Thursday, 7 April 2016

Life In the Slow Lane

Regulars will have noticed the drop in output of late and, I'm afraid to say, that's likely to continue for the time being. As I'm fond of lists, here's my rundown of reasons why.

1. Blogging constantly is a massive drain. Last year, I managed 366 posts, most of which were original articles/think pieces/rambling rambles (delete as appropriate). All of these were written in my own time and mostly in evenings after a day at work. It inevitably meant evenings out were passed up, the rare decent television offering was ignored, and too many books were left glowering at me, unread. I'd like to be a veritable opinion machine capable of churning out flawless and excellent articles all the time, but I can't. The pace has to slacken because I fancy doing other things. Occasionally.

2. I don't think I've been as bone idle, politically speaking. This year I've managed to get two leafleting sessions under my campaigning belt, a feat truly worth the old Soviet 'Hero of Socialist Labour' medal. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is work. Since September I've taken on more responsibility, which has meant a never-ending stream of emails requesting reports about this and that. Rewriting three modules as I go along has hardly helped matters either. Still, I'm not moaning, I enjoy my job. But it does mean time and energy previously reserved for the hard graft of talking to "real people" has found itself allotted to other things, unfortunately.

3. Ah yes, the second reason. There's no point beating about the bush. The Labour Party might be stronger organisationally speaking than it has been for many years, but nothing has happened these last six months suggesting that a) the labour movement (not just the party) has strengthened over this period and that the "new politics" is winning adherents beyond the already-converted, and b) we stand a chance of winning in 2020. That's alright if you're of the leftist stripe who thinks power flows from the barrel of extra-parliamentary activity, but it doesn't. Historically, in Britain, it has tended to be a dialectical fusion of the two. Street politics and committee room politics shape and condition one another, and occasionally conspire with events to create opportunities for lasting political and social change. Jeremy is a good leader from the extra-parliamentary point-of-view, but he has proven not so stellar in the daily cut-and-thrust. While a lot of this is filtered through some of the most disgraceful media coverage a leading British politician has ever received, his programme at present (and I would contend in the immediate future) is not going to appeal to sufficient numbers to win. Unfortunately, when activists are convinced they're losing it's not terribly common for them to redouble their efforts in the hope sheer voluntarism can turn the situation around. This is especially true when time and energy is in short supply. De-motivation is usually the norm, and in my case if you're not feeling inspired to pull your finger out, writing about it regularly is difficult too.

There we have it. Three reasons for taking this here blog and steering it into the slow lane. There will be regular new stuff, but at a lower, gentler frequency.

8 comments:

Dave Cohen said...

Yep. Totally my situation. Our branch committee are not leaving our local councillors in the lurch, but we are trying to get the more enthusiastic new members involved as we have lost, dare I say it, all momentum.

Anonymous said...

The quality of your output is enviably high. I've often been quite amazed at your capacity for producing incredibly well written, and fairly lengthy, pieces with such regularity. I've learnt a great deal from you as well, about the labour movement in general but, more specifically, you've managed to shed light on some of the more arcane and murky corners of post-modern theory. Just don't let yourself get too stale, we can't afford too much ennui in the ranks!
Sue.

Speedy said...

Don't beat yourself up, I'm amazed by your output. You deserve to have a life too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks all the great reads thus far. Very best and enjoy.

Olwen

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sue and anonymous. All such precious writing activities ebb and flow and breaks are often beneficial. No need to apologise - and the pressures of neoliberalised academia are well documented now but unlikely to let up. The slow university concept (new book out on it) should be of interest...

asquith said...

If you don't feel any inspiration for posts, it's always best not to make any.

You needn't worry, your readership will still be here on your return!

Mark W said...

Don't take this wrong Phil - I'm amazed at your productivity - but I think the idea that you aren't a blogger unless you post every day is kind of 2006. One really trenchant post a week might be more satisfying all around.

Dave K said...

Thanks for your blogging. Its good to see lefties critically assessing both the objective conditions and the subjective factors without telling our selves comforting lies. Also like the retro game stuff too.

I do disagree on Corbyn project. The last month or so have shown that he has turned a tory flank and more people are willing to give him a hearing. Also his immediate task wasn't just to turn around the electoral fortunes but to re-build the very idea of Labour as a mass reformist / social democratic party with the organised working class at the centre of its coalition.