Whisper it softly…

Posted on: 18th May 2011

Originally posted June 27th 2007

To build consensus or not to build consensus”. Those appear to be the do-or-die options available in what, in fact, may not be a new Brown era of politics; but just a re-spun continuation of the old.

Of course, if Brown’s apparently leaked (by his office) offer of Ministerial positions for some Liberal Democrats had genuine substance then there may be an opportunity for celebration; as the tiresome yah-boo tribalism which diverts the political process away from the common good finds a new direction. The three “Cs” of political consensus could be explored: compromise, consideration and coalition.

The party-loyalist style tribalism which is as much a feature of British politics as many others has created a climate in which compromise is seen as weakness amongst fellow party activist, consideration is seen as the first treacherous step towards disloyalty and countries can be taken to war on a false prospectus which is given only the most superficial scrutiny.

I suppose Ming Campbell was placed in a “no win” situation by Brown and then “hung out to dry” by a carefully timed leak. Three alternative “Cs” seem to drive this world: cynicism, calculating and confidence-trickery!

But perhaps there is still hope. Perhaps there is still a chance that the tribalism which is so enjoyed by many party loyalists, and which leaves most normal and rational human beings bemused, will be defeated. Consensus could triumph and then commonsense and sensible compromise will win through. Anyone with a sensible and rational proposal would have a say and not be ground down by false consultation processes.

If Tony Blair can become a “Peace Envoy” after years of trying to create a Rambo-esque image as a strong PM then, who knows, perhaps a new era of political consensus is about to dawn.