History is nothing but the actions of men in pursuit of their ends.

There’s lots of terms I’ve been cheerfully bandying about over the last few weeks: post-politics, the death of conflict in the political world; the new public management, or the corporatisation of public services; governmentality, a Foucauldian intervention, “the conduct of conduct” by government; elitism/pluralism, or how the world is governed; cosmopolitanism, the positive disconnectedness associated with our ‘second modernity’. I could go on. It’s been satisfying to go through a course at university and discover that, in doing the assessment, everything ties together.

I’ve been pursuing an elective course on the governance of the sustainable city, and it’s been by far the most organised thing I’ve studied so far. Everything in it’s place, discrete topics every week, and yet they come together really satisfyinglyin this assessment of the current position of the political state. So I’ve been off (as well as doing a million other things at once) arguing the case that the idea of government by consensus, partnership etc. is a sham and a front, and I find myself right in the middle of it on an internship. Government by general consent is an appealing concept on some levels: include as many as you can so you don’t exclude any opinion, consult consult consult… yet everything’s dictated from the top. It’s quite impressive. It’s been good to see this in practice, and it’s been firmly consolidating me in my political standpoint. Yes I’m still somewhat a Bevanite, but when it boils down to it I’m a reluctant, partial, neo/post/whatever Marxist. The old beardy man had some sensible things to say, and they’re a bit inescapable.


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