Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Channeling Madeleine

Ms Bunting may have left Demos, after a reign of Clough-like brevity, but "you can't kill the spirit".

They've just produced a pile of waffle (pdf file) on "Community-based approaches to counter-terrorism", promoted as ever by the BBC, which positively reeks of the old, appeasement days before the Jack Straw putsch, when multiculturalism was laid to rest and 'community cohesion' replaced it.

What qualifications have the three authors, Rachel Briggs, Catherine Fieschi and the fetchingly tilted Hannah Lownsborough ?

Hannah has produced such insights as "For the integration of services to work at a local level, the implementation of the new policies must be truly local. In part, that requires central government to take a genuinely "hands-off" approach to its introduction, trusting the local knowledge of officials to shape solutions tailored to meet local need. Every Child Matters represents one of the most important changes to children's services in the last 20 years"

Catherine Fieschi's finest hour is undoubtedly her 2004 Fabian essay "the resistable rise of the BNP" in which the Director of the Centre for the Study of European Governance at the University of Nottingham explained why the BNP threat was overblown - just as they got 4.8% in the Euro elections, quadrupling their 1999 vote.

Rachel Briggs advises on corporate security, so you might expect her to be a little reality based. Alas the link to "Viva La Revolution - An article in Renewal, November 2005, on the social revolution taking place in Spain" doesn't work. I'm assuming she sees the coming replacement of the Spanish people as a triumph for feminism. Her blog entries show standard Guardianista attitudes :

After the usual questions about think tanks - independence, funding, government influence - the penultimate questioner caught me off guard.

Did I, he asked, believe that the 'axis of evil' is actually an anti-Chinese policy in disguise?

Without further consideration you might think he's just as barmy as Bush.

Don't hold back - tell it like you see it. Just the kind of person we need at the FCO-funded Wilton Park, 'established in 1946 as part of an initiative by Winston Churchill to help re-establish peace and democracy in Europe'. I'm sure she'd get on well with him.

"Ms Briggs has declared that she has no involvement in any political activities." Really ?

There are a few rough and uncut gems to be found in the liberal alluvium.

One of the reasons that the government is getting things wrong is because it has a shallow and partial understanding of the communities with which it needs to engage, which makes it behave schizophrenically.

On the one hand ‘communities’ are the stuff of multicultural Britain – they are benign exotic groups that add a cultural je ne sais quoi to the UK. The priority for policy-makers is not necessarily to understand the differences, but to celebrate them.

Well, yes. The whole point was to import lots of exotic people to prove how cool and multicultural you were - and to cheese off the evil Right. The actual culture of the people you were importing was irrelevant - the point was that it wasn't 'ours'.

Maybe tonight I'll get round to a proper fisking. Suffice it to say that the conclusions amount to 'you know what you did before - after 9/11 - that didn't work ? Do more of it. And make the process of foreign policy formulation totally transparent. That'll be fun. And institute ethnic policing for ethnic areas. And fund more enquiries like this one.'


Anonymous said...

They get people on short-term contracts as university postgrads to write a few words to a prepared script for a a few hundred pounds and splash their name around so they might get a casting couch interview with a NuLab fornicator

Anonymous said...

MichaelCD recently made a very good post on how our national identity is being erroded by multiculturalism, community cohesion, or whatever brand name the old product has now.


Anonymous said...

The central-government-hands-off thing the one chick is yapping about is actually, at face value, a good idea. She just managed to make it sound self-evidently moronic by dousing it with glittering generalities and meaningless buzzwords. But I suppose it's probably not what she says it is anyway.

Anonymous said...

According the their 1945 manifesto the Attlee government were going to municipalise health care rather than nationalise it*. Probably rightly Bevan figured that it wouldn't work that way. Why any of what the chick says would be much different I don't know.

*It's a lot more complicated than that but that's the nub.

dearieme said...

"which makes it behave schizophrenically": ooooh, that's very not PC.

Anonymous said...

‘communities’ ... are benign exotic groups that add a cultural je ne sais quoi to the UK.

Finally an admission that nobody 'sait quoi' the supposed benefit of importing 'communities' is. In any sane policy environment, 'je ne sais quoi' does not pass for an analytic contribution, it gets you laughed out of the job. How does this change benefit our constituents? What are the costs? 'Er. Je ne sais quoi. But it must be good for our souls because, you know, colonialism and that other stuff people talked about at college.'

The priority for policy-makers is not necessarily to understand the differences, but to celebrate them.
Yes, 'celebration' is certainly the top priority for policy-makers, that's what we pay them for, we don't actually need anyone to collect data, or devise strategies that defend our interests, or design programs, or monitor outcomes, or any of that stuff that might possibly threaten to introduce the odd shot of reality. Just loads of lavishly funded happyclappers to regurgitate the talking points of the sociology 'the science where all the actual scientific bits are taboo' departments, recommending we celebrate some ill-defined je ne sais quoi, and some more happyclappers to proclaim they got the memo and lead the chorus. What can possibly go wrong.

Ross said...

I don't think the Demos report is that bad. It does at least identify that islamic terrorism is a real and serious threat. Admittedly the solutions which they propose are pretty much the same solutions that they would propose for any problem. It isn't a Simon Jenkinsesque "problem? 'KABOOM', what problem?".

Anonymous said...

According the their 1945 manifesto the Attlee government were going to municipalise health care rather than nationalise it*

First Municipal Hospital in England was St Luke's Hospital in the former Union Workhouse in Little Horton, Bradford - 1921.

In essence the NHS was not centrally controlled until Keith Joseph hired McKinsey to impose a management structure in the Heath Govt.

McKinsey was so thrilled to be able to take the template they had developed for Shell and impose it everywhere - BBC, NHS, and Heath had two Mibisters who let their budgets take them on a whirlwind ride - Keith Joseph at Health, Margaret Thatcher at Education

Anonymous said...

Laban Tall........if you lived in Yorkshire you would know that Clough was the title of a police series starring Leslie Sands

Anonymous said...

"The priority for policy-makers is not . . . to understand the differences, but to celebrate them."

Use of the word "celebrate" is always a sure sign that the analysis is non-existent and that the analyst's mind is closed to argument (and any contrary evidence which might be available).

Anonymous said...

Look at this