July 03, 2008

Gordon's, not chilled

Its often said that Gordon Brown devours books, that he can get through a weighty tome
in a matter of days. Perhaps he should try reading a little of the Confucian or Taoist philosophies of ruling, particularly the concept of Wu Wei

Wu Wei has also been translated as "creative quietude," or the art of letting-be. ...
One way of envisioning wu wei is through Laozi's writings on how a ruler should govern their kingdom. The advice that was given is that it is similar to frying a small fish (too much poking and the meal is ruined). In other words, create general policies and direction, but do not micromanage. To do this well, you must understand the ways of your people and not go against the grain.

Can there be a better description of what Gordon Brown, and Labour in general, is not?

What Labour is, is a government that has been legislating at an unprecedented rate to put more rules onto the statute books more quickly than anybody before them, in order to 'send messages'. Most of which are unenforceable, and unenforced, crap which only sends the message that the law is now nothing more than a new and complicated form of press release rather than something to be obeyed. Micromanaging public services with targets set from the centre. Which simply distort what people do so that it is about reaching these targets and generating reams of statistics rather than actually doing their jobs. Micromanaging social interactions and licences to hug, which only speed up rather than slow down the erosion of the evolved social customs that bind people together for the benefit of everybody (the rituals in Confucian terms).

Labour's legislative reign has been anything but effortless doing, it has been a frenetic decade of showing how active they are while achieving nothing or worth. Their famous 'narrative' has turned out to be more like what was warned of by the greatest Western poet rather than the Chinese master.

a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.


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