petej + dc:creator=davieswill   43

For Johnson’s Tories, the collapse of public trust isn’t a problem – it’s an opportunity | William Davies | Opinion | The Guardian
A combination of Brexit, decades of neglect and political alienation in Labour’s heartlands, the new digital media ecology, and hints of frightening illiberalism could conspire to produce a form of democracy that looks more like Hungary or even Russia than the checks-and-balances system of liberal ideals. It’s not that democracy will end, but that it will be reduced to a set of spectacles that the government is ultimately in command of, which everyone realises are “fake” but that are sufficiently funny or soothing as to be tolerated.

This may sound paranoid, but it is merely an extrapolation from the trends that are already in full sway. Just like Trump, Johnson’s capacity to make headlines and change the subject means we can quickly forget how much damage he has already done, in less than six months – instead we are locked in a perpetual present, squabbling over the details of what he’s doing right now. It’s important to keep track. Challenging this juggernaut will be a far larger and more complex project than anything Her Majesty’s opposition can do alone.
UK  politics  generalElection  ge2019  JohnsonBoris  ToryParty  Brexit  campaigning  policy  constitution  CummingsDominic  deregulation  scrutiny  opposition  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
7 hours ago by petej
The Tories have lost their ideology. Now they are merely the party of resentment | William Davies | Opinion | The Guardian
No explanation of Brexit – and hence of the worst political crisis in living memory – can escape the truth that it was born, nurtured and released into society from the Conservative backbenches. The party has done for British democracy what derivatives did to the financial sector – and it has so far survived the carnage it produced. Instead, blame for the chaos has been sprayed in all directions: on to Europeans, Labour, remainers and “the elites”, thanks to the symbiotic relationship between party and press.

Johnson could win a workable majority in the next few months. And yet there’s a marked absence of triumphalism in the party. The current poll lead feels precarious; 59% of Tory members have already voted for the Brexit party once (in the European parliament elections), and many could well do so in future. The Conservatives are now to the Brexit party what cocaine is to crack: more acceptable in polite company, but ultimately made of the same stuff.

Rage and resentment are powerful political forces, but dangerously unpredictable. Unlike a newspaper columnist, a prime minister takes far more flak than he dishes out, and Johnson now appears harried and uncomfortable. Lacking any positive vision of the economy or society, he and Cummings are entirely reliant on channelling resentment towards various foes, from supreme court justices to Jeremy Corbyn. The newspapers will do their bit by escalating the attacks.

But these nemeses cannot soak up all that anger indefinitely. The forces behind Brexit will need new scapegoats soon – and Johnson, Cummings and the Conservative party could be next in line.
UK  politics  ToryParty  conservatism  values  Brexit  trade  business  JohnsonBoris  CummingsDominic  ideology  opportunism  power  finance  deregulation  financialisation  resentment  multiculturalism  immigration  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
10 weeks ago by petej
England's new rentier alliance - Political Economy Research Centre
From this perspective, the present looks like the outcome of past investments. If you’re rich, it’s because you invested well 30 or 40 years ago. You don’t owe anything to anyone, and have no obligation to invest anything more for the future. It’s your money, because of the time that elapsed while it was accumulating. The extreme manifestation of this nostalgic nihilism is Arron Banks, who is the decaying face of Harry Enfield’s Thatcherite ‘loadsamoney’ character, now living off the proceeds of his previous investments, while continuing to troll people about how little he cares about society. The financial troll uses his money to smash things up, as a type of conspicuous consumption: a way, as Veblen argues, of showing how much money you can afford to waste, and how insulated you are from the consequences of your actions. For men such as Tim Martin, boss of Wetherspoons, backing ‘no deal’ is a way of signalling that you’re rich enough to take a haircut of a few million off your assets.
UK  politics  Brexit  JohnsonBoris  FarageNigel  hegemony  Leave  noDeal  elderly  wealthy  rentiers  Thatcherism  Blairism  financialisation  lateCapitalism  BanksArron  trolling  LiberalDemocratParty  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
august 2019 by petej
Why we stopped trusting elites | News | The Guardian
If a world where everyone has their own truth-tellers sounds dangerously like relativism, that’s because it is. But the roots of this new and often unsettling “regime of truth” don’t only lie with the rise of populism or the age of big data. Elites have largely failed to understand that this crisis is about trust rather than facts – which may be why they did not detect the rapid erosion of their own credibility.

Unless liberal institutions and their defenders are willing to reckon with their own inability to sustain trust, the events of the past decade will remain opaque to them. And unless those institutions can rediscover aspects of the original liberal impulse – to keep different domains of power separate, and put the disinterested pursuit of knowledge before the pursuit of profit – then the present trends will only intensify, and no quantity of facts will be sufficient to resist. Power and authority will accrue to a combination of decreasingly liberal states and digital platforms – interrupted only by the occasional outcry as whistles are blown and outrages exposed.
elites  representativeDemocracy  trust  politics  media  business  honesty  norms  authority  liberalism  technology  Internet  populism  lies  alienation  disillusionment  UKIP  MPs  expenses  wikileaks  phonehacking  MurdochRupert  Libor  finance  BBC  Tesco  Volkswagen  exposure  whistleblowing  FOI  BlairTony  transparency  Brexit  Leave  MetropolitanPolice  RobinsonTommy  conspiracyTheory  relativism  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
november 2018 by petej
National Populism review – compassion for supporters of Trump, Brexit, Le Pen | Books | The Guardian
Eatwell and Goodwin treat these aspects as a diversion from the deeper question of what their supporters are seeking, which they paint in sepia: “To reassert cherished and rooted national identities over rootless and diffuse transnational ones; to reassert the importance of stability and conformity over the never-ending and disruptive instability that flows from globalisation and rapid ethnic change; and to reassert the will of the people over those of elitist liberal democrats who appear increasingly detached from the life experiences and outlooks of the average citizen.” It is the pursuit of these goals that characterises the movement or ideology of national populism.

This is a canny and deceptive intellectual move. It would be strange to define socialism in terms of the hopes and fears of trade unionists, or liberalism in terms of the worldview of a free rights-holding individual. And yet national populism is only really distinguished from nationalism and racism by the fact that its supporters do not see themselves in these terms. Inversely, Eatwell and Goodwin’s insistence that Le Pen or Wilders are not racist politicians rests on the PR efforts these figures have made to detoxify their images as racists in the eyes of the public and media.
UK  politics  nationalPopulism  nationalism  populism  racism  GoodwinMatthew  EatwellRoger  GoodhartDavid  culture  demographics  change  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
november 2018 by petej
How feelings took over the world | Culture | The Guardian
These two distinctions – between mind and body, and war and peace – now appear to have lost credibility altogether, with the result that we experience conflict intruding into everyday life with increasing regularity. Since the 1990s, rapid advances in neuroscience have elevated the brain over the mind as the main way by which we understand ourselves, demonstrating the importance of emotion and physiology to all decision making. Meanwhile, new forms of violence have emerged, in which states are attacked by non-state groups (such as Islamic State), interstate conflicts are fought using nonmilitary means (such as cyberwarfare), and the distinction between policing and military intervention becomes blurred. Our condition is one of nervous states, with individuals and governments existing in a state of constant and heightened alertness, relying increasingly on feeling rather than fact.

When reason itself is in peril, there is an understandable instinct to try to revive or rescue something from the past. It has become a cliche to celebrate the rugged individualism, cold rationality and truth-seeking courage of the scientific pioneers. But in our current age, when intelligence and calculation are performed faster and more accurately by machines than by people, an alternative ideal is needed. Perhaps the great virtue of the scientific method is not that it is smart (which is now an attribute of phones, cities and fridges) but that it is slow and careful. Maybe it is not more intelligence that we need right now, but less speed and more care, both in our thinking and our feeling. After all, emotions (including anger) can be eminently reasonable, if they are granted the time to be articulated and heard. Conversely, advanced intelligence can be entirely unreasonable, when it moves at such speed as to defy any possibility of dialogue.
emotion  rationality  OxfordCircus  panic  misinformation  socialMedia  fear  instinct  rumours  virality  Germany  refugees  Facebook  populism  psychology  violence  policing  militarisation  terrorism  experts  trust  elites  resentment  inequality  exclusion  disenfranchisement  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
september 2018 by petej
Theresa May’s Vapid Vision for a One-Party State - The New York Times
Mrs. May’s idea that her opponents are merely playing self-interested political “games” is a classic populist trope, one that suggests that constitutional democracy is really an obstacle standing between people and leader. The prime minister’s rhetoric since calling the general election has implied that the best outcome for “the national interest” would be to eradicate opposition altogether, whether that be in the news media, Parliament or the judiciary. For various reasons (not least the rise of the Scottish National Party) it is virtually impossible to imagine the Labour Party achieving a parliamentary majority ever again, as Mrs. May well knows. To put all this another way, the main purpose of this election is to destroy two-party politics as Britain has known it since 1945.
UK  politics  ge2017  generalElection  ToryParty  MayTheresa  Brexit  populism  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
may 2017 by petej
William Davies: The Political Economy of Unhappiness. New Left Review 71, September-October 2011.
"Depression is just sheer incapacity, a distinctly neo-liberal form of psychological deficiency, representing the flipside of an ethos that implores individuals to act, enjoy, perform, create, achieve and maximize. In an economy based in large part on services, enthusiasm, dynamism and optimism are vital workplace resources. The depressed employee is stricken by a chronic deflation of these psycho-economic capacities, which can lead him or her to feel economically useless, and consequently more depressed. The workplace therefore acquires a therapeutic function, for if people can somehow be persuaded to remain in work despite mental or physical illness, then their self-esteem will be prevented from falling too low, and their bio-psycho-economic potential might be rescued."
health  wellbeing  mentalHealth  depression  productivity  work  labour  immaterialLabour  Negri  Keynesianism  neoliberalism  happiness  capitalism  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill  NLR 
september 2016 by petej
The Political Economy of David Bowie - Political Economy Research Centre
"I wonder if what we find most alluring about Bowie today is his apparent lack of debt, in the constrictive, guilty sense of an obligation to honour one’s past promises. The contemporary financialisation of everyday life involves a fixing of individuals in certain life trajectories. Whatever we do, we have to stick to the path that guarantees a steady, predictable income, as calculated by past creditors. The past devours the future. Digital technology and social media assists with this, helping to fix our identities in place and render them transparent to credit-raters. In that sense, the cliched claim that we love Bowie because we’re all now engaged in self-invention seems to me the opposite of the truth: we mourn him because, short of another war or a truly destructive financial crisis, the idea of such freedom now seems impossible to envisage ever again."
BowieDavid  music  art  economy  UK  inequality  welfare  financialisation  capitalism  Piketty  WorldWarII  modernism  FisherMark  identity  authenticity  invention  creativity  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
august 2016 by petej
Brexit will make things worse. Is that why people voted for it? - The Washington Post
Taking all of this together, a typical Leave voter has authoritarian beliefs, yet no faith in the political system to implement authoritarian policies or to improve society some other way. Under these circumstances, individuals display what sociologists call “negative solidarity,” a feeling that if they’re to suffer, then everyone should, too. Psychologically, it is perhaps easier to experience feelings of despair and powerlessness if they are collective conditions, rather than private ones.
UK  EU  referendum  Brexit  politics  Leave  exclusion  authoritarianism  democracy  hopelessness  distrust  despair  negativeSolidarity  TrumpDonald  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill  punishment  retribution 
july 2016 by petej
Happiness and children | openDemocracy
"Economists assume that competition is something that occurs spontaneously in the market, a natural force that public policy can prepare us for but not alleviate or shape. Positive psychologists reduce anxiety and depression to defects of behaviour or cognitive biases. But what if people are being socially compelled to compete, perform and prove themselves? And what if that compulsion, far from being ‘natural’ or even a diffuse cultural effect of ‘late capitalism’ or ‘modernity’, is in fact deliberately designed by policy-makers who seek to bolster their power with more and more data?

What if it is really the anxieties and fears of those such as Nicky Morgan, an Education Secretary in the UK Government who knows nothing about teaching, or the Department of Education wonks who are wrestling to make the world conform to their numerical understandings, that are really responsible for placing more and more stress on children? "
happiness  education  children  psychology  resilience  mindfulness  mentalHealth  wellbeing  tests  SATs  stress  anxiety  competition  neoliberalism  MorganNicky  UK  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
may 2016 by petej
The corruption of happiness | openDemocracy
Political hope must continue to lie in the idea that social and economic conditions are changeable, and, commensurately, that it is not up to us to tailor our minds, moods and bodies to circumstances which dominate us. The problem is that this argument can easily be bracketed as a form of idealism, which—in contrast to the advocates of 'talking cures'—doesn’t take everyday suffering seriously. The critique of positive psychology can end up being dismissed as a nonsensical defence of negativity.

The way to resist this is to insist on a political understanding of happiness and unhappiness, in which people are authorised to articulate and offer explanations for their feelings. This means understanding that some forms of unhappiness - such as a sense of injustice or anger - need hearing, not treating. This in turn requires careful nurturing and development of the institutions which facilitate voices to be heard. Happiness is welcome, but not if it requires people to "radically alter the way they are".
behaviour  happiness  neoliberalism  individualism  choice  management  psychology  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
may 2016 by petej

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