Photo by Peter Dazeley

A little less conversation

The UK is drowning in discourse

Artillery Row

Politicians love to talk about doing — so much so that they have no time to do anything. Regardless of whether this is a result of deception, a design fault in our political system, or both, it is nonetheless the case.

Things only get done if they serve the interests of Britain’s parasitic managerial class. Even then, what “gets done” rarely constitutes a concerted attempt at reform, but a superficial juddering fix, necessary to maintain the status quo for another sordid week.

In a recent article, disparaging Modern Britain’s allergy to preventing crime, I wrote:

Politics is bloated with Very Important, Very Nuanced, Terribly Complicated Conversations, Conversations upon Conservations! Conversations we’re Having and Conversations we Should Be Having.

This problem is endemic to every element of British political life, not just administering law and order.

Conversation is the key word here, as nothing is deliberated. A diverse range of viewpoints, clashing in agonistic fashion against each other, is wholly unrequired. Rather, they rely on the mere presence of talk, regardless of how trivial, useless or incorrect, and the absence of action, irrespective of how vital, necessary or justified.

Far from a cliché, this is exactly how the machinery of government operates.

Both civil servants and planning administrators spend years shooting the breeze about trivial (in some case, imaginary) stakeholders, looking for any hypothetical reason to delay reform, whether it’s high-speed rail, house building or energy infrastructure.

When you’re the Home Secretary, one would hope you’d actually do something

Politicians aren’t much better. As Deputy Prime Minister, Raab could have done something to stop civil servants behaving like spiteful obstructionists, but he didn’t. Instead, he resigned to complain in The Telegraph about conniving politicised bureaucrats holding Britain hostage.

Of course, Raab’s anger was completely justified. No person can faithfully suggest that citing the Civil Service Code, telling bureaucrats to work hard and to (maybe, just maybe) not betray their country constitutes bullying. Alas, that’s the duplicity of the Civil Service — it plays politics, involving itself in every conceivable instance, expressing unwanted and unnecessary influence on everything, before retreating behind the idea of itself when challenged — behind notions of neutrality and apoliticism.

Even worse, whilst conversations are evoked to delay action, should people be prepared to become participants, they are swiftly excluded once their input is not conducive to a pre-determined conclusion.

Nobody starts a conversation about anything without the sly expectation that participants will agree with them (imperialism bad, immigration good, masculinity bad, etc). Conversationalists will instruct the masses that It’s Time to Have a Conversation about Imperialism (translation: white people should pay reparations, disavow their heroes and commit themselves to social justice activism) as if it were something on everybody’s mind. Consequently, there will be pushback, disagreeing with such an insinuation, after which the initiating side will cross their arms, turn up their noses and whittle on about the “low-status right-wing Tory culture warriors” talking about culture wars instead of costalivin.

On this topic, Braverman’s recent comments are completely justified, but when you’re the Home Secretary, one would hope you’d actually do something about such matters.

It’s not lost on anyone that the more the government, especially the Home Secretary, has spoken about tackling immigration, the more it has reached unprecedented levels — although less is said about the left’s sincere belief that the government’s rhetoric is definitive proof of substantive action. How ironic that the only people being misled by the Tories aren’t its supporters, but its enemies — a wonderful testament to the superficiality of the “progressive” mind.

More often than not, conversations are an excuse for politicians and journalists to speak at, rather than speak to, those they pretend to regard with basic dignity — a consequence of people being incapable (or unwilling) to make an accurate distinction between politics and manners.

Extending the Conversationalist logic, politics (more specifically, democracy) isn’t something to be enacted, but to be emulated.

Alastair Campbell’s recent call to introduce political education into school is particularly revealing.

According to Campbell (and, almost definitely, Stewart as well) politics is about sitting around a table, arguing points with an ideological hairs’ width between them, before shaking hands and coming to some gooey compromise that nobody outside of their sanctimonious gaggle supports.

Conversations give oxygen to pretentious pseudo-intellectualism

Above all else, the preoccupation with having “big important conversations” is to give depoliticised matters a veneer of legitimacy. After all, when state bureaucracies, media, academia and NGOs are dominated by left-leaning individuals, despite the wider populace being right-leaning, what other choice do you have?

It’s not a coincidence that those most keen on having conversations are the ones least interested in doing anything of specific detail or value. As a rule, people promise to listen — not because they care, but because they don’t want to care. For politicians, this is especially true. They promise to listen, to have open and honest conversations about the issues that matter, to keep people under the illusion that their livelihoods are being taken seriously.

As for journalists, conversations are a tool to give oxygen to the pretentious pseudo-intellectualism that underpins all contemporary left-leaning politics. They also allow centre-right talking-heads a chance to arrive at revelations the average anon or anon-adjacent individual came to five years prior.

The public is tired of disunited parties, ineffectual politicians, dishonest journalists and rowdy bureaucrats. Britain desperately needs a government that is prepared to bypass the various sectional interests — squawking activist groups, grumbling localist cadres, so-called “public servants” et cetera — all of whom are deeply scared of any politician or party that is prepared to fight for the national interest.

My mother, the greatest living philosopher in the Western world, says humanity can be divided into two distinct groups: talkers and doers. Talkers will talk of doing, but never do; doers will do, and then do what talkers could have done, had they talked less. In sum total: deeds are superior to words.

This is timely advice. The pendulum has swung too far to one side and to no discernible benefit. We are a nation suspended in endless and inescapable conversation. The decisions that must be made have been clear as day for decades; now is the time to find those who will make them.

A little less conservation, a little more action, please.

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