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Joyless June 30, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Interesting point in the IT last week about the British General Election campaign and the tone of same. 

Mrs May’s joyless election campaign was rooted in hostility to Europe.

I’m not particularly exercised by the second point, but the first I think is worth exploring. Certainly she tried to convey seriousness and strength. But somehow it didn’t add up. And joyless is a perfect description for what she offered.

All those pat phrases – strong and stable, Brexit is Brexit, and  so on (amazingly effective in terms of being memorable, appallingly useless in terms of being applicable to anything material). And just on the phrases, she was at it again on Friday in relation to EU citizens rights – a ‘fair and serious’ offer…

There was no vision at the election, or before it, no sense of tomorrow being better than today. And in a way that followed on seven years of Tory political part-dominance (again the fact that the Tories only managed a majority for hardly two years is fascinating). A period of outright austerity – an austerity that the Tories revelled in as they used it to slash at the state again and again – and in ways that even Thatcher eschewed.

I genuinely find it incredible to read reports from the UK of the gaps and deficits in state provision – libraries, health care, education, welfare and so on. The network of supports and resources that I remember from living there in the 1990s seems to have been deliberately picked at. The simple fact of the growth of food banks an absolute affront to the concept of a civilised society. That this should happen in Britain is just unbelievable.

And yet, this was presided over, and not merely tolerated but encouraged by Cameron and May. In that respect their reworking of the post-Thatcher dispensation represents a radical hardening and deepening of it albeit clothed in more ameliorative language.

That this was also tolerated by the British electorate has been startling too. Albeit we saw a retrenchment and push back this year at the GE (and enormous credit to Corbyn et al for being part of that push back) and again granted Tory rule since 2010 was weaker than it seemed.

But I do worry that so much damage has been done that it will take a very long time merely to return us to the status quo ante, let alone anything better.

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1. sonofstan - June 30, 2017

On the second point though…..

Paper this morning about ‘European’ music (as opossed to French or German or Dutch or whatever music) and touched on the europhilia of British post-punk; the referencing of arthouse movies and ‘high’ european culture in opposition to American that was evident in the work of Ultravox, Simple Minds, Josef K etc. when did that die? Brit pop? before I think?

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2. bjg - June 30, 2017

On the “joyless” aspect, there’s an interesting post-Grenfell piece here http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/what-grenfell-tower-taught-us-about-political-leadership/, including this:

Ancient Greek philosophy, in particular Aristotle’s The Art of Rhetoric, is useful for this purpose. Aristotle’s triptych comprising of ethos (the person/character), pathos (use of emotion) and logos (appeal to reason) makes for an informed analysis of contemporary political leadership as it stresses the nature of communication, the role of discourse, and the relationship between speaker and audience.

And

Upon returning to Downing Street, she responded with a statement of intent which focused upon a public enquiry, a response which was again formal and procedural, lacking emotion.

bjg

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