Friday, September 26, 2008

In Praise of Personality Politics

Brown has a ..'distinctive' personality......

People, we are told, are too obsessed with personality.Au contraire mes amis , I think they are too obsessed with policies . In Standpoint yesterday Douglas Murray was rehearsing the policy-light theme from a hawkish foreign policy perspective.He reckons that the ability to make a good speech ( without notes ), or even worse, the perception of being good beer buddy, came about 38th in his list of requirements for Prime minister. Sounds suitably “serious “doesn’t it but is it ?
Last night on Question time David Dimbelby said to Hazel Blears ( which was thumping the Labour tub with vim) ...”Yes Hazel ....but isn’t the problem that people just don’t like him....” She shot back with the supposed truism that Margaret Thatcher was not liked ,but she was respected. I wonder if liking and respect are so clearly sperated in a real person myself .
So why do I attribute far more importance to gut level dislike than I do to whatever policy Brown is selling this week ?( He will be reorganising world capitalism I believe ....*suppressed mirth* ). A number of reasons .
The first is that Policy, or the announcement of it, has been reduced by New Labour to an sub cadre of the propaganda a ministry, that unacknowledged ever growing department. A border police was announced, for example ,following worrying signs the BNP were making progress ,and to counter the Conservative hold on the nations top worry (then) immigration. It consisted of renaming existing agencies and amounted to virtually nothing. . For me , the source was sufficient to discount it but others were fooled . The Lib Dems have announced a super-duper give away tax cut. In reality even their fiction will not stand up. Local income tax will make it a tax reorganisation, and there is no solid funding for it .This is an extreme example of the policy as an advert. In real life we know its not just what you are saying; its who you are .
There is more than simple trust to this .Knowledge in real life decisions is not a direct relationship between platonic ideals and citizens. We usea hierarchical process of judgement in ignorance .We know that whatever we think we understand, there will be many details that we do not . It is therefore quite reasonable to be unreasonably concerned about someone we just do not like. As importantly, whatever the policy may be, the delivery is key. Like education, any number of systems can work if the people want it to.
Brown at Manchester has been at pains to look like a likeable man. He wheeled his catalogue bought Labour PR wife out, and attempted self deprecation, albeit with the class of a KGB tailor .. Behind the scenes the real game has been a sordid contrast. Martin Bright reports into days New Statesman that the Brown briefing troops have been spreading poison in double doses .The word “thug” competed with ”rebel” as the word of the conference . Damien Mc Bride is a shadowy figure operating the dark arts side of the Brown coin .
There is another problem ,vastly more important it is what Bright calls the sclerosis of decision making. Under Blair power was delegated to key individuals Jonathan Powell for example. You could, get a decision in 24hours .With Brown it takes weeks. Why is this, because Brown cannot bear to have other centres of power. Like Nixon like he trusts no-one
The Spectator mirrors the concern about personality induced incompetence, identifying the location where this is most toxic to the country, the treasury. In ten years of trench warfare with Blair, Brown has broken the dilithium crystal of the Enterprise of state . A senior source says it is ,“Riddled with cronyism and sycophancy “, and a, “shadow of its former self “.Its role as a giver of economic advice has been emerded with additional responsibilities Brown grabbed .Running the tax credit system and micro managing wealth creation with endless tax sweeteners and gimmicks It overlaps and elbows with others in a chaotic and ill tempered turf war.

He is , in this sense , uncannily reminiscent of Hitler ( I know I know ,sorry but its true ....). The Nazi State was not Germanicly efficient it was a mess. Hitler positively encouraged petty rivalry , deliberately doubling up on areas of responsibility so as to ensure no-one knew what was going on. This made the Fuhrer the god like centre , and Brown has the same instinct even if it costs us working government .Vince Cables gag only got half the point .Mr. Bean and Stalin are not contrasts , they are aspects of the same problem ,the clowninish incompetence of control freaks , its a personality problem. You say Policy ...I say shmolicy ;its the man that counts , and don`t let them tell you any different.


Bill Quango MP said...

Hitler, of course, famously would not make a decision, as his endless postponing and redrafting of plans shows.And he was very loyal to those he trusted, whatever their incompetence level.
But Hitler was very lazy, and Brown is very industrious.

Maybe, he is more like Himmler. quietly grabbing up all the power,police, security, civil service and making the most from the resources presented. Bad mouthing rivals from dawn to dusk, never being the charismatic showman leader, but always one row back, building his power base, turning useless agencies into powerful tools of state..The archetype bureaucrat?

Brown is not establishing a new 'ism' but a new personality type.

Newmania said...

But Hitler was very lazy, and Brown is very industrious.

Yes but inall other ways i will admit Brown is better than Hitler . Thanks for that BQMP...

asquith said...

Surely we'd prefer him to be lazy & do nothing (do no harm) rather than fanatically trying to "help" people & fucking it up every time!

Newmania said...

Doing nothing is always my default preference for politicians Asquith

CityUnslicker said...

his speech today will haunt him for a long time. 'irresonsibility' - too bloody right Gordon.

Auntie Flo' said...

Fabulous anaysis, totally agree with every word of it.

In my clumsy way, I tried to explain to Mr A how our subconcious mannerisms and gestures reveal the true underlying subtext of our being. In fact, more than a sub text - the true essence of that being.

The reason for this is simple, our gestures and body language are powerful expressions of some of the most dynamic forces underlying and shaping our lives and societies: the complex interaction of the subconscious and our stunning, internalised and communally bequeathed culture.

Modern and rational as our courageous species strives so hard to be, it's not just time's winged chariot we feel at our backs but the, at times compelling, pull of an ancient and wonderful yet fearsome past when we were no more than the swirling primordial soup of the cosmos and, later, of our mother's wombs.

The wonderfully creative, yet fearfully destructive force of that swirling primordial soup is both the energy power house that's driven thousands of years of rationalising and irrationalising human culture and the irrational/ rational subconcious life of every human being.

It's the force that's both driven the survival of our amazing species and that which threatens our survival.

Nowhere is the subconscious force of that swirling primodial soup more evident in us than in our gestures and body language: the traces and cyphers of our subconcious, prelingual and primordial past and present.

That's why we can find the mirror of modern deaf people's sign language, itself the heir of ancient prelingual forms of communication, in the often holy and sacred, gestures and symbollism of 5000 year old icons and prehistoric art. It's what unites the Buddah, the ancient saints and people of these icons with Bill Clinton, Blair, Milliband and so many others and what reveals them as a - not so modern - clever and manipulative priest class who use, or are used, by their own subconcious compulsions to dominate and control the rest of us.

Some of us are more governed by uncontrolled primordial stuff than others. Some lean to consciously direct the forces of the subconscious for good or ill.

Others are the things of and used by their subconscious forces and never become aware of that: and that's Brown.

In some cultures and some individuals, these ancient and modern powers are a gloriously rational, unifying force. In others they exist in a horribly irrational, warring and fragmented state.

And that's Brown too.

Auntie Flo' said...

Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night"

Politicians, unfortunately, too often seem to be driven by humanities' negative primordial elements rather than our civilising ones.

Like all very deaf people, I rely on lip reading and speech for understanding. Whenever I lip read Brown and listen to/read transcripts of his speeches I'm struck time and again by the contradictions between what Brown says and what his prelingual speech is saying.

Brown speaks of peace while forming and crushing the globe in his hands. He speaks of social justice and fairness while forming his hands into the clawed sign for theft and greed, symbolically clawing a pot of gold towards himself.

As he speaks of listening and democracy, a great stiff and defensive, two handed ego shutter with half cannabalised thumbs as erect as the spears on Boudicca's chariot, comes down before him and screeches "Keep away you b*stards!"

In great sweeps of paranoid compulsion he drives that ego shutter forward: a surge of repressed inner rage and violence every bit as warring, embittered and irrationally subconscious as Boudicca, driven mad with rage, screaming at her gold chariot to cut through the ranks of the foreigners who'd defiled her land, her race and being: primordial forces driving her to her fate, her certain death.

Newmania said...

That was absolutely fascinating Flo some of it I think goes a bit far but there are other parts that ring so very true to me . You mention a Prietsly class , of course the first thing such exploitative parasites do is invent alanguage that excludes people .
Brown has been conspicuously energetic at obfuscation

normo tebbs said...

Mark Wadsworth said...

He wheeled his catalogue bought Labour PR wife out ...

When you look at them, you do wonder, don't you? That on-stage kiss reminded me of Breshnev kissing Honeker - the famous picture is at the end of this.

Newmania said...

MW that is creepily accurate and a LOL as I believe the modish people would have it. Fine work!

Auntie Flo' said...

Spot on, Mark! I'm not sure she was a catalogue bought wife though, Sarah in her PR days had a thick file on Brown before she met guess is she went fishing for him.

Remember the Robinson funding scandal too, when her PR company got £100K was it? Need to look it up. I bet that paid for wedding and trousseau alright.

Then there's the Jennifer Brown charity Fund which seems to focus its funding in Scotland and, for some reason, on Brown's constituency. Plus the JB fund's rather obscure links to the limited company of which Sarah is a director: Piggybankkids. And the complex links to and funding by the Co-op group. Doesn't the CG get government funding?

The fund blurb states that it provides Olympic funds, for disadvantaged young people,if I remember correctly. So why does so much of this funding seem to go to Scotland?

And does Sarah's friendship and meetings with JK Rowling involve Jennifer's Fund too? Also her meeting with the US's most famous hockey mum, is that linked to it too?

A very astute lady is Sarah.

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