The idea of yet another third way (or more grandiloquently put, yet another “The Third Way”) rears its ugly head again. Whilst Tony Blair re-emerges from the ashes of Thatcherism, and asks us to “oppose smartly and govern sensibly” (personally, I think it revealing he didn’t choose “oppose sensibly and govern smartly”) in a piece headlined “Labour must search for answers and not merely aspire to be a repository for people’s anger”, it would appear that Ed Miliband’s Labour is already working out how to be both a repository for people’s anger (though not always in the way they’d prefer) (more here) and its channel, aiming as it is to weave the enthusiasm-winning patterns of community-organisation and policy-empowerment structures:
[...] If all goes according to plan, Graf’s system will transform the Labour Party from a centralised, rusty machine for mass leaflet delivery into a thriving ecosystem of grassroots campaigners. The key, Graf tells me, lies in giving ordinary members ownership of the policymaking process. Then they become not just cogs in a mechanism but evangelists for a cause. [...]
So whilst Mark Ferguson rightly condemns the bloodless technocracy of Blair alongside its all too memorable results (in both the good it stealthily obtained, as well as the bad its legacy became precisely through such stealth), and as we discard Tony Blair’s intervention in a debate already too stale, what answers (to use his terminology – ah, so maybe he does have a point!) do we look for next?
Bloody revolution is clearly no option at all. Not for moral reasons either – the violence of violent property is causing unhappy pain in the streets of Europe, Africa, the US and elsewhere as it is. Unnecessarily so, too. If we went down the bloody route again, the negative outcomes would just pile up on all sides. And on our watch.
In everything there must be balance. And so managing change of the nature we have before us must involve managing change in a balanced way.
As I pointed out recently, evolution has had its day. The only alternative now left us is to revisit a revolution of a kind: not the blood-soaked opposite of the bloodless technocracy which Ferguson rightly finds repellent in his post, but an alternative, carefully couched and parallel process of disruption. A “positive disruption” is how some are now terming it. A revolution which recovers its moral right to exist, via 21st century tools which recover its ability to be ambitious of objectively-measured success.
Just imagine a French or Bolshevik Revolution aligned with the techniques of modern business. Yes. If Labour is looking for “The Third Way” again, it could do worse than investigate such a way. It would automatically find itself able to draw on a huge body of practical implementation in the corporations that already sponsor political parties – and yet, at the very same time, be able to rework the tools in question for a community-based infrastructure of Party organisers.
How about it then? Neither cold-hearted technocracy nor hot-blooded revolution – but, instead, a society-metamorphosing disruption of an entirely bloodless nature.
Bloodless but not blood-free.
There’s the key to it all.