Monday, June 23, 2008

Against the politics of identity

Paul Linford suggests that Brown might be wise to ditch Alistair Darling:
"But for me, the reason Mr Darling should be replaced is the same two reasons that he should never have got the job in the first place - one, because he is Scottish, two, because he is rather dull.

It was always going to be the case that, with Brown as premier, having another Scot in what is effectively the No 2 government role was going to be tricky. When that Scot has a reputation for being almost as dour as Brown himself, it was going to be doubly so."
I have to say I found this post a rather depressing read because I take it as indicative of the extent to which the nationalist logic has taken hold of our political discourse. Going to be 'tricky', was it? More tricky than the previous situation when two Scots held the Nos 1 and 2 spots in government, along with various posts like Lord Chancellor, Home Secretary, shit like that? More tricky, yes - but only because this is a purely aesthetic judgment being made here.

I would agree with Paul that there are, despite him having been Chief Secretary to the Treasury, reasons Darling is unsuited to the job but they're not the same as his. No - the most important as far as I'm concerned is because he is understood to be a creature of Gordon Brown's patronage. The thing is, this is related to his Scottishness in the sense that both men come from the culture of Scottish Labour - the land where, as I've said before, the selectorate is the electorate and where loyalty is always preferred over competence.

But then again, perhaps such analysis should be avoided by someone who called it so wrong with Gordon Brown from the beginning.

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