They are like to children sitting in the marketplace, and speaking one to another, and saying: We have piped to you, and you have not danced: we have mourned, and you have not wept.
(Luke chapter 7)
Tales from the script
Many things are done in an underhand and unaccountable way in the arts. Not just decision-making, but the political ideologies which are enforced upon it. At times people have to go to preposterous lengths to disguise this.
The Scottish Arts Council (SAC) organised - and presumably paid for - a quiet event for an audience of 'arts managers' in Glasgow on 14/4/99. Grimly called "Facing the Future," for some reason this took the form of one lecture by Ian Christie, then director of the think tank 'Demos'. After an obviously unwanted debate (chaired by Mrs. Jack McConnell, Labour Party etc.) in which the audience clearly did not accept what they were told, the final words from Seona Reid (then Director of the SAC) convey the impression that some form of transaction had taken place, that "SAC was working to ensure the arts were incorporated into the range of Government policies - but arts organisations and artists needed to play their part in making this a reality".
Reality fabrication had also been the purpose of Christie's talk, "A New Agenda for the Arts" which was also slyly pushed around the SAC by 'colleagues' who followed the lead and felt the need to be seen to be urging others towards Christie's big idea. This is the brainless fraud that there is no need to form an arts policy distinct from that dictated in London. Christie even offers the golden promise that if "autonomous Scotland" were to follow the government line we would be the "envy and fascination" of the rest of the country.
The problem is the Scottish electorate voted for less dictatorship from London, not more. People want something different for the future not more of the same old shite. But there arts policy has remained despite the wheeling in and switching on of a couple of new appointees.
Tacking on the word 'Scottish' did not disguise the obvious difficulty with Christie's little talk: that it is propaganda, that he is working for the government and that he is bullshitting people. The tone is of an Oxford graduate on the lowest rung of the Civil service, perhaps in a propaganda department for some colonial enterprise. His statements such as "policy debate about 'the arts' is one of the most dispiriting areas of stand-offs and entrenched interests in our intellectual life", don't make much sense in Scotland - what policy debate?
Christie was employed to discern the future environment for the arts for the Scottish, Welsh and English Arts Councils in 1996. So this was money for old rope, ignominiously flogged yet again in the SAC Annual Report of 1999 which cites Christie's talk as the sole example of its organisation of arts policy debate. An example of nihilistic apathy.
Christie even points to "policy debate" as a key problem, but what he really seems to mean is any independent thought and free discussion not to the government's liking and eh...actual culture, art. What is dispiriting is that his Pol Pot equation aims to exclude first all the arts administrators including all partnerships with private business and secondly any artist who has expressed dissatisfaction:
"...the arts establishment is split on tediously familiar lines. On the one hand, the official arts world is preoccupied with the economics of cultural policy - subsidy, value for money, partnership with business and a goal of reaching new mass audiences ('art for all'). Ranged against it are members of an establishment of discontented artistes - including those who have recently announced that they were forming an 'alternative arts council' to seek more resources for their favoured forms of high culture. Arts Council chairman Gerry Robinson confronts Harold Pinter: it is yet another showdown between the men in grey suits and the men in black polo necks."
Leaving aside that this has nothing much to do with Scotland or reality; Christie inferiorises contemporary discussion on art and arts policy to undermine both arts funders and artists from any expectation of autonomy of purpose (which for some is actually the attraction). In fact Christie further engenders the bad faith that only authentic and open debate could possibly counter.
Although some may close their minds to it, the administrators know government policy is all a load of rubbish too. For Christie the work of both artists and administrators are the problem because "in these debates 'the arts' tend to appear as a distinct world, disconnected from other [government] policy areas." His idea is that all cultural policy must align itself to "sectors which will command funding." Such a polite way of putting it. But we are trying to get out of this cultural gulag not into it.
Arts administrators need to be primarliy aware of the debates within the arts so as to be able to respond. What the government wants has to be counter balanced by what artists want. Or are we to be forever puppets? Administrators should not be led into nor encouraged - as they were with this event - to try to influence and pre-determine debate by political funding exclusions. Their positions are predicated on an independence from government. Traditionally 'think tanks' have played a role in poisoning and tainting this independence. How they fit into power structures must be openly analysed: and bear in mind a conflict of interest is also a potential conflict of interest.
The carrot and stick (the arse and the lick) approach is a sadistic pleasure of control for the psychologically damaged. With the Lottery there is an inordinate surplus of funding available: some £4.4bn which remains unallocated. That this has been atrociously handled (and largely embezzled by government) is one reason why distrust legitimately exists between artists and administrators: the artists know the criteria which is used to exclude them is politically motivated and biased towards spurious government endeavours and incoherent and coercive marketing theories. This is destroying our culture not sustaining it.
Putting every egg in the basket Christie maintains that cultural policy needs to be first joined to government policies (the "modernisation of the fabric of the UK" no less) and then armed with the marketing spin of ever shifting concepts of 'Audience Development', which I imagine will be provided by think tanks and consultants ("policy entrepreneurs") thus creating the Catch-22 loop. This will simplify everything: the "nature of the artistic experience on offer" is inconsequential. Art has no place except as predetermined sanitised "forms of arts enterprise which combine civic spirit with entrepreneurial skills..." We are all welcome to "join up".
The 'evidence' he presents to justify the idea that everything must follow government policy is one source: Geoff Mulgan. A Cabinet Office news release of 1/9/00 announced the appointment of Mulgan as Director of the slightly Orwellian 'Performance and Innovation Unit' (PIU): "The PIU's aim is to improve the capacity of Government to address strategic, cross-cutting issues and to promote innovation in the development and delivery of policy and in the delivery of the Government's objectives. The Unit reports direct to the Prime Minister through Sir Richard Wilson." Previously, the report continued, "Mulgan has worked since 1997 as a Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on social policy issues...responsible for social exclusion, welfare to work, family, urban, voluntary sector and other issues... He was previously the founder and Director of Demos, the independent think tank."
Hey Ian, isn't that where you work? Even a fool would need a bit more than that to take Christie seriously but all he provides is an obscure concluding phrase that "we need a Zeldinist Manifesto."1 This is a reference to Theodore Zeldin a slightly bonkers Oxford academic who writes:
"I see humanity as a family that has hardly met. I see the meeting of people, bodies, thoughts, emotions or actions as the start of most change. Each link created by a meeting is like a filament, which, if they were all visible, would make the world look as though it is covered with gossamer. Every individual is connected to others, loosely or closely, by a unique combination of filaments, which stretch across the frontiers of space and time."2
That's straight out of Private Eye's 'Pseud's Corner (and I don't like his Open University hair style either), but the 'gossamer filaments' of Christie and Demos' connections are certainly in need of investigation. As with Mulgan's book 'Connexity,' the Amazing Zeldin has found a small niche market with a handful of corporate PR managers on the verge of a nervous breakdown. They use it to justify 'Sustainable Development,' (a propaganda exercise funded by Big Business and government) as a 'Third Way' distraction from the ecological ravages of their Global empires. Aan what do you know, Zeldin is along with Christie and Mulgan, also a core member of Demos.
Christie currently works for the Cabinet Office with Mulgan. For nine years a Fellow of the Policy Studies Institute and the Henley Centre: he's a think tanker's think tanker. He also has his own little organisation 'Green Alliance' (GA). A typical GA pamphlet, by Christie, argues the political case for sustainable development as a rationale for the EU. GA organised the second annual Rio Tinto Environmental and Social Forum, where RTZ company representatives outlined what Rio Tinto has achieved, described a range of initiatives underway and promised to continue constructive engagement in the future. Then presumably went back to dynamiting the rain forest.
GA ran a seminar for William Hague and his environment spokesman Damian Green, on what line they should be punting, then went round the country performing with John Prescott and Micheal Meacher who both spoke at their annual meeting. Not everyone can make money out of turning politics into a middle-man's melange, not everyone sees political commitment and belief as such an opportunity for prostitution.3
Think Tanks such as Demos also pander to the strategies, structures and operating processes of major corporations which are complicit factors in the reduction in the political and economic power of nations. A corollary to this is the ever decreasing ability of governments to meet the needs and expectations of their constituents. The ulterior motive of 'corporate community engagement' is to pirate money from government social management infrastructures which will in the long term eventually abrogates responsibility for social policy to large financial concerns.4 A great deal of this has been rationalised by think tanks as part of a 'Third way' approach. As we will see later the people who run them are becoming adept at obtaining government money through phoney cultural projects.
The Sadistic Statistic
"The Third Way is to my mind the best label for the new politics that the progressive centre-left is forging in Britain and beyond."
And what would a new product be without a label. 'Forging' is an unfortunate choice of words though.
Christie also writes for Prospect - a small magazine desperately pushing the 'Third Way' which aspires to the role played by Encounter in the late 50s. In 'Return to Sociology,' adopting a manner not unlike Senator Joe McCarthy, Christie blames the "1968 generation" for unspecified crimes against sociology.6
'The influence of continental theory grew - and generated a huge amount of posturing, barely exaggerated in Bradbury's lethal portrait of his "history man."'
In Bradbury's novel the History Man is not Howard Kirk (the character played by Anthony Sher in the 82 TV adaptation) but an unseen shadowy figure; but you know what he means. This is after all just more propaganda. The point is to create the illusion that Marxism achieved a monopoly in the sociology curriculum.
Here again he relies on reductive, crude characterisations of the left (while ignoring the right - yes what is right-wing sociology?). The article is a perverse attempt to erase Marxist and left-wing influences (like the Stalinists air-brushing their former comrades out of the picture). He cuts the history of sociology at 1961 and starts it again in 1997 with Demos. The unwanted material is then discarded as he settles down to relentlessly promote his own work and elevate the role of Demos and allied think tanks and consultancies because of their closeness to government. He then depicts them as the logical successor of British Empiricists Lord Young and Peter Willmott, the nice 'establishment' sociologists. The guys who get funding.
Again there are relentless puffs for Geoff Mulgan's book (it would have been nice of Christie to mention that Mulgan helps 'advise' Prospect). Eventually we are guided towards Anthony Giddens the chief salesman (i.e. Tony Blair hired him) of the Third Way. Giddens resembles an old sold-out version of Howard Kirk: he was a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Leicester from 1961-70. He has never left the Academy and - having climbed the greasy pole at Cambridge from Lecturer, Reader to Professor of Sociology - is now the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Once a Marxist sociologist he now advocates that socialism is dead. It's the old "The God That Failed" routine where his mistakes, his failings and sell-outs are attributed and projected onto a failed 'Left'.
Giddens' ideas such as the 'responsible risk taker' grew out of conversations with Mulgan. Together they concocted ill-thought-out concepts for social experimentation on the poor as if they were a bunch of lab rats. What they derived was 'embedded' in the Government's Social Exclusion Unit. Now with the Performance and Innovation Unit there is the development of a desperate propaganda aspect to Mulgan's activities, and as ever it is blowing back in his face.
In 1998 at the direction of the Government, an 'on-line think tank' called Nexus initiated (within 'on-side' academic circles) a series of debates on the Third way, involving Anthony Giddens; David Marquand, Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford (also Demos); Julian Le Grand, Professor of Social Policy at the LSE; and the Directors of the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Fabian Society. The whole sad little gang: but no academic backing was given to the practical meaning or legitimacy of the Third Way.
Nexus was held up as providing a "tested model of how intellectuals, academics, social entrepreneurs and policy experts would assist the development of the public policy of centre-left governments". It soon deteriorated to extinction. One more confirmation of the vacuum in Third Way thinking, and the inability of its proponents to apply its ideas to concrete social realities.7
But not everyone can make money out of the discussion of poverty. As Christie accidentally admits: "The reform of local government and the welfare state is creating a large demand for information about the preferences of the consumers of public services."8 One of the most blatant hypocritical examples of this 'internal market' being the ERSC/government funded Research Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE). In its second year in '99 they managed to spend £764,000 on themselves, only producing a couple of books and reports which are overwhelmingly influenced by the work of the Director, John Hills who writes with Geoff Mulgan. The whole point of CASE seems to be to report to Mulgan and tell him what he already knows.9
An accurate picture would be against the national interest old bean
Central to the gang's ideas is the portrayal of both 'Old Left' and 'New Right' as coherent, monotheist political ideologies, this is a convenient myth - but a misleading form of product differentiation. Whether elaborated by Blair, Giddens, Mulgan or Christie, the Third Way is always in search of meaning, presenting concepts awaiting precise definition. But does political expediency actually need or desire intellectual and moral justification? If the Third Way remains a fuzzy undefined concept, there can be no political accountability.
Which is handy because there is no political accountability. The establishment position can't really account for its complicity in the suppression and repression which was targeted at the left in those years Christie wants to so conveniently avoid - none of it is in the history books or the official accounts, most of the relevant information is a secret we are told. The prevailing illusion is that this only happened during the 'Cold War' and that everything now is open. This has gone on so long that a great deal of that suppression and covert compliance with government (and the market ideology) has become internalised and institutionalised within what is passed off as intellectual culture. This is a major problem. A fundamental cultural insecurity.
In the Thatcher years and before, many independent journalists took the influence of think tanks to be a malignant and covert right-wing influence in politics. They realised certain organisations were providing doubtful research to reinforce government/intelligence service's propaganda. Overall this was rarely acknowledged in academia and the papers and TV who were themselves manipulated. In some cases contrary evidence was vociferously kept out of debate by those within institutions who were connected and/or sympathetic in recruiting and training within academia. Paul Wilkinson up in St. Andrews University immediately comes to mind; and he is still providing a service to the budgets of MI5 with his sinister input into loathsome legislation such as the recent 'Terrorism Bill'.
These previous Marxists: Giddens, Mulgan, Demos, despise political activism because they - the 'policy entrepreneurs' as they call themselves - want to dictate policy: why else would they do what they do if they didn't. The 'Third Way' mirrors their own personal sell-outs and biddable political conscience. Put it this way 'Policy entrepreneurs' could easily become Cockney rhyming slang for 'agent-provocateurs'. As we shall see below, they have found a place as agents of influence, joining up with what Anthony Verrier called the 'permanent government.'
Happy ever after in the market place
'Those of us who have observed the resistible rise of the Blairites inside the Labour Party are not in the least surprised by the [the decision to exempt Formula One from the tobacco sponsorship ban]. We expected nothing else from people who routinely broke the rules of their own party, lied about their own actions, smeared fellow Party members, abused Party funds to pursue factional advantage, rigged votes, repeatedly revised policy without consulting any of the Party's democratic organs, and ensured a steady flow of jobs and patronage to those loyal and useful to the leadership. Their attitude to the rules that apply to ordinary people is like Leona Helmsley's towards taxes: they're "for little people".'
Yes times have been good for Demos, it has increased its staff and moved to new offices in Waterloo (let's hope that's ironic) sharing with the MI6 connected Foreign Policy Centre, among others10. Tom Bentley (a former advisor to David Blunkett on education) is now the Director with Beth Egan (advisor to Gordon Brown) as Deputy Director. They still maintain that they are independent from government.
Their web site promotes links to several right-wing think tanks and war mongering arms of the cold war including: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, The RAND Corporation, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Hudson Institute (founded by Herman Khan the model for Kubrick's Dr Strangelove), The Heritage Foundation, The Centre for Policy Studies, The Institute of Economic Affairs, The Aspen Institute, The Adam Smith Institute and so on...
Demos trustees bring together mind benders Sir Douglas Hague (former adviser to Margaret Thatcher), Jan Hall (Chief Executive of the advertising agency Gold Greenlees Trott), Martin Jacques (Co-founder of Demos, former editor of Marxism Today, the curiously anti-socialist journal) and Julia Middleton (Chief Executive of Common Purpose).
Geoff Mulgan now chairs the Advisory Council alongside Martin Taylor, who just happens to be a steering group member of the Bilderberg group (a notoriously secretive elite gathering). After his disastrous time at Barclays Bank, Taylor received a £2.5 million payoff (in addition his shares would be worth £3.2 million). A leading member of Labour's taskforce on welfare reform, he is one of the party's prominent supporters in the City. The millionaire immediately targeted the poorest people in the UK with a focus on 'welfare dependency'. Taylor argued that in order to reduce the growing number of workless households, both partners in an unemployed childless couple should have to make themselves available for work. People who get a thrill out of punishing the helpless need help themselves.
Ian Christie is still on the Advisory Council which also has: Matthew D'Ancona (Deputy Editor, The Sunday Telegraph), Terry Leahy (Chief Executive, Tesco plc), Mark Leonard (Director, Foreign Policy Centre), David Marquand (Principal, Mansfield College, Oxford), Anita Roddick (Body Shop plc) and the curiously named 'Perri 6' who is researching into us all being taken over by robots. He has also done extensive research into mind-altering drugs.
It is amazing just how far the Demos team have 'moved on' from their days 'upholding' Marxism to embrace the ideology of the right, any old post-modern cobblers, big business and the shadowy connianvances of think tanks. Demos has spawned all manner of parasitical children.
Take the example of Common Purpose (CP). This was started by Demos trustee Julia Middleton. It has been around for sometime but gained a great deal of funding with the advent of New Labour and its service towards business elites. Initially money was put in by David Bell, the Chairman of the Financial Times (and the Millennium Bridge Trust). CP is another strange organisation, a kind of secret society for careerists.
Again the board has some mysterious figures presiding including Lord Dahrendorf, the chairman of the right-wing Ditchley Foundation and Prof. Laurence Martin of the like-minded Royal Institute of International Affairs. It could well be a note paper job, but CP is composed of representatives of big business (mostly Labour party donors) including multi-nationals, the police, the MOD, banks and their associates, eyes down for a Full House:
Gillian Ashmore (Cabinet Office), Sir Jeremy Beecham (Association of Metropolitan Authorities), David Bell (Financial Times), Dr Andrew Bird (Zeneca), Dr Kevin Bond (Yorkshire Water), Jeremy Hall (Dean Clough Ltd), Richard Hatfield (Ministry of Defence), John Lee (Halifax plc), Ruth MacKenzie (ex-Scottish Opera), Vincent McGinlay (Marks & Spencer plc), Baroness Genista McIntosh (Royal National Theatre), Tim Melville-Ross (Institute of Directors), Sir Alastair Morton (Shadow Strategic Railway Authority and British Railways Board), Sir Herman Ouseley (Commission for Racial Equality), Janet Paraskeva (National Lottery Charities Board), Graham Prentice (Nestlé UK Ltd), John Rivers (Rolls-Royce plc), Gerry Robinson (Arts Council of England), Richard Sambrook (BBC), Barry Shaw (Cleveland Constabulary), Jan Shawe (Prudential Corporation plc), Vivien Stern (The International Centre for Prison Studies), Peter Stoddart (Nissan UK Ltd), Paul Whitehouse (Sussex Police), Ken Williams (Norfolk Constabulary), Ruth Wishart (Freelance Journalist).
Their list of corporate sponsors is impressive and they say they have offices in every UK city. Put politely CP tries to promote 'corporate community engagement', the synergy between big business and well... it's a bit like the asbestos factory owner's daughter handing out religious tracts to the workers coughing at the factory gates. Relationships between corporate CP funders such as BAe, Royal Ordinance and GEC Marconi and say the work of CP trustee David Grayson of the national Disability Council are ignored however. The idea is to accentuate the positive.
The real value of CP must be measured by its closeness to power - access to which is what is on offer. The board has only one member who is openly employed by government, Gillian Ashmore, her record speaks for itself:
"Gillian Ashmore is currently on secondment from the Department of Transport to the British Railways Board working on railway privatisation. She joined the Civil Service in 1971 and has worked variously in the Departments of the Environment, Transport, Employment and Trade and Industry. On the Transport side, she has worked mainly in the public transport field. In the latter two Departments she was Deputy Director of the Enterprise and Deregulation Unit. Mrs. Ashmore has also been a non-executive director of P & O European Transport."11
Incredibly with a line up like that the CP constitution has the cheek to say the organisation:
"is diverse and non-aligned. It draws on the widest possible variety of sectors, areas, and social groups and recognises only peer level and geographical boundaries as common factors to each group. It is always independent, always balanced and owes no historical or other allegiance to any other organisation. Common Purpose works for the benefit of society as a whole..."12
What a pack of lies. CP creates the illusion that it is for ordinary people, but it is not only run by an elite, its projects cater exclusively for an elite: "the rising generation of decision makers" as they say in their web site. This also states that: "We are looking for applicants who are decision-makers in their city, towns or area", and that "participants are over 30 and already hold a position of considerable responsibility". They say their long-term aim is "educating the next generation of leaders in each city or town". On this basis it is a fraudulent organisation.
Funded by big business and public bodies (everyone from Arms companies, Banks to curiously the Scottish Arts Council - probably through Ruth Wishart's connection) they operate for their benefit while their constitution lies that they seek "the advancement of education for the public benefit... to educate men and women from a broad range of geographical, political, ethnic, institutional, social and economic backgrounds."
We have mourned and you have not wept
With Trustees such as Gerry Robinson, the ex-Coca Cola salesman who is now chairman of the Arts Council of England and Janet Paraskeva, the director of the National Lotteries Charities Board (the 'independent organisation' which distributes National Lottery money supposedly to charities and community groups')13 CP has specialised in channelling money away from genuine charitable causes. Demos is also partially funded directly via the Arts Council/Lottery 'New Opportunities Fund'.
The illusion of independence from funders and government was abandoned with CP's biggest project, 'Citizen's Connection'. Tony Blair's old flat mate Lord Falconer's New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) said that: "Camelot, NMEC and Common Purpose created...Citizens Connection."14
But the legal position of the Camelot Group plc is that as the operator of the UK National Lottery it is supposed to be "not responsible for the allocation of funds raised". Except when it is.
The NMEC was (is?) an extraordinary concoction. According to their press release the 'NMEC is a non-Departmental Public Body and a company, independent from government with one shareholder, Lord Falconer'. This makes it an Anstalt a finacial vehicle more commonly associated with Swiss Bank accounts and money laundering. The 'off-shore account' was pioneered by the Mafia: their Lotteries ('the numbers racket') were deemed illegal because of the evidence that they preyed upon the poor - the National Lottery magically does the reverse.
NMEC is funded by the National Lottery via the Millennium Commission (who tried to be independent from government but were threatened with a judicial review). NMEC ran the Dome and a National Programme of events across the UK. It is misleading to gather all this up as the problem with 'the Dome'. For instance, Labour MP Robert Marshall-Andrews tabled a Commons question on numerous secret contracts worth some £450 million - awarded by the NMEC, 'a company with no direct lines of information or accountability'.
But with millions pouring down the drain (well into a few people's pockets) an attempted diamond heist and daily financial craziness at the Dome, no one really noticed anything unusual when Camelot, whoever runs Common Purpose and Lord Falconer gave £2 million to Common Purpose to run a web site which links to the governments' sites, which is all Citizen's Connection is.
Amusingly an exactly similar organisation to 'Citizen's Connection' already existed with Lord Young's School for Social Entrepreneurs, which is funded by HSBC, the National Lottery and a peculiar 'charity' the Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust, run by the wife of the former chairman of the SAC, Magnus Linklater.
People have to pay to join up for any CP programme, so who is this money going to? Just about all of CP projects are extensions of PR exercises run by big companies, such as the 'Your Turn' project, which was directly run by BT's PR consultants, so effectively these are being underwritten. Yet - even while CP got millions for their web site - 'Your Turn' was specifically given additional funding by the National Lottery Charities Board, which as we have seen with CP board member, Janet Paraskeva has a conflict of interest, which she regards as a common purpose and her turn for some money.
Manufactured, twisted...ever more tenuous
"We now live in a world in which fantasy and reality are hard if not impossible to distinguish. Information is the raw material of both fact and fantasy, and has been so industrialised that its origins are rarely visible. Now it can be manufactured, twisted, multiplied and disseminated almost without limit. Assisted by the power of computing, it can be created as if from nothing: tailor made to cognitive needs, put together as pastiche or copy. It needs only minimal reference points. The links between it and an objective reality - the claim of positivism and enlightenment - are ever more tenuous. As a result for the receiver there are few grounds for judgement, apart from received authority or limited experience."15
This con artist's confession was written by Geoff Mulgan a few years ago, when he was em...a lefty Sociology lecturer in Sheffield University. You can just smell the post-modernism: confusing fantasy with reality, providing text by the yard. There was only one place for the young Geoff to go: Think Tank Land - the Thought Police - the place where the government pay you to fuck with people's minds. From there Geoff's 'limited experience' (and how he limits others), and his strange fantasies became confused with reality, in first the Social Exclusion Unit, then enforcing these policies in the Performance & Innovation Unit. Mulgan's desk is where all this bureaucracy begins which we see filtering into arts policy (Ian Christie's work) and the administration of the poor.
The type of post-modernist theory expressed by entrepreneurial proponents of the Third Way such as Mulgan, has its roots in the work of Martin Jacques, the founder of Demos who recruited Mulgan.
Jaques pushed the importance of interpreting ideology as no more than the job of gaining the consent of the dominant class. The relations of production, exploitation and the desire for power, impunity and privilege at the heart of the system were overlooked. The market (and its effects) as a structured system of relationships and values escaped their critique. This delineated only free relations of 'exchange' between individuals in the market as consumers.
The early 80s attack of the new conservatives and monetarists on social democratic capitalism together with the collapse of the soviet system gave the market and its values a new prominence for Jacques. Together with the sociologist Stuart Hall they produced political critiques - particularly in the journal 'New Times' - of the new right and are associated with coining the phrase 'Thatcherism'. Critics believe these overestimated its ideological and political coherence and its success in reforming the machinery of state and in capturing public opinion:
"Because Thatcherism had a 'project', it was concluded that the left needed one too. This, it was argued meant a long and difficult reform of the left on the 'hard road to renewal'. But the results of this in 'New Times' and 'post-fordism' involved the jettisoning of many of the critical analyses of left thought."16
So with the pseudo-sociology of the 'policy entrepreneur', with this wilful ignorance in exchange for money, we have a social thought which has moved far away from examining the actual conditions of the society in which we live:
"...at a time of widespread disenchantment or retreat on the intellectual left when theory itself had abandoned the ground of oppositional critique and assumed the role of a legitimising discourse with every motive for dissimulating its own material interests and conditions of emergence. In which case we would do better to drop all the glitzy self-promoting talk of 'post-modernism', 'New Times' etc., talk whose sole function - whether wittingly or not - is to offer an escape-route or convenient alibi for thinkers with a large (if unacknowledged) stake in the 'cultural logic of late capitalism.'"17
It is impossible now with Demos - employed by New Labour in much the same capacity as the Thatcher government employed the Adam Smith Institute and the IEA - to believe that they are unwitting. The connections and services to organisations such as the Bilderberg, Ditchley, Royal Institute for International Affairs etc. represents their connivance with elite gatherings of business interests unfettered by the democratic process. They are part of the laissez passer in the laissez faire.18
Its no go the Demos Man...
The SAC may still promote the mad logic that we will gain independence by abdicating it: but you will only hear this sort of thing from people who are paid to say it or who want to be: paid by government as part of the exercise of control, not public service. However you define Scottish culture it is dangerously destructive to see it as a process of enforcing a diseased mentality contracted from a Downing Street 'policy entrepreneur'.
This is ignored, but Scottish culture is self-determined here in Scotland and it will always seek freedom. Part of actually realising that freedom will be a redress of balance, an acknowledgement of the areas of culture which are ignored and suppressed, deemed 'too political,' because they challenge the assumptions of the power structure which presently has control of the financial resources. The present power structure maintains class hierarchies whereby selected members of the middle class once suitably 'educated' into appreciating and administering 'high culture', then become eradicators of certain forms of culture, denigrating the nascent and indigenous culture.
Everyone's had enough of it. It simply doesn't work.
Many of those in our areas of higher education, mainstream media, those administrating culture and the majority of artists will have to make themselves aware about what really happened in Scottish culture in the last 20 years because there is no real record. The level of cultural debate is atrociously non-existent - the example the SAC set with Ian Christie is a disgrace, really quite repulsive. It puts us back to the position of intellectual openness of Czechoslovakia in the 1960s - instead of tanks rolling in it is think tanks. It makes no difference to me if I am considered a dissident for saying so.
Where are arts and cultural policy analysed intelligently? Why was Ian Christie paid to perpetuate this stage managed fraud by the two Stepford Wives of the SAC and Glasgow City Council?
Centralised devolution for all is now on offer across the country. A national network of Commisars. But the fact is that the Arts Council are losing the support of even their own committee members. Those with any integrity are blackmailed or put into corners, doubling up on their jobs, shortening their lives with the stress of competing in this phoney market place. The internal market becomes internalised market values - pretend partnerships where the mentor becomes the tormentor. There will never be a shortage of money for government stooges like Ian Christie and his like, those who advocate that we maintain in ignorance of the relevance of our own culture. I'd love to sell my soul myself, but they think I'm the Devil.
1. Zeldin is studying 'Happiness' at the moment in Oxford.
2. (Quoted from Zeldin's 'An Intimate History of Humanity' from a review by Sean McWilliams)
3. http://www.greenalliance.org.uk/Documents/Newsletters/InsideTrack_Highlights_Autumn1999.pdf. GA together with the Fabian Society and the Royal Institute for International Affairs published Peter Hain's 'The End of Foreign Policy.' Mulgan and Christie are also involved in Green Futures magazine.
4. A New Model for "Corporate Philanthropy" by Ron Burke, General Manager, Global Corporate Relations, National Australia Bank, First published Family Matters, No. 51 Spring/Summer 1998 sets out Zeldin's influence.
5. Quoted from http://www.prospect.org/print-friendly/print/V10/45/klein-r.html
6. Prospect, January 1999 http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/highlights/return_sociology/index.html. Prospect is modelled on the American prospect founded by Daniel Bell in the USA. The Prospect editor, David Goodhart is an ardent admirer. Laughably it presents Demos, (Mulgan, Martin Jaques) as the opponents of the government.
7. Geoff Andrews 'Technocrats or Intellectuals?' http://www.signsofthetimes.org.uk/pamphlet1/techno.html
Third Way Debate Summary can be found at http://www.netnexus.org/library/papers/3way.html. Their own figures say that it got 140 postings by 45 people.
8. Quote from Christie Prospect op cit.
CASEreport6.pdf. See also the Bob Holman interview in this issue. "CASE subsumes the former LSE Welfare State program" with additional support coming from "the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for economics and Related Disciplines, including for the Centre's Toyota Research Officer."
10. Together with the Foriegn Policy Centre, Demos shares its address: The Mezzanine, Elizabeth House, 39 York Road, London SE1 7NQ, with a number of organisations which grew out of it or are government fronts or who are funded to run Mulgan's Social Exclusion policies: The Family Education Trust, 'TS2k', CIVITAS (a former IEA venture), the Community Action Network (funded by BNFL and Coca Cola and the Home Office, a revolting cocktail), the Carnegie Young People Initiative, Timebank, UNLTD, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs and the Policy Network. These organisations mostly form a stable of volunteer organisations who provide individuals to (domestic and foreign) NGOs under the same roof as an MI6 front and Mulgan and Taylor's operation for the Cabinet Office.
12. http://www.commonpurpose.org.uk/Public/jobs/pforum.htm. Barclays also sponsored Common Purpose's Alchemist Awards to various friends including the Founders of Jubilee 2000 which aims to ask the banks to abandon third world debts.
13. Which recently shiftily changed its name to the 'Community Fund'. Monopoly anyone?
16. Greg Philo & David Miller, Cultural Compliance, Glasgow Media Group Glasgow June 1998. I would also recommend their 'Market Killing', pictured opposite.
17. C. Norris Reclaiming the Truth: Contribution to a Critique of Cultural Relativism, London Lawrence & Wishart. Quoted from the above.
18. Mulgan gave a briefing to the Ditchley Foundation in Florence on 19-21 November 1999 on the 'Third Way.' The Director of Communications of the Council on Foreign Relations was also in attendance together with various 'diplomats' and Sir Samuel Brittan Principal economics commentator, The Financial Times.