What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Quote of the Day

The State Has Many Teats

Suggestions for the proposed series of Classic Sentences from the Guardian have started to roll in:

A consensus in the making: that a progressive future is the zeitgeist; that neoliberal neo-imperialism is death.

The above is from the mind of Bea Campbell, whose contortions entertained us not so long ago. In a typically opaque and mysterious piece, Ms Campbell announces many things, flatly and as fact, including a belief that families and civil society are,

Riven by power, patriarchy, conflict and the unequal distribution of resources and respect.


The neoliberal hegemony… has brought the world to the brink.

I’m not entirely sure what the “neoliberal hegemony” is - or “neoliberal neo-imperialism” - and it’s perhaps worth noting that of the 497 words in Ms Campbell’s article, 17 are “isms” of one kind or another. Nor is it particularly obvious that these things have indeed “brought the world to the brink.” (Unlike, say, the totalitarian social model that for years entranced dear Bea, and which she rhetorically fellated during her time at the Morning Star Communist newspaper.) Likewise, it isn’t clear how one might ensure that “respect” is distributed in an egalitarian fashion. Perhaps the same approach could be applied to other inequities in life – fashion sense, talent or the possession of pleasing features. Sadly, Ms Campbell doesn’t linger on details of how these things might work, how they would be paid for, or how a respect-enforcing state might be stopped if things should go awry. She is, however, clearer in her enthusiasm for the state and its “progressive” expansion:

There are models of emancipating governance: a new constitutionalism is emerging that demands a dynamic dialogue between civil society and state. This new constitutionalism is driven by environmentalist and egalitarian duties: all policymaking must enlist the public, not as an audience but as participants, and it must be assessed for its impact on relations between humans and the Earth and each other.

Some readers may wonder whether they wish to be enlisted by an egalitarian state. Others may want some time to absorb the notion of an “emancipating governance” based on greater state control.



"Unlike, say, the totalitarian social model that for years entranced dear Bea, and which she rhetorically fellated during her time at the Morning Star Communist newspaper."

Old habits die hard.


"neoliberal hegemony… neoliberal neo-imperialism… dynamic dialogue… egalitarian duties… social justice… marginalisation… progressive politics… emancipating governance… burdened by responsibility… unsustainable abuse of the earth… thousands of years of oppression, rape, pillage, injustice and inequality…"

Wow. There's bollocks in every sentence.


It is a tad tendentious. But isn’t that the modern way? The term “social justice” is coughed up regularly, usually by people who take care not to define it. Sometimes it seems to mean “forcible redistribution of wealth” or “punitive taxation” or “taking even more of your wages and dishing it out to people and organisations we, your betters, deem more deserving than you.”

Of course if you spell it out clearly, some people may object. Hence the buzzwords and question-begging.


It's encouraging that most of the commenters on the Guardian website think it's twaddle too.


Yes, more state control. That's always "progressive".


James S


"It's encouraging that most of the commenters on the Guardian website think it's twaddle too."

This one's my favourite: "On the weird and wonderful Planet Bea, Erich Honecker is progressive, but David Cameron isn't." But I'd say a lot of them aren't Guardian readers. Don't forget visiting CiF is a sport now.


hmm. she really is an awful writer.

Spiny Norman

"...it’s perhaps worth noting that of the 497 words in Ms Campbell’s article, 17 are “isms” of one kind or another."

One out of every 29. That takes effort.

I'd bet that someone with a modicum of computer skills (more than mine) could write a "Po-Mo Gobbledygook" script, along the lines of the Chomskybot, that could produce a column indistinguishable from Bea's rubbish.


I have to wonder how excited the author would be to "enlist the public, not as an audience but as participants" in policymaking if, the audience continues to prefer their own personal well being over that of the planet or some magical, mystical other. My thought is that this idea would quickly go down the memory hole and be just as quickly replaced by what she likely really wants, which is to be the one who decides, or at least among them.

Spiny Norman

I think the ubiquitous "social justice" is code for percisely that, Makewi.


"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." - H.L. Mencken

Simen Thoresen

That was beautiful. They'll be serving hard time for this.

I believe this is an essential point in the progressive wish for egalitarianism and participation. Your participation is requested and appreciated as long as you participate in the correct direction. If your help would be going the other way, you'd be obstructing, not participating.

I think I'd call this 'The freedom to agree'.



In a way, it’s a remarkable article. You can read it twice and still be left unsure what “being progressive” means - beyond a bigger state and a bigger tax bill. (And it isn’t clear why “being progressive” is supposedly unique to the left, or rather the 1970s left, which is what the tone calls to mind.) There’s some vague mumbling about sexism and injustice, as if they were proprietary concerns, and some boilerplate about “oppression, injustice, marginalisation and inequality” – and “thousands of years of rape and pillage.” And the whole thing is heavy with dubious implications and vaguely Orwellian language: “burdened by responsibility,” “egalitarian duties,” “emancipating governance,” etc.

But what exactly does she have in mind beyond the various government measures that already exist? And fretting about “the unequal distribution of respect” is very close to bemoaning the unequal distribution of handsomeness.

James S

But Bea is "progressive" –she says it 8 times. Isn't that enough, goddammit?

Horace Dunn

"Progressive politics must take the side of women..."

Really? Even if the women in question happen to be washed up old Marxists unable to move on from the 1970s campus politics of they heydays?


I dunno...reads a lot like the twaddle that comes with corporate mission statements and such...perhaps she's really a closet capitalist...unless...could the corporate capitalists really be closet marxists? I'm so confused...

James S

It looks like "emancipating governance" is taking a hit...




Heh. As Julia points out, the hustlers won’t be happy. And it’s only a matter of time before someone insists that a public reluctance to continue subsidising “diversity officers” and Pride events is damning evidence of racism, homophobia and general wickedness. And thus proof that *more* public money must be spent on “cohesion,” “diversity” and people to implement it. People much like themselves, in fact.


They may be completely out of touch, and 98% of the commenters on "Comment is Free" may deride them, but these bastards are in control. If they aren't in government then they are in positions of power in State agencies; or they are in massively influential positions in the media, such as the BBC.

How are you going to get rid of them? They aren't going to resign out of embarassment.

James S


Hugh Muir's getting a drubbing in the comments. Further proof that busloads of Telegraph readers have started hanging out there? ;)



Well, it’s an article that highlights just how unrepresentative and presumptuous the Guardian can be, so it’s a juicy target. And when commenters pointedly identify themselves as taxpayers that’s probably a clue that they’re not devout Guardian readers. Likewise, there’s a comment that asks how discouraging the most basic tool for advancement – the learning of English - fosters “community cohesion”. How do disparate groups with no common language “cohere”? That’s not exactly a common Guardianista viewpoint. Given the number of blogs highlighting the Guardian Folly Du Jour, it’d be interesting to know what percentage of CiF traffic is… unsympathetic.


Commenting on CiF is the modern equivalent to visiting Bedlam to poke the patients with sticks.

Unfortunately the patients are running more than the asylum.

Sir Henry Morgan

"Commenting on CiF is the modern equivalent to visiting Bedlam to poke the patients with sticks."

I just got banned by the Guardian for the fifth time. So, that's Badge of pride, bar, bar, bar, bar.

Beam beam :). I'm an inveterate stick-poker.

No, I didn't use expletives, threaten, or say anything libellous - just something they didn't like on the recent much "moderated" Purnell thread.

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