Today has been a normal sort of day for me online, in that I’ve stumbled across a couple of really fascinating things, stuff that’s brilliant. Today it was the Lytro camera, and an examination of the design work of Dieter Rams. Earlier this week it has been Solar-Powered 3D Printer that Prints Glass from Sand and the joys of the Kew Gardens iPhone app. Pick any day and there will be some new nugget of information fixed in my mind somewhere.
Only the problem is that so damned few of these things relate to politics. How many things that really make you sit up and think, inspire you, have there been in politics recently? The only things that have come close for me in the short term have been Radek Sikorski’s Berlin speech, and Jack Layton’s Letter to Canadians. Stoltenberg’s Til Deg made me smile with its neat combination of tech and politics. But beyond that I am absolutely non-plussed. At least I’m not alone in this.
Today in the UK we have a case in point. Purported to be one of the thinkers of the Labour Party, Gregg McClymont has written a pamphlet (with Ben Jackson) summarised on Comment is Free with the piece entitled “How Labour can avoid the Tory trap“. I don’t actually disagree with the tactical substance of what they write, but the style and approach is so narrow, so insider orientated, so lacking in optimism in its articulation. “A patriotic appeal for national growth could highlight the divisiveness and inefficiency of Conservative political economy” they argue. Really? Can we not do any better than that? The same tired appeals to worn out nationalist rhetoric? As innovation and thinking proceed apace across the rest of our society, it seems our politics has failed to move on. Perhaps it was always thus. But where is my role within this morass?