Friday, May 28, 2004

The politics of entropy.

It strikes me that politics follows the second law of thermo-dynamics.

What? You don't know what the second law of Thermodynamics is? Shame on you. I knew what it was even BG (before googling).

"Energy spontaneously tends to flow only from being concentrated in one place to becoming diffused or dispersed and spread out."

Stop looking at me funny. The political bit comes next.

"The Political energy of a Governments ideology tends to flow from being concentrated in a small elite to becoming diffused or dispersed and spread out"

The corrollory of this is that as the political energy diffuses, the political effectiveness of the Government disperses too.

Think about it like this. In the late nineteen seventies, the number of Conservatives who would have identified as proto-Thatcherites was relatively small. Keith Joseph, Thatcher herself and a limited number of thinkers, younger politicians; the footsoldiers.

This energetic, focussed core didn't so much take office as collide with it. That energy had a huge impact on the Government and economy of the country, but as they did so, they began to spread out and disperse, both literally and philosopically.

Advisers became MPs, MP's became ministers, ministers diverged in interests. Divisions on old issues became central. Ministers resigned or were sacked, others retired. Patronage meant that the old radicalism became the new orthodoxy and the reforming zeal that motivated the early Thatcherites began to die.

Of course, Some tried to keep that alive, trying ever more desperately to find new ways to keep the momentum going. There were notable successes but the second law of thermodynamics can be slowed, not halted. In the end, the attempts to take Thatcherism further finished it off. Who in the Tory true believers group thought that the end would come over exchange rate management and local government financing?

As this political process happened to the Tories, so perhaps we see the organisational and practical symptoms today. If Labour's campaigning has been flat and lifeless, is it because the original motivating idea has now dispersed? We're all Blairites now, like it or not.

The same is true ideologically. There are occassional screams against NHS and Education reform, but the philosopical battle is largely won. The Tories want to cut spending but shrink from wielding the axe publically. The political impact of New labour has begun to disperse. That's not a defeat. It's a victory.

Personally all I can say is that for New Labour, it's a summers afternoon, not dawn. Don't fear though. The night can be held off for a long while yet, and besides, the natural state of the universe is Equilibrium, We should just remember that's it's going too far that means a retreat.

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Back to the wheel again.

Why the absence? Let’s call it the enforced result of an unfavourable office re-arrangement.

Or, to put it another way, I was suddenly removed from a comfortable place where I could write away without anyone ever noticing and suddenly found myself exposed to the worrying gaze of colleagues. Over the shoulder paranoia set in.

At first I thought, what the heck, my new officemates don’t even know what a blog is anyway – and then I saw one of them reading Harry Hatchet (See the awesome power of the internet) and I decided that discretion was the better part of not getting the sack.

The trouble with blogging is that what keeps you posting is sheer inertia. You just feel you should update the site. Once you stop, that inertia dissipates and it’s hard to get going again. In my case, it’s even harder because I am one lazy son of a bitch.

As a result the fact that you are now reading this is entirely due to the better angel of my nature (mwah, darlink), who besides being physically active, a morning person and generally far more go getting than your humble occasional correspondent, is also now the proud owner of a computer at home and has been increasingly insistent that I return to writing things for her to read.

I suspect that this insistence on my writing articles for the website is because she thinks writing for this website prevents me from exploring some of the more… exotic parts of our beloved global communications network (I could have sworn I pressed clear history…).

Anyway, normal service is hereby resumed. Huzzah and so forth.

Oh, One small change. Since i'm still paranoid about being sacked. (I'm not washingtienne... but nevertheless)I’ll now be writing various things during the day, e-mailing them to myself, and then posting them en-masse at home in the evening a la Eric Alterman. So you only really need to check in once a day, you remorseless hunters of political information you.*

The only question is, where the hell to start?

*Unless someone can think of a better way of both blogging and not getting a P45

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