In response a question from the BBC's royal correspondent, Nick Witchell, the prince said: "I can't bear that man, anyway. He's so awful, he really is.Do you think that the Prince still holds it against Witchell that he once crossed a picket line to go to work?Hmm. Probably not.
Archive for March, 2005
"I suggest that the very point of the rhetoric of the Third Way is to fudge such distinctions [between left and right, communitarianism and liberalism, elitism and democracy], thereby enabling the political leaders who foster it to pursue their project while enlarging their constituency among the ideologically inclined. So the Third Way can unite Anthony Giddens (for whom it signifies the renewal of social democracy) with John Gray (for whom social democracy belonged within a historical niche that is gone beyond hope of memory); high-minded pieties about family values and British pride with talk of flexible self-invention in a postmodern world; and media manipulation and Leninist party control with constitutional decentralization and support for citizens' juries."(Lukes, Liberals and Cannibals, Verson 2003, p.173, based on remarks given at a conference at Harvard's Center for European Studies, November 1998.)That's always seemed to me to be about right.But I'd add just this one observation, that while we're familiar with the ways in whicih third way rhetoric has been terribly useful for the government as it seeks to cover its left flank while shifting Labour politics to the centre and then to the right, we should pay more attention than we do both to the ideological ancestry of this kind of political language, and to the extent to which this way of talking can be used, and has been used, as political camouflage for an odious accommodation not merely with Mr Blair's celebrated "forces of conservatism", but also with the politics of the far, far right. UPDATE [1.4.05]: Consider Phlebas has more.
Tasca (1892-1960) is best known for his activities in the Italian Communist Party in the 1920s, where he was one of the leading opponents of Antonio Gramsci in the debates over party organisation and strategy. Having been expelled from the Communist Party in 1929, he wound up in France, where he made the significant error of choosing to collaborate with the Vichy regime, for which he occupied an important post in the Ministry of Information. According to Alexander De Grand's political biography (... p.161), Tasca introduced the idea of the Third Way in courses he gave at Vichy training academies. The key text was a set of lectures on 'Le rï¿½le de l'ï¿½tat' delivered in April 1943; it remains unpublished, in the Tasca archives at the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli in Milan, but De Grand usefully highlights some of the key themes in Tasca's political thinking during this period.In particular, Tasca called for a reconceptualisation of the idea of rights, as he sought a new understanding of rights that would be distinct from both a liberal treatment of rights as inviolable possessions and the totalitarian ambition to have the scope and content of all rights dictated by the state. Tasca also broke decisively with the socialism he had hitherto espoused. He rejected, for example, the natural equality of citizens, and went as far as to insist that there was no "problem of the ï¿½lites" and that "the masses" were a "negative factor in the Revolution".... Tasca further argued that the middle class was the sole active historical force; he emphasised themes of social stability and inter-class harmony; and he thought that those who sought change should work for a moral transformation of the already existing political class, rather than seek to transform the social or economic structure of France.I still think that this isn't a bad presentation of the ideological core of Blair's politics, c.1996-8 or so. Like Angelo Tasca, Tony Blair then concentrated his political-theoretical attention on the idea of "rights", empahsising his "social" understanding of rights which balanced them with "responsibilities". Tasca's rejection of socialism and a politics of class conflict and his celebration of the middle classes sits comfortably alongside the broader contours of New Labour politics. And, finally, with respect to the moral transformation of the political class, it's worth remembering the politics of moral renewal associated with New Labour in this period, after the Major years of brown envelopes and endemic Tory sleaze.UPDATE [4.30pm]: Jamie has more.
This is a government by no means without achievement, but it has even so been a disappointment: a disappointment in relation to what we had a right to expect and in relation to its own extraordinary electoral strength. Its ambitions are narrowed to those which can be achieved with the least controversy and offend the fewest powerful interests. Blair, we are told, is an admirer of the Asquith Government, but I wonder how much he knows of it. This, after all, was a government which was prepared to take on the House of Lords, the Tory Party, a good part of the ruling class, the rich, even the monarchy, and was dependent on the fruitful relationship between a Prime Minister who in the end sided with the Left and a Chancellor (Lloyd George) who enjoyed offending almost everybody. To read the Liberal Party's rhetoric during the 1910 elections is to realise that we live in a different world. It is inconceivable that Blair or Brown would behave that way.(Dead Men Left has more.)
Vehicle, Volkswagen Property of 2nd Lt- Moammar Ghedaffi Veh. Reg. No. 23398 LB Date 6/4/1967This vehicle has been part in serious events astonishing surprised travelled thousands of kilometers crossed valleys plains villages cities rural zones lanes and avenues. All over the country during ember years which Moammar Ghedaffi lived underground in a journey of 4000 days of clandestine activities. This vehicle has carried manuscripts, secrets and men. It was kept under closed watch, controlled observation, hot pursuits and investigations by oppressive military and security services of the defunct regime. More than one warrant and more than an enquiry have been launched about it in several regions from Benghazi to Brega from Abugrem to Sirta, Tripoli, Sebha, Deran Zarwia and Beida. This vehicla suffered failures, collision courses, incidents, halted journeys in difficult circumstances and hard times full of dangers that waylay it. In more than once, carrying instigating circulars, such as the circular distributed by the Leader himself in Tripoli streets on behalf of workers calling the masses to rebel and revenge. At other time, transporting organisational and ideological pamphlets to build and inspire the free Unionist Officers. It was embodied the simplicity in confronting the Mercedes-Benz car which has incarnated clamor haughtiness and false arrogance. There were great differences between both cars, while the Volkswagen was rolling up time and distances to bring closer the salvation day, the Mercedes was moving between right club, gambling halls and military bases by agents of the Italians, Americans and British in the defunct regime. All paid from the Libyan people's wealth. The people were suffering from poverty, oppression, sleeping on the ground, and protecting themselves from heat and cold by zinc panels under yoke of an agent regime that had lost sovereignty, will and legitimacy. Whereas it infiltrated to the country from abroad in the darkness under the cover of charlatanism, heresy and perversion under the protection of colonization. This car as simple, normal and popular as it is shall be one of the flagrant public eye witnesses about the journey of four thousand plays clandestine action. Glory to the Revolutionary Moammar Gheddafi, Leader of the Great El Fateh of the 1st September 1969. Department the Morale Guidance.Couldn't have put it better myself.
A group of us academic types were off in Libya last week, seeing things like this, this, this, this and this, seeing all kinds of images of Colonel Gaddafi, and eating lots and lots of Libyan Soup. (Recipe by Delia here.)
It was all splendid.
And we all seemed to manage to cope for eight or nine days without booze admirably, and with no funny and/or distressing side effects.