Political Dreaming

In Yiddish there is a distinction between kholem, the dream that occurs when we sleep, and troym which is the dream as ideal (“I have a dream”). In politics there is a distinction between policies that occur when the politician espousing them is asleep, and policies that are ideals (and therefore not vote-attracting). So at Party Conference policies are usually avoided, dumped in favour of dog-whistle slogans about immigrants, benefit-seekers, and trans people. What I am writing is obviously a none-too-disguised attack on the current Tory conference in Manchester, but it will also inevitably be true of Labour in Blackpool. So it should be a mistake to judge Politics and Political Aspirations in terms of heavily managed (or often mismanaged) Party Conferences. The problem however is that those dog-whistle slogans, so often geared to narrow-minded bigotry, have the unfortunate self-fulfilling quality of becoming Policy. The most catastrophic example of that of course was Brexit. The majority of the population now recognises Brexit as a mistake, but the majority of pro-European political forces still believe it is too soon to think in terms of promoting a return to the EU. The fear of being seen to oppose the so-called ‘will of the people’, together with the recognition that the EU itself is not immune from the wave of right-wing populism that is rolling across the world, is paralysing progressive movements from even starting to their develop strategies for reversing that 2016 moment of collective anti-establishment madness. That is why the streets of London were recently crowded with people coming together in a grassroots demonstration to rejoin the EU. But as an idea that dare not speak its name, it was roundly ignored by the BBC, which dared not mention an idea that is so firmly ignored by the main political forces of the country.

Before and After

I like to spot paradoxes or at least ambivalences in my thinking. One that cropped up today was quite significant because if I knew that unless I wrote it down it would vaporise and float away. As I was just then thinking about this blog posting, it seemed a great starting point. Sadly, I failed to implement a key step in my current cognitive strategy, namely that when you have an idea you must write it down immediately and not leave it until later in the evening!

The Odd Season

Late summer merges into reluctant autumn

It was not my intention to set up a blog – it sort of got thrust upon me. But now it’s here I might as well make good use of it. I have a grasshopper mind. I set out with the intention, and often a firm plan, to do something specific but instantly spot something more interesting. I can hop along the twisting garden path completely oblivious to the half-started tasks I am dropping along the way. (That incidentally is how I arrived at writing this blog in the first place. I merely wanted to get rid of an irritating pop-up ad on my browser, and moved on to checking out better browsers, installing, transferring data, and then, blow me, this browser offered a blog if I just registered – which I did, and here I am). By contrast, I can occasionally home in on a specific task – and become totally engrossed in it to the exclusion of everything, and completely lost in time. Is this ADHD, or the occupational hazard of being a writer? Not being a fan of soi-disant scientific labels, I’ll opt for the latter. Which reminds me, I should be working on the next chapter, though I do need to just check out whether…