Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ideas or Managerialism?

Ex BBC boss, ex Labour supporter (pre-Hutton of course), Greg Dyke announced last night he would not stand for Mayor of London. Not because of other commitments etc, but because both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would not back him to be the independent (ish) anti-Labour, anti-Livingstone candidate. Seems a little like his real goal was the power, he said: the backing of both parties was the only way to secure a win.

While it is argued that party politics, as opposed to real ideas, are unattractive to many voters, surely any attempt to build coalitions prior to the election just reduces choice and means ideas and ideologies would be replaced by a purely managerialist style. Ok, maybe this would not differ much from the Livingstone approach; but the notion that power should be attained by abandoning all political differences seems inappropriate in times of normal politics. The Conservatives, it appears, went for the idea (were they too seduced by the idea of victory at all costs); the Liberal Democrat response that "The people of London should have a full democratic choice on next year's mayoral elections" is more in line with the principles of democracy than the Dyke suggestion. It raises many questions about what the people want from an electoral contest, representation yes, but in what form - symbolic, ideological - we never saw a Dyke manifesto but it would have been interesting to see how he crafted his product to attract the London electorate.


richard said...

Apart from satisfying Dyke's enoumous ego - can I say that! - This seems to suggest we want somebody we feel we know to represent us...someone we know of at least.

Gordon Brown's comments a week or so ago about society being fed up of celebrity was so far wide of the reality I see...

If Bono stood or any of the other egos - I imagine hey would stand a very good chance of winning - but we maybe shouldn't be too afraid of this - see Arniw in California - he doesn't rule like his on screen character...his 'civil servants' still do the day to day decision making.

Redken said...

Politics without party = personal politics, what Bauman and others have described as a retreat from civil political exchange, replaced with the whims and wishes of every little Englander who thinks they should be in charge!

Postmodern fragmentation meets the hard rock of party politcs and the outcome is a bit of a mess.