labour. After a brief interlude of more thoughtful government, the practice has continued under the coalition."
Kay concentrates on the damaging effect on a credible energy policy that results from this approach. It's a pretty good article, but two comments I would make on it are that I think John Major was also doing this "government by announcement" thing as well (examples such as the polytechnics being converted to universities and over-the-top protection for badgers spring to mind), and I don't think that Britain's experience of the nationalised electricity system was 'dreadful' as he claims - the nationalised industry was pretty competent at keeping the lights on, even under extreme conditions like having to deal with a year long coal-mining strike.
I think that another significant contributor to the distinct lack of thinking by British politicians in the present day is the fact that MPs in effect do two jobs nowadays - in addition to dealing with and thinking about the country's legislation they have the increasingly time-consuming function of also acting as the modern version of a "constituency MP". MPs have always represented constituencies, but the local representation role wasn't particularly time-consuming until the Lib Dems, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Cyril Smith in the 1970s, turned it into the role it is today. [I live in the Tatton constituency, and I have personal experience of being represented by an MP, Martin Bell, who predominantly acted as a constituency MP - it was like not really having an MP]. When you watch live debates on the Parliament TV channel (apart from the PMQ session) the first thing many notice is how few people are actually attending the debate. One excuse I've heard for the sparse attendance is that MPs have plenty of other things to do and may be tied up with "constituency business".