Narrativity

Everywhere I look I see discussions of British politics cast in terms of “narratives”. Has anyone written anything interesting about this? And do people think this language is at all useful, or is it just the current buzzword that functions as a substitute for thinking about things but which allows commentators to signal that they’re keeping up with the crowd? Does anyone know when it started, or why? And is it mostly a British thing, or are the Americans, French, Canadians, Belgians and Poles banging on about narratives in their politics, too?

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Minister of Treasury Paulson

[via]

Gordon Brown’s Speech

I managed to get as far as the bit (about one minute in) when he started banging on about how in Fife twenty five years ago he stood for parliament because he loved his country so much, and then felt sick and switched off. (To clarify: I felt sick and switched off, not the Prime Minister.)

How long did you last? And, for those of you who did last, what, if anything, did I miss?

Jour de la révolution

Do note, by the way, that today is the French Republican Calendrical equivalent of 29 February — it’s the leap-day that comes round in order to complete the quadrennial cycle, hence its magnificently appropriate name.

I’ve long thought that the EU got things the wrong way around when it mandated use of the (French Revolutionary) metric system and stuck to the old Gregorian Calendar. My offer to Mr Brown’s Government is that if they legislate to implement the French Republican Calendar in this country, I shall drop my opposition to the creation of British Values Day — especially if it gets held on the Jour de la révolution, which would mean not only that it’ll only come around every four years, but also that it’ll tacitly, or not-so-tacitly, identify British Values with French Republican Values, which would be a significant improvement on what’s otherwise likely to be on offer.

Year CCXVII kicks off tomorrow…

Talk Like A Pirate!

As everyone should know by now, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so please feel free to Talk Like A Pirate in the comments box here, or, indeed, elsewhere. Suggestions over here. Ah, Jim lad.

It’s also the Jour de la raison, according to the version of the French Republican Calendar installed at this site, one of the holidays that brings the old year to a close — and it is appropriate, I think, that a day celebrating human reason should fall on International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Monday, Tuesday, British Values Day…

The “debate” rumbles on, and now we have one of the more unpleasant government ministers, Liam Byrne, publishing a Demos pamphlet on the subject.

Highlights include his attempt to write the history of immigration legislation in this country without using the word “racist” (apparently the “debates were difficult”, p.48) and the vox pop who entered into the spirit of things by suggesting, p.61, that we might deal with the proposed “Britain Day” “by making more of an existing day e.g. Pancake Day”.

The person who suggested (p.64) that such a day involve the participation of “celebrities with the right values (eg David Beckham, Kate Moss)” may have been onto something, too.