Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Why the call for ...

...  investment in infrastructure and wealth transfer during difficult economic times, when there are real solutions for very real problems available with the aid of good analysis.

Could it be because the alternatives are just a little too problematic to politics of all flavours, politicians would be required to do things that would be under the counter transactions, transactions that go by unnoticed by the general population;  an alternative to the spend, spend, spend regimes advocated by the Left, and the Left leaning politicians and economists unable to quantify the value of a pleasant place to do business.

It  requires a deal more thought, than the regurgitated "Political philosophy" so many politicians study  maybe a more fundamental philosophy, possibly on the lines of "Zen and the art of Governance".  Some might remember Robert Pirsig and his book "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance", a 1970's philosophical examination of what I would term "Quality", I don't think the term I use is particularly important, it is his realisation that the world was developing into a multi faceted science that could offer a multitude of explanations   when in fact there exists a single hypothesis... 
Pirsig was greatly troubled by the theory that there is always more than one workable hypothesis to explain a given phenomenon, and that the number of hypotheses appeared unlimited. He could not find any way around this, and to him it seemed that the whole scientific endeavour was essentially problematic.  (from a Guardian report)
I remember quite early in the book (Zen .... ) where Pirsig related the tale of the "motorbike that kept cutting out", after repeated visits the a workshop without a successful remedy, the motorbike was taken home where he stripped down the engine to discover the cause of the problem, a simple few pence pin in the oil delivery system.  The moral of the tale is, I think, to determine the actual problem before attempting a fix; how often are political remedies created for problems that exist only in the minds of politicians.

So how does "Zen" and "Governance" sit with "Political Wales" circa 2011/12/13/14/15 ?

Firstly, the opposition in Wales is desperate to create problems to fix, there are the Nationalists that are asking for Policing and Broadcasting to be devolved to Wales, the Liberal Democrats have suggested that children aged 16 are competent to become members of the electorate, and the Conservative leader is advocating a return to the slaughter of animals as recreational sport.  The common thread is each of the political groups are seeking advantage, Nationalist see further divergence from the UK, Liberal Democrats see the promised land ahead with teenager support, and Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies seems to be favouring political self destruction, the odd one out maybe.

So what about Carwyn Jones in government today, or soon to be back from holiday, we have today two calls, the "redistribution of wealth" and "Keynesian investment" in Wales, both could be the business of government, but should they be the business of our Assembly Government and how might Carwyn consider the issues.

John Dixon, former National Chair of Plaid Cymru, makes a call to redistribute the wealth within Wales, the essence of his paper is in a single paragraph where he writes ...
What Wales needs is an economic policy which doesn’t simply concentrate economic success in the most populous part of the country, but spreads it around.  From a private sector perspective, that would require a more interventionist approach than simply allowing and encouraging businesses to set up where they wish (as long as it’s in Wales), which has effectively been the approach of successive Welsh Governments since 1999.
... the only questions that Carwyn's government needs to answer is the starter for ten "why do businesses prefer to establish themselves in the South East of Wales", and the bonus question "can these conditions be replicated throughout Wales". 
 Adam Higgitt asks a supplementary question in his last paragraph where he replies to John Dixon, "can the government create a policy that the whole population is able to support", an essential question with our "me culture".  
For the answers to the three questions Carwyn needs to find a few honest men and women, and the certainty that doing what is good for Wales outweighs what is good for his politics, personally I think someone like Carwyn Jones could make political mileage from doing the "right thing for Wales" so shouldn't be shy in coming forward with the good news.

The second call on Carwyn is for "Keynesian investment", I hope there is someone in government who will remind him that without a link to the first question such government activity is indulgence when such indulgence is not affordable, indulgence by government should probably never be affordable.  Going back to John Dixon, it's not intervention to coerce business into preferred areas, it is providing a level playing field, the rest is up the business ... and of course geography.

Going back to "So how does "Zen" and "Governance" sit with "Political Wales" circa 2011/12/13/14/15 ?"  There is plenty of time Carwyn, get it right and you will be forgiven a multitude of sins, and looking at the time line, there's plenty of time thanks to Westminster.


  1. Good advice, you can't buy it and some of the advisers over at Waleshome..
    Zen and Governance with political Wales? Not alot because Pirsig is a great advocate of doing things oneself, repairing ones bike and really not going with the flow.
    The parties, the Nationalists want police and media devolved; that will eat away at the resources for communities.Wander what Duncan bitch thinks?
    Tory members picked wrong guy with RTD, waiting for his big moment to advocate fox hunting which he and his cronies want but the general population do not, The Lib Dems at voting at 16..quite good , many 16 year olds are more politically aware than those in middle age.
    I think Pirsig got much of his ideas from Ralph Waldo Emerson (I've read it twice) what do you think?

  2. Hi rhetoric, Ralph Waldo Emerson as en advocate for the individual, I wonder if Pirsig was influenced by his writing, I'm not sure where Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality meets with individualism, I'm thinking .....

  3. I've just come across your blog and thought i would make a comment.
    I cannot see any relationship between Pirsig and Ralph Waldo Emerson an anon said. While they both had religious views, Emerson his transcendentalism and Pirsig his US brand of buddhism .

  4. Please help me for Christ sake

  5. There is no relationship between the the works of Emerson and Pirsig; I refreshed my memories of “Metaphysics of Quality” and could find nothing of Emerson.

    I did find a great deal that politics might use.