charismatic leaders + charismatic leadership = ?

OK.  Am sophisticated enough to know events and personalities are just as important as the long sweep of history; but …

At one time we were just as overwhelmed with Blair as we are now with Corbyn.

It’s cool when a leader with the political empathy people like both the aforementioned have shown catalyse moribund societies into action: provide the much-needed bridges against the walls the bad and sad always build; say what we are unable to verbalise; capture our thoughts and display them before we even knew we ever had them.

And I am not proposing we compare the politics of Corbyn and Blair at all here.

But when charismatic leaders and charismatic leadership (see Weber for the latter – and Harold Evans!) come together, the power to act becomes almost Harry Potter-like!  Mean it, honest …

Magically explosive, just about almost.

Am not putting a dampener on the proceedings; not my intention at all.  But I would like the future to be good, not dark.  We’re too accustomed to dark of late.  We don’t deserve to be any more.

It’s OK to star; more than OK.  But we should star to make space for others to do more, not star to push the envelope of our own belief systems around these others, who in principle have every right to co-exist on equal terms.

why i’d like tom watson to be leader and stella creasy to be deputy #labourleadership

Tom Watson has a moral leadership that smacks in no way of moralistic leadership.  There are too many self-righteous people in politics at the moment for us to want any more – yet doing the right things properly, and learning from mistakes where made, are surely what we should be looking for in future leaders.

Humility is hard won and easily lost, but after his battles with the empire of the Murdochs, for all the right reasons and properly, and in a horrifyingly developing aftermath still developing horrifyingly with respect to VIP paedophilia, Watson is still more humble than most of us would be in similar circumstances – as well as focussed, also still, on the task of improving a whole society in complex and far-reaching ways few of us will ever get to perceive.

To know the awful underbelly of a body politic and yet, even so, to love it enough to want to save it from itself – without falling into the trap of a public, and self-publicising, self-righteousness – is achievement indeed.

And it ennobles him.

So rather than Deputy Leader, I’d like to vote for him as Leader.  (Even as this voting for a leader in general goes against my grassroots impulses and instincts – but more of this below …)

Where Blair, David Miliband, Liz Kendall et all were tempted/might be tempted some day down the line to tread, I think it difficult to contemplate that Watson would do the same.

He deserves a chance; we deserve that he has that chance too.

Stella Creasy has a shorter trajectory as befits her relative chronology, but has similarly been placing example before fine words.  This may lose her the Deputy election – or not; I don’t know – but, as a longer-term strategy, can only operate in the same way as Watson’s: don’t tell people what you want to do; show them instead … in fact, take the time you need – and the time your people need.

Choose your targets politically and humanely, both.

Get on with the job in hand.

Lead by that example I describe.

Lead through a careful seeding of actions.  Like growing turf over time, not laying it overnight.

Think first in private; develop your ideas in a slow-burn and sophisticated way.  Sophisticated in the sense of coherent, cogent and careful, though – not in the sense of wonkish.  Not any more.

Then primarily do and demonstrate them in practice, whether people understand yet – or not – how far ahead you’re headed.

For me, it’d be a wonderful start to a renewing Labour if Tom Watson ended up Leader and Stella Creasy ended up Deputy.  We’d then have what I’ve asked of Twitter today:

Perhaps (yes, I can see you’re desperate to do so) you would argue that Jeremy Corbyn combines the twin virtues of, on the one hand, moral leadership and, on the other, grassroots adherence – that is to say, all in one?  The easy answer too, maybe, to the tweet in question – and the conundrum I pose implicitly?

I’m not sure I’m going to allow you to convince me.  I suspect, when history one day gets told, that Corbyn’s campaign will be seen more as employing the kind of machine-politics tools we once loved about New Labour.  More rigid in its values, mind – in the sense of never swerving from them, ever – but then again, I never liked Thatcher … precisely because I’ve always valued fudge.

It seems more human, more necessary, more appropriate for complex times … where the simpleness of black and white only hurts those of us who vote hopefully for them.


My choice is cast, and cannot be cast.  My dream ticket is Tom & Stella.  But Labour is unable, for me, to deliver.

At least this time round, anyhow.

At least in 2015.

What should I do?  Vote for no one this month – and wait a couple of years in hope, for another chance?

What say you – Tom and Stella?

What should I do?

(in a way) total surveillance could equal liberty – here’s how (don’t hold your breath tho’)

There’s a fairly dumb contradiction being promoted at the moment.

On the one hand, we’re told – by those who do the surveilling – that surveillance was never more total nor complete in human history than now.

On the other hand, we’re told – by those who do the surveilling – that surveillance strategies, tools and orgs were never in need of more resources than today, and in the future.


Because the baddies are getting even worse.

The logical conclusion, as the baddies get so bad, and even total surveillance isn’t infinite enough, will be that no human rights will remain for us to enjoy.

As I suggested yesterday:

We don’t need this. We really don’t. We don’t need a state which perceives the condition-at-birth of every future citizen as being a potential criminal within the people.

Something else, however, in yesterday’s thoughts, continues to gnaw away at me.  In particular, this section from the Huffington Post piece I quoted, which in turn quotes from government documents:

The report also notes that “online networks and communities” could provide a “pathway into serious and organised crime”.

The underlying assumption – I presume, anyway – is that if you go with corporate-based social-networking, you’re OK as far as the government is concerned.  Corporate for them is good: you only need one meeting with one CEO to command the attention of 100,000 cascaded workers – and, also presumably, billions of end-users.  (It’s manifestly not true, as the various banking scandals demonstrate – but, hey-ho, when did the truth need to get in the way?)

Meanwhile, little micro-biz needs to be battered into submission, as the attention you’d need to give it would far outweigh the time centralised governance cares to fork out and spend on those millions of little people.

No.  I’m not trying to get you to shed tears for small people.  In a sense, I can understand government’s thinking here.  Unfortunately for them, and for us too, top-down communication of the minister-to-CEO sort we’re discussing is very 19th century; very kings and queens; very demonstrably inefficient as far as the goals in question are concerned.

So we do need another way.

Back to total surveillance.

If it could be made to work as they claim it already does (something I’m not absolutely sure events are proving to be currently true), we could all have the freedom to set up in perfect transparency any number of local community websites, wikis and communication tools that we’d like.


Total surveillance, once the original shock of the new was overcome, could quite logically lead to a set of greater liberties – different from those previously enjoyed, but just as real all the same.

The liberties would be, at the very least, twofold:

  1. Freedom not to have to communicate via exclusively corporate means.
  2. The right to choose any size or structure of local communication networks.

Coupled with the manifest aim of democratic constitutions for such local organisations and infrastructures, we could actually use the concept of total surveillance to our benefit.

One problem.

I don’t believe those who run total surveillance believe in making it easy for micro-biz to do its thing, nor difficult for large corporate orgs to be in more or less complete control.  Those who run total surveillance are, themselves, working in corporate orgs.  It’s natural, then, that they should find it easy to discard corporate corruption and crime as occasional exceptions to the rule of broad corporate probity and see micro-orgs as generally threatening.

Is this problem insoluble – or does it require a process of education?

Education, after all, has allowed much of the good in the world to continue its steady march.

We’ll see.

I, myself, have to be hopeful.

Without hope, where would we be?