If Marx missed the mark with the Proletariat achieving a deep political consciousness, he was prescient about how history happens: First as a tragedy, then as a farce!
So, the recent history of Britain, recent as in the space of an week, is this spectacle in fast forward. Since an overall, though slender, majority voted to force the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the political news has become sexy again. It would have been comical if the consequences were not so far reaching: Declaration of UK's independence (as John Oliver rightly puts it - the United Kingdom was an independent country before last week, and in fact lots of countries celebrate their independence from IT!), sudden volte face about taking the real legal step to start the process of leaving EU on both sides of the divide, the abnadoned promises as soon as the vote count is over and all the accompanying political fatricide, we have now seen it all.
But, apart from all the fast-developing stories, some long- and medium- term trends are shaping up in the wake of Brexit. They are less than exciting, and therefore, out of spotlight. But they are going to change our lives more profoundly than who really becomes the next Prime Minister.
So, here, which I hope is the last time I write about this subject, are top three currents set in motion since last week.
'De-Globalisation' Is A Word!
Today morning, I heard Nandan Nilkeni, an Indian billionaire who made his billions from globalisation, use the word. When I caught up with him to ask if he believed Brexit had set this in motion, he said he had been using the expression for a while. He believed it was real, and arose out of the recessions of 2008. However, after Brexit, this is a generally accepted idea, if I go by the reaction of those present in the session.
Xenophobia Is Cool Again
The morning after Brexit, various pundits appeared on rado and TV to appeal to calm and express anger at the elite who looked down upon Leave voters, because 'there was a real concern about immigration'. Obviously, this reasoning was heard, reported hate crimes went up by 54% and the 'genuine' concern about immigration, which was really a Tory Front Bench thing, became the main political conversation.
Seen this way, Brexit is a democratic mandate for the dislike of the others. Be it the Poles who came to this country after the de-industrialisation that followed the collapse of the East European bloc, the Indians who came to work in NHS or Technology firms, or the Afghans, the Syrians and the Libyans who came after the humanitarian bombing of their homeland by the British and the Americans, it is okay to claim the privilege of being protected from the nasty world outside, while still maintaining our ability to lecture other people how to run their affairs and ocassionally intervening to change if they had a 'wrong' democratic mandate - the cool xenophobia is here!
Political Parties Are Being 'Deconstructed'
The French philosophers may have tried to explain deconstruction, but we now see it an action: A root-and-branch change of how political parties behaved. The Tory government, after the biggest political own-goal in the modern history, has busied themselves disowning it. The Prime Minister quietly swallowed his pride and abnegated his promise of an Article 50 Friday, passing on the poisoned chalice to an as yet unnamed successor; the key Leave campaigners disowned all the statements they made before the vote; and now, as Michael Gove, a prominent Leave campaigner, puts his name forward to be the Prime Minister, he said he would be in no hurry and would invoke Article 50 'when it is the right time for Britain'. Well, we thought that was last week!
In the meantime, of course, the Labour MPs, wanting to be like the Tories, had a 'no confidence' motion in their leader! Labour leaders are elected by members and trade unions, and not the MPs, a moot point the current generation of leaders, self-absorbed and disconnected, want to totally ignore. The timing is perverse - the only reason to do it now is because they see an oppotunity in the generally unsettled mood in the country - as nothing really has changed with Corbyn's leadership.
We are entering a brave new world. No, the Sterling has not fallen off the cliff, and the Stock Market did not tank. The economic armaggedon seems to have been averted. If anything, it has become cheaper for the Government to borrow, and the interest rates are set to fall, and not rise as predicted. But, somehow, all this is not good news, but rather preparation for something more terrible. It is like being told - "congratulations! you are now on life support" - as all this means a downbeat economic outlook and worsening of the prospects. Schumpeter thought Keynes was cavalier about long term ("in the long run, we are all dead") because he did not have children. For us who care, a bleak economic prospect in a nasty country with opportunistic leaders, is not the future we voted for.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
There is no other city like Kolkata for me: It is Home. The only city where I don't have to find a reason to go to, or to love. It is one city hardwired into my identity, and despite being away for a decade, that refuses to go away. People stay away from their homeland for a variety of reasons. But, as I have come to feel, no one can be completely happy to be away. One may find fame or fortune, love and learning, in another land, but they always live an incomplete life. They bring home broken bits of their homeland into their awkward daily existence, a cushion somewhere, a broken conversation in mother tongue some other time, always rediscovering the land they left behind for that brief moment of wanting to be themselves. The cruelest punishment, therefore, for a man who lives abroad is when his love for his land is denied. It is indeed often denied, because the pursuit of work, knowledge or love seemed to have gotten priority over the attraction of the land. This is particularly
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
In our age, the only way to be politically correct is to be democratic. This is a post-70s affair - those days, still, some people had alternative ideologies in mind. Those alternate ideas are dead and gone, long discredited, and it seems that we have only one system which can make people happy, free and live longer. So, we have this huge export industry of democracy, and democracy's warriors, which the American security establishment has lately become. The democracy's businessmen, the bond traders, the media barons and the Hollywood types, are feted everywhere. The consensus is deafening and dumbing. It is indeed awkward to ask now - whether democracy is the right system for every society. It indeed should be. Collective wisdom is better than individual autocracy. In societies where democratic elections have been few and far between, the popular vote has demonstrated the extra-ordinary political savvy of the usually disinterested masses. Democracy has proved to be an excell
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.