Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mummy will not kiss it better

John Gray interviewed in today's Independent:
"Realism is a necessary condition of serious politics and serious policy-making. And realism isn't popular. Because what many people are looking for in politics – including green politics at the moment, is a meaning for their lives. If you say to people: 'We can't move to a world in which we don't have either nuclear or fossil fuels. That's impossible,' they will say, 'That's not impossible, not if we all want it.' But many countries don't want it. Russia's not going to do it. Venezuela's not going to do it. Iran's not going to do it. Their wealth and power depend upon fossil fuel. 'Well, we can do it,' they'll say.

"And when you push it, it comes down to a kind of symbolic expressive function whereby even if the effect of certain policies – like moving towards wind power – is to be forced back to coal, then it doesn't matter, because the purpose of the policy is not actually to effect a real-world change but to keep the spirits up."


  1. Following the parent/child analogy a little further I not convinced by the "because the Irans won't do something so why should we" line of rhetoric. You wouldn't accept that sort reasoning from an 8 years old so why accept it in politics. We don't need to list the things that started out as minority views and then spread to the main stream.

  2. Joanne makes a fine point.

    Interviews would not change anything, though. The entire system is broken, so it would be like polishing shit. It's still shit.

    There is a huge swathe of people who believe that by accumulating things they can put on their CVs they will achieve. That they never, in fact, achieve anything, is by-the-by. The stunning rise in MBA courses in the last 20 years illustrates the point precisely. Those who have never done, teaching those who never will.

  3. There was a very good VT by Adam Curtis on this week's Newswipe about this sort of thing - what he called 'oh-dear-ism'. Not exactly the same idea, but the principle that the real world is far too complex so let's not bother trying to explain it and just say 'oh dear'.