been here before, for sure

Two articles and pieces of emailed advice from someone I know, though not too well, have led me to first close down my Facebook privacy settings relating to future posts, and second to stop microblogging in a political context.

I’m not going to show you the emails; suffice it to say they were, I am pretty sure, well meaning.

I can link to the posts though, complete with comments which show how I have changed my position in a matter of forty-eight hours.  The first one, by Ben Mitchell, is on leaving the Labour Party.  The second, by Neil Monnery, can also be found at Speaker’s Chair, though it was originally published here.  Both express a considerable frustration I answered in two very different ways, demonstrating a chasm of thought in the process.  First, in this way:

This is sad – and I understand a lot of what you say; perhaps all of it. I can’t bring myself to agree any more, though – perhaps I see this as taking on the dynamics of a kind of low-level civil war. Time to choose sides for me – however lacking in intellectual coherence this may eventually be. After all, the heat of battle doesn’t leave much space for considered thought … 😦

And the second, after having received the emailed advice which suggested I stop tweeting for a while, went as follows:

I’m just puzzled why politics seems to be so immune to the changes happening in a wider society and business. It seems that a set of Machiavellian-type rules, written in tablets of stone we all have to take, mean that tribalism, point-scoring and underhand dynamics of all sorts replace rational thought, problem-identification and problem-solving. Why *does* politics with this medieval approach to human relations dominate our society to the extent it seems to be doing – at least from the tenor of Neil and Ben’s posts? What forces us to go along with these behaviours – to vote on them and give them space? As a comparison, I’ve had experience of working in a huge company – and although frustrating on many occasions, and ultimately disastrous for the company (not me), it still seemed far more planned, even-handed and productive than our politics appears to have been for a long time.

I suppose my question has to be (maybe yours as well): is there any alternative to a process of disengagement for people like Neil and Ben – and perhaps that’s me, now, too? And one more question: if not, what are the implications for our society in the future?

For that, I suppose, is my greatest unhappiness.  To have to disengage with politics when politics claims the right – maintains the right – to lord incessantly over one is the mark of an abusive relationship; the mark of abusive dynamics.

I wonder, then, if it will always be so.  I wonder if politics can never learn/can never be allowed to learn from the lessons any other field of endeavour already, in 21st century terms we should treasure, sees as perfectly rational.


  1. Pingback: when knowledge doesn’t empower us but makes us more fragile | blinking ti . me
  2. Rodney Willett · April 7, 2014

    For some years now I have being trying to put out a very simple message. Our political parties evolved to represent tribes. This was right and proper but the tribes have changed and the parties have not. Thus the parties remain loyal to a tribal concept (and heaven help you if you waver from that for one half minute) but have ceased to be loyal to most of the electorate since there are so few people in those old tribes.

    This can create serious democratic deficits. The EU is a good example. You could say (I would rather not but to make the point) that there are three tribes in the UK today: pro EU, anti EU and ignorant of (possibly bored by) the EU. Ignoring the last of these, there are no parties to represent the pro/anti EU tribes. (I know that the LibDems are pro but have demonstrably had no chance of being in power since the days of the Common Market). It follows that the EU has never appeared in any party manifesto and so the people have had no opportunity to express their views on this subject.

    There are other democratic deficits too.

    It follows there is a need for something new – the big question is “what?”

    • Mil · April 7, 2014

      Thanks for your comment Rodney. I would wonder if we don’t need the democratisation of business before we can proceed with politics. We have, after all, endured business’s de-democratising of democracy. If the rational side of 21st century business endeavour could be prioritised over its sterile turf-war instincts, maybe business’s influence on democratic discourse would regenerate the same, and allow us to focus on resolving problems together rather than creating them in tribal isolation. You might find an earlier post on something called holacracy interesting in this context (though I gather I somewhat misrepresented what is actually a trademarked concept, and not a generic term like hierarchy):

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