Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The End of Our Elaborate Plans

There's a cracking discussion of the late 1970s and Andy Beckett's cracking book When the Lights Went Out. Here the article contrasts Callaghan and Brown.
If Callaghan could invariably, even in the most stressful moments of his immensely stressful premiership, come across as 'Sunny Jim', it was because he was never under many illusions. He was built for (and from) compromise. He accepted disappointment from the start - rather like the Freud who thought the point of psychoanalysis was to deliver patients from excruciating mental agony to 'ordinary misery', Callaghan believed that in politics there were only bad and worse decisions. Yet what counted as 'realism' for Callaghan was partly conditioned by forces outside the parliamentary machine and the financial system [.]
And the grandfatherly Callaghan, chirpy and self-possessed, rarely depressed, even amidst the Winter of Discontent that would bring him down, could not strike a greater contrast with the morose Brown, a resentful Richard who carries a wintry discontent with him always, on his heavy brows. For Callaghan stood only at what he thought would be a moment of painful transition for the Labour party, whereas Brown looks like the mortfied personification of the final death of the labour movement itself.
It is time to leave behind stale, decaying, dying representational democracy with its minimum engagement to a system of participatory democracy where people make real decisions that affect their lives.

That's not a call for the will of the noisiest. That's a call for real participatory democracy where people come together to make decsions about the places they live. Real decisions made by local people should encourage more people to take part in the political process instead of leaving it to the political classes.

[ Thanks to Will Rubbish in the comments over there. ]

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