A friend said she thought government was like that - there is one bit of business going on in the public view, which corresponds to culturally accepted narrative of 'what government does' and then another thing going on which is government actually being effective and producing results while our attention is on the showmanship. She thought the current government were only doing the 'government narrative', like a magician who does the hand-waving and distraction, but who isn't actually working meanwhile to make the trick happen.
And then I was comparing what happened to the Lib Dems in 2010 - and we saw a lot of this on livejournal - to a kind of hypnosis. They were swept up by a powerful narrative, and it ate them and destroyed them. But I don't feel they are blameless, because they were psychologically ready to be tricked. They were kind of asking for it.