Tuesday, May 09, 2006

He turns a lovely phrase does......

..... that David Aaronovitch. Writing in the Times today he gently lampoons the well-intentioned* "Compass pressure group. This organisation [is] a sort of think-tank-cum-faction, where sane leftists can get together and think about better lives, and ... a vehicle for the pronouncements of its chairman and founder."

On the way he describes other political journalists, the sort who can make an overheard casual conversation involving a Labour MP into a conspiracy or mini-crisis faster than I can write a blog entry, as "unembarrassable fellow scribblers". Ouch!

The meat of the article is about people giving unwanted and, usually, unhelpful advice to political parties and/or government. Apparently Compass is "writing an entire manifesto, with the help of academics and activists". Now I’ve nothing against academics or activists in fact I’m one of the latter myself (and could have been one of the former if I’d had the Latin). But most of them known approximately the square root of hardly anything at all about how things really get done.

The Labour Party, as are the other mainstream ones, is awash with people with far more experience and far better track records. They should construct the manifestos. Certainly ideas can work their way up from the grassroots but we grassroots wouldn’t be grassroots if we knew how to make all our well-intentioned* schemes into a whole set of policies that work both individually and collectively.

Still Compass and the like give at least one valuable service. They provide useful safety valves for many folk who think they know best. And so does blogging....

*is there any adjective more damning than this compound?

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