Tuesday, May 09, 2006

early doors Aaarowatch

straight out of the gate; if anyone wants to Watch this one properly go for it:

A few quick notes:

1. "Pink mermaids" and "hoo ha". I've noted before that when Dave is short of an argument, he reaches for the PG Wodehouse, haven't I? What a prize chump the blighter is, it fair makes me want to hurl a bread roll.

2. Look me in the eye and tell me that the couple of paragraphs taking the piss out of Neal Lawson for writing a dull "manifesto" full of meaningless platitudes isn’t a proxy war aimed at another Manifesto that Dave hasn't signed?

3. Aaro you Can Not Do Economics. Please Don't Try. It may be that Neal Lawson's plan for a European Social Model with British Characteristics doesn't add up. But it's not as if your own breathless adoption of the Thomas Friedman "The World Is Flat" thesis adds up to a whole lot more. In this article you've been simultaneously against tax-and-spend, then for it. Then you told us how, in an afternoon in Barking, you realised that "People and Jobs Are Moving More Rapidly". Then we get some factoid about foreign students, but now it's a "challenge" that we have to "react" to.

This is the "status quo is no longer an option" Aaro, back and invigorated by the marathon no doubt. The only enemy is "stasis", which means that you "can't compete with economies that are more dynamic". I strongly suspect that Aaro could not, if pressed, give a specific definition of what he means by the key words "stasis" and "dynamic", and this is a problem. In general, the word "dynamic" should always be a red flag in any economic journalism or comment; it is typically used in contexts where is actually only has the content "economies which have recently been successful", but in which is looks like it is an intrinsic quality of economic systems which explains their success. The etymology almost certainly has more to do with the Dynamic Duo than with Bellman's fundamental equation of dynamic programming. In other words, someone saying "Freedonia succeeds because of its dynamic economy" is trying to disguise the fact that they have no theory of Freedonia's economic success with a sneaky tautology. And someone saying "we have to compete with the dynamic economy of Freedonia" is combining a non-theory of Freedonian growth with an incorrect theory about whether Freedonia's "dynamism" is something that requires a particular course of action from us.

Finally, after ploughing through six turgid paragraphs of directionless "whither Britain, in this world of Chinese undergraduates" Globollocks, can anyone suspect otherwise than that the sub's headline "Change of direction . . . new agenda . . . Oh, save us from these wild witterings" was a cry for help?

Update: Timothy O'Leary? Is Dave talking about the guy who took acid with Aldous O'Huxley, Paul O'McCartney and Hunter S O'Thompson ?


Blogger Benjamin said...

Aaronovitch has settled comfortably into increasingly stodgy defences of New Labour for some time. Rather like a competant but boring nightwatchman batsman sent in to bide things over. Another dot ball.

Compass is hardly a far out leftist group. And anybody claiming to have any sort of centre left leanings would surely want to do some thinking about what the future post Blair could hold, contributions to it. Compass seem to be doing it in a reasonably rigourous way - rather more so than a certain other "manifesto" (which apparently, according to its main author, is not actually a manifesto anyway.)

People like Kamm and Aaronovitch at the Times are an odd breed; claiming to be leftwing but writing little to persuade anybody that this is really the case. (Witness Kamm's recent excoriation of J.K. Gailbraith!)

Anyway, Aaronovitch seems to have swallowed neo-liberalism hook, line and sinker, and expressed it in rather crude Thatcherite terms. Of course, neo-liberalism is not necessarily the answer, it's one set of answers among many. (The Chinese, of course, are hardly following it very closely!)

And those asked (or forced) to make more sacrifices under neo-liberalism will not include a certain Mr. Aaronovitch. Unless of course old Rupert decides on a bit at pruning at News Corp, and gets rid of a few of the fake lefties...

5/09/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Who is Timothy O'Leary? Is he the guy that wanted to change the world with LS O'D?

5/09/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaronovitch is clumsily referencing the counter culture guru of the 1960s.

The reference is so bizarre and wrong headed that it should barely need addressing. Describing folk concerned with globalisation including Compass as the "Timothy O'Learys of the 21st century" is simply daft.

The straw man is a "dog whistle" type reference to his conservative readers: look at all these horrible whinging lefties, they are like those 1960s wierdo layabouts, dreaming impossible dreams. The Timothy Leary reference does the job.

But on a serious level I am not sure how it relates to Compass, the ILO, trade unions or anybody else fighting for decent working conditions, sane working hours, a minimum wage, and decent public services etc.

I know our hero has run a marathon and all, but I am sure some of those folk are at least as hard working as Hampstead Dave and his grueling columns in the Times and TV work.

5/09/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I've got fond hopes that someday someone will set up an outsourced punditry operation in Karnataka or Guangdong. It wouldn't be hard to do. Plenty of English speakers out there, and these columns are bolted together out of pre-existing bits rather than actually written. Then maybe Dave would be a bit less smiug about the need for other people to accept change in the name of dynamism.

Relevant to which, it's a bit rich to accuse others of not thinking things through when he's just repeating cliches himself.

5/09/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something's just occured to me. Aaro's position is that the government is all wise and all knowing...because only it truly recognises the power and dynamism of markets.

Except of course, when it screws up, when it is defeated by the elemental forces of human nature itself.

And I think that's actually a pretty good synthesis of the core - arf! Blairite view.

5/09/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I've got fond hopes that someday someone will set up an outsourced punditry operation in Karnataka or Guangdong.


5/09/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I've got fond hopes that someday someone will set up an outsourced punditry operation in Karnataka or Guangdong. It wouldn't be hard to do.

Well, Blunkett could go for starters.

5/10/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Timothy O'Leary is related to the lady who owned the famous Chicago cow?
Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Mrs. O'Leary lit a lantern in the shed.
Her cow kicked it over,
Then winked her eye and said,
"There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight!"

5/11/2006 03:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A short word to 'Aaronovitch Watch', en passant (I was looking for the etymological origin of the phrase, 'Early doors' via Googly when I found you):

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mr A's article here from last May (which I found most interesting, by the way, and ditto many of the amusing responses) youse at AW should always bear in mind when considering the thinking and writing of Mr Neal Lawson, that he is a wanker who writes toss.

breast o'duck,


1/15/2007 04:25:00 PM  

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