gordonfreude

27Jun08

It’s been a year since Gordon Brown arrived in Number 10 Downing Street, uncontested.

I don’t normally look to record anniversaries (apart from this and this, and maybe this), nor comment directly on politics. I wish politics were better, of course, and I think the political media must take a lot of responsibility for not being sufficiently critical.

A far more technical examination by the political press of politicians’ achievements is long overdue. This takes greater journalistic resources than tend to be applied. But I am sure that, if it were done better, there would be more popular engagement. Too much reporting is done either on a whim, or cascades too readily from the previous coverage on a subject. Political coverage has dumbed down to the point that what matters is opinion polls, and relative positions, prospects of early elections, rather than the serious matters affecting society. The level of debate about the economy, education, nutrition and environment is disastrous.

As the capitalist system grows ever more technologically and financially complex, the blunt instrument of politics and political reporting needs to be refashioned so that it operates much more in line with what is driving modern society.

Gordon Brown’s tenure, firstly as Chancellor of the Exchequer and then Prime Minister, is a singular example of an overly simple and overly confident attitude toward our modern political and economic ecology. Although I can’t find it now, somewhere in my old blog I got so fed up with his pride in hitting his economic forecasts that I described him as a “lucky fool”, à la Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness. He continually took credit for a period of economic growth that was largely sustained by… er… credit.

So, “Gordonfreude” is the word I’d like to coin to represent the guilty pleasure that one might feel every time more bad news besets Gordon’s government. Year after year, the man told us that he had delivered an end to boom and bust, and protested his prudence, and advertised that he had achieved economic stability. No-one in his party was prepared to stand for election against him. You just knew it would end in tears.

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