Monday, April 24, 2006

Here We Go Again... Yawn

The Left/Right political axis is dead, y'know - it's like so last century. The world has moved on. You see, we live in qualitatively new times where the old fordist/modernist/nation-state centred (delete as appropriate) ideologies are now moribund. In this new emerging globalised (oh praise be!) order, the political, economic and social problems we face have changed fundamentally - and so, then, must our political approaches. We need to go beyond the old politics, the old binary distinctions and political polarisations. In fact, in these new post-ideological times, we need to go beyond ideology ... blah, fucking blah and so on and so on.

These views seem to me to underpin Jeff Davis' wonderfully important, aposite and groundbreaking observations in the Grauniad today. Well they would be groundbreaking views if we hadn't heard them before, over and over and over again. Last time it was the 'Third Way' ('non-ideological') ideologues (where are they now?) and the time before that it was some of the postmodernists, and the time before that it was Tony Crosland and before that it was... bored now. It doesn't help, of course, that Davis is wittering on about that whole motherhood and apple pie, down with bad things, beyond left and right, Eusless Manifesto thing whatever it is. Bland, grey sludge begets bland, grey sludge. I think we're probably going to see more of this sort of thing in the weeks ahead, now that Martin Kettle and fellow ex-lefties searching for a home (must be in a respectable area close to good schools for the kids) have cottoned on to the latest pro-war left internet front organisation (sign the petition, link to the blog, talk about how the movement's really growing, sit on your arse, wait for it to fizzle out like all the other PWL fronts). There are a lot of ex-Third Wayers out there looking for 'a movement' - something, anything, as long as it confirms their hopes that the whole Left/Right thing is dead and that, therefore, it's quite all right to be liberal, vaguely in favour of social justice (as long as taxes don't go up) and, at the same time, to be very rich and own several properties.

Shame that, over ten years ago now, Norberto Bobbio showed quite convincingly in my view that the idea that the Left/Right distinction could ever be 'a thing of the past' is, frankly, a bunch of arse. A big, smelly, pooey arse. He also argued that, as this fantasy that the world was moving 'beyond Left and Right' has kept on cropping up with impressive regularity (and fallen flat on its face with similar reliability), it was bound to re-emerge again (and again and again) in the future - well, here we are once more - isn't this nice! Bobbio also argued that, very often, those loudly trumpeting the end of the Left/Right distinction and the glorious dawning of some post-ideological new age, have got something to hide - an ulterior motive which makes them desperately - too desperately - keen to consign the 'old' politics to the dustbin. They really, really want it to be true.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?