Friday, June 23, 2006

all power to the grammar schools

Nick, back in 2003.

Power is New Labour's first concern: how to hold to hold on to power, how to expand power and how to crush rival centres of power... what is at stake is the ability to check an over-mighty government.

Nick, in the New Statesman just now.

Compass was founded by former special advisers and workers for the leftish think-tanks that had once believed in Tony Blair. Although disillusioned, they retained the belief that you can’t change anything without winning power. And that was good to see, too.

Well, we all have our encounters with realipolitik. But as I understand it, the first rule of that particular genre is not to confuse your own hobbyhorses, pet causes and assorted twitches and jerks with the business of getting and keeping it. And this is where the problem starts. Here Nick lays out a question the Labour Party really needs to ask to do to retain hold of this commodity:

For how long will liberal leftists deploy cultural relativism to excuse the sexism, blood lust, homophobia and racism of the Islamist far right?

Well yes, spot on. That’ll get ‘em streaming to the polls. In other news, the latest manifestation of Nick’s grammar school obsession relates to the fact that there are now apparently more public schoolchildren in the media than ever. Like the good middle class grammar school Oxbridge boy he is, Nick thinks that this is why New Labour’s manifest achievements don’t get fair coverage; because the media are simply too rich to care about all those poor people in places where poor people live, up beyond the formerly smoky horizon, places like like, errrr, wheresit, oh yeah, Tyne and Wear, that’s it…

It seems to me that since Nick had his conversion experience, he’s generally lost interest in the world, or at least that large part of it that exists outside the conduct of the greatest intellectual struggle of our time. The basic man emerges by default, along with his basic prejudices, blind spots, obsessions and mental hangnails. Nick constantly recycles articles and revisits pet obsessions. He seems to have reverted to a state where he just relies on instinctual resentments, perhaps including that of a middle class Oxbridge student from the provinces who was less well connected than his peers, and who had to get his start in journalism on a provincial paper in Birmingham.

It seems to me that Nick was right the first time. The fact that there seems to be nothing to Labour anymore but tabloid chasing and the squalid court politics of the Blair Brown succession indicates that there never was much more to it than the getting and keeping of power, and that this is what happens when everything else falls out of view. But then, somethinbg similar happens when you become obsessed with the greatest intellectual struggle of our time.

rioja kid


Blogger Benjamin said...

This post does sum up one of the key problems with the more hardline Decents. It's the danger of putting your eggs all in one basket: the basket of the greatest intellectual struggle of our time, adopting a purview so deeply coloured by that "struggle".

I mean what if they are just plain wrong? Do they simply carry on regardless?

6/24/2006 03:21:00 AM  

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