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March 24, 2016



a slightly less angry way of setting out the Dominic Cummings 'uber-pundit'critique?

gastro george

It could be argued that during the New Labour/coalition era, there were actually few policy differences - at least in terms of philosophy if not in detail - so they're all a bit out of practice.

Dave Timoney

The reports of the death of politics have been exaggerated.

The assumption that there is a rational (and therefore objectively optimal) basis to governing "the public sphere", and that this is corrupted by the pursuit of personal interests (or the "narcissistic revelation of personality"), isn't exactly new. Much the same criticism that you level at Cameron was applied to Robert Walpole.

The idea that politics is "the art of solving problems of collective action" has an abstract elegance, but it downplays the pursuit of class interests - i.e. the prioritisation of certain individuals over others. It also runs the risk of preferring technocracy to democracy and privileging certain types of discourse. The "art of rhetoric" is just PR for the educated.

Ralph Musgrave

“What’s more, the government doesn’t even understand what politics is.” Oh go on: politics is the art of telling clever lies. And that nonsense about public spending having to be cut so as to cut the deficit is brilliant: it fools every Tory voter, and 99% of Labour voters and politicians – either that or the latter don’t know how to rebut the lie.


"Most of those who claim to take an interest in it are not really interested in how to govern the public sphere: if they were there’d much more interest in the social sciences."

This really struck a chord with me.

I attended my first Labour party meeting recently. I didn't want to join until I felt more assured of what I actually wanted to achieve by joining.

My initial impressions were really good. The first things I spied was a bookshelf which housed books on Lenin, economics and democracy. To me it hinted that at least some of the members were aware of 'the art of politics'.

I spent the evening as an observer, and soon noticed what I would call a rift in ideology. The comments of the older members seemed more in line with the 'art of politics'. The younger members (they were older than me, and I am in my early 20s) appeared more focus with the concept of winning elections, as opposed to having some sort of philosophical (not sure if that's the right word) underpinning.

The words of the younger members came across as vapid. I don't see winning a local election as an ends, I see it as a means to implement ideas and solutions for people, who voted for you based on those underpinnings (and effective communication of them). Without what I considered as essential foundations, it all felt a bit pointless.

Then again it was the first meeting, and just my impression of events. Maybe the reality is different. Maybe I'm just thinking about it the wrong way. Either way it gave me a new and different understanding of the Corbyn surge.

Bill Wells

The blog bemoans the lack of quality in administration. However, it lays the blame for it on the politicians. Of course they have responsibility for the outcomes but isn't it likely that some of the bad administrators is down to the managers and administrators?

The quality and coverage of public service was considered systematically under the Citizen's Charter and Next Steps Agency period primarily under John Major. And there is evidence that delivery improved. However, when Labour was elected, there was not much support or promotion of this aspect to service to the public by the managers/producers of the administration of public services.


Tired of listening to the endless denigration of the Centre-Left/ New Labour as if the voter work up and somehow had an ideological conversion. This is I feel more a metropolitan intellectual thing and is meaningless beyond the Hampstead/Islington dinner table- if Labour had had a stronger/smarter / articulate leader , a David Miliband or an Alan Johnson or now a Hilary Benn or Dan Jarvis or Kier Starmer they probably would have won narrowly.

Seemingly the anti-SNP Scottish Daily hate Mail conceded in last weeks BBC debate she was the debate winner with 8/10 score. I mention this post modern fact; argue like a clever lawyer on TV as she was and Tony Blair was and the public will listen as you lift some of the Tory Hegemony and pose Social Democracy.


If I may add further you would have thought the English intelligentsia, Leftists and progressives would have realised this by now. David Cameron and Osbourne won because voters reluctantly in many cases preferred their ability and intelligence to that of Ed Miliband and team. Ed lost on poor experience, poor 'personable'ness, too left-wingness ; now we have a Labour leader who is even more of all those same things plus a toxic past . So power, funding , influence with business and the movers and shakers , future thinking all are leaking away from the Corbyn UK Labour Party As the great Independent paper claimed a day or so ago 'Labour is losing the power to win'.

Igor Belanov

leslie48 completely missing the point of the post here.


«All this poses the question: if the Tories are so technically incompetent, why did they win the election? Partly, it’s because the game is biased in its favour. Also, though, it’s because the things I’m describing aren’t confined to the Tories; New Labour was also guilty of poor administration.»

And here we go again and again... Osborne and Blair did politics in its most important form, the true test of competence: delivering the cash to the voters who can return parliamentary majorities.

The huge boom in southern property prices that have given return on cash of 100% per year to southern swing voters have been delivered by both Blair and Osborne, very competently indeed, the rest is indeed just spin.

The southern voters who can return parliamentary majorities may or may not have an opinion on the administrative competence of Blair and Osborne as to secondary issues like benefits for northern voters; as long as the primary issue, southern property prices, is handled competently they won't fire a government that delivers those 100% returns.

But I admit that for a political/economic blogger it is better to pretend that "politics" outside the salient issue of southern property prices still matters; for SimonWL that "politics" is austerity, for our blogger seems to be various aspects of managerialism.

I agree with them that both are important issues, but I think they are largely politically irrelevant, they don't drive the votes of voters who can return parliamentary majorities as much as property prices.

Deviation From The Mean

"The success of once-fringe characters such as Trump, Farage and even Corbyn are double symptoms of this death."

Spoken like a true Liz Kendall fan. I presume her victory would have signaled a new upsurge in political consciousness. Lol!

It is interesting that the author reduces politics to the narrow interests of the bubble. You know that bubble this city boy 'Marxist' tosser never stops fucking bleating about.

We have lived through a dead period of politics, New labour were invented for such a period! The welcome collapse of Third way bullshitery has brought the era of dead politics to an end and at last we see a stark contrast between the political parties. The cosy era of class collaboration, the very essence of New labourism, is making way for a period of class struggle. Which for anyone claiming to be a Marxist is what true politics and history is about.

So let us now call you a city boy Liz Kendall supporting tosser. Because to call you a Marxists would be going too far.

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