Tuesday, January 03, 2012

 

Emphasis on Ideas and Morality Preferable to 'Modernisation'

This piece by Peter Oborne I thought provocative and
perceptive.Noting that for the past 20 years British politics has been dominated by the 'modernisation project', he tries to unpack what the concept really means in practice. He notes Blair was the first exponent and Cameron his attentive pupil. Oborne argues, however, that 'modernisation'

.....is not a political philosophy. It is really about a set of techniques for securing and then keeping power. Modernisers are actively hostile to political ideas. Indeed, the antiheroes of the modernisation handbook – Foot, Benn, Livingstone, Thatcher – are all figures of powerful conviction.

1. He sees leading modernisers-Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Cameron as 'evasive' about diffult issues; they have 'preferred to insinuate ideas furtively or indirectly into political discourse rather than make their meaning open and clear.'

2. 'Winning' was the key objective, never mind the means- this proving disastrous to public life in that it bred cynicism and lack of trust.

3. Modernisation has proved useless in solving underlying national problems like:

i) the single currency
ii) spending cuts being seen constantly as bad.
iii) talk about immigration being constantly seen as racist.

4. Modernisers' obsession with focus groups and the manipulation of public opinion have proved a hindrance in troubled times to the decisive government required to deal with such problems.

5. Oborne has some good words to offer on Milband:

One of the reasons why Ed Miliband has been consistently underrated as Labour leader is that he is trying to reintroduce values into British politics, and to move away from the manipulation and cynicism of the modernising era. He has done this on a number of fronts. Miliband has consistently and with admirable courage stood up for trade unions as a legitimate voice for working people, launched attacks on the greedy and irresponsible rich, and was the first party leader to take the bold step of condemning press criminality when the phone-hacking scandal broke last summer. All of this maddens Labour modernisers, whose numerous allies in the London-based press have as a result been hard at work trashing Miliband’s reputation. New Labour’s strategy, from the start, was to isolate or ignore the unions, while awarding tax breaks to the super-rich, and special privileges to the Murdoch empire, now so deeply compromised by evidence of widespread criminal conduct stretching into the higher reaches of the organisation. It comes as no surprise that Labour modernisers should regard Ed Miliband’s leadership with antipathy: he is against everything they stood for.

6. Oborne sees Cameron as more complex. He was accepting of the basic modernising agenda: the preference for presentation over substance, the need for the Murdoch press as a strategic ally, a fondness for advertising slogans and rebranding the Tories as 'nice'. However in Brussels recently he tore up the modernising rule-book by apparently choosing isolation in Europe. He is also beginning to re-emphasise morality and ideas.

Oborne concludes his insightful article with:

It is greatly to be welcomed that the leaders of our two greatest political parties seem to have chosen such a moment to abandon the facile discourse of modernisation in favour of tentatively addressing the great, defining moral issues of our age.

Comments:
Amazed as I am that your first post of 2012 wasn't culled from the Groan & thus quoted bleatings of the uber hypocrite Toynbee, imagine my "surprise" at your attempt to big up the millionaire property magnate Milliband E . But wait, is that his chum Glasman sticking the first knife in the hapless chaps' back ? Meanwhile Gordo (last heard of working night & day for his constituents*) struts his stuff at a showbiz wedding - so 1990's Hello Mag darling

(* predominately reliant on largesse** dispensed from the public purse)

(** taken both from taxpayers living & those yet to be born.)

Perhaps you need to find another tribe to get behind ?

Kind regards
 
David
I sometimes wonder why I bother to post your ad hominem rants but on balance I do because your hate and bile filled comments help me, and those who might occasionally read my blog, to see what kind of person supports far right positions like yours.
 
Oh dear. Another generalisation there. Might have been smarter to say to respect freedom of expression methinks.
 
ad hominem rants ?

Acquiris quodcumque rapis, shurely ?

Kind regards
 
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