August 28, 2005


Brilliant post by Tim at the Wrong Side of Capitalism, which manages to precisely identify the parallels between Blair and U2. It was prompted by this embarrassing post, which manages to combine a pro-catholic conspiracy theory about the music press (in support of the plainly dotty thesis that there was a time that the World's Biggest Rock Band belonged to the ranks of the oppressed) with the worst use of Badiou and Zizek I've yet seen. (I missed the step between U2's Irishness = Good and Nationalism = Bad, but perhaps the argument was too subtle for me). More seriously, though, Tim makes valuable points about the media's ideological complicity in Blairism.

Blair's achievement has been to shift the focus from policy and politics to personal integrity; not only to shift the focus, actually, but to eliminate the difference. What is missed in all the attacks on spin is that the fixation on spin is itself spin. And the supposed opposite of spin, 'sincerity', not only belongs to spin but is what spin requires in order to operate. That is because a 'genuine' subjective concern about, say, world hunger becomes spin the moment it is converted into a 'political' statement. Spincerity...

The question the media will typically pose is not now 'is such and such a policy wrong or ill-conceived?' but 'did X lie about it?' This contributes to a climate in which there is no expectation that a politician will resign because a policy has failed. Thus, it is more than ever important to remind ourselves that it doesn't much matter if the other Blair, Ian, lied in the wake of the assassination of Jean Charles de Menezes. The real issues, occluded behind all the intrigue about when Ian Blair got to know particular facts and the veracity of certain statements he made, are Kratos itself and the management of the Met, structural and systemic matters which Ian Blair's personal integrity has little or no bearing upon. With a twirl of his cheap conjuror ham-actor's hanky, Tony Blair has spirited away any notion of 'objective responsibility' - what counts, we are supposed to think, is what he feels. And since Tony will always believe he is right, then he must be, OK?

Posted by mark at August 28, 2005 02:34 PM | TrackBack