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Nomenklatura News

The Globe and Mail infallibly captures the movements of personnel inside the nomenklatura, this week recording  the change of leadership at the National Film Board from one left wing male French Canadian  to another female of the same nationality. Comrade Suzanne Guevremont has assumed control from Comrade Claude Joli-Coeur, the former commissioner (CEO) and chairperson.

The substance of the long article (most of page 6 below the fold) dwelt on the report that 72% of production between 2012 and 2021 was made by white film makers. This fact was obviously unacceptable to all concerned. While Comrade Joli-Coeur was congratulated on his achievement of gender parity goals (meaning 50-50 male/female ratios), indeed its overfulfilment of quota,  and aboriginal goals (15% of NFB production), no goals had yet been set for racialized Canadians. This fact will be addressed by the income Commissioner.

In its corporate plan for 2020 the NFB pledged to make racial diversity one of its top priorities.

Film makers working for the NFB are reported to be in vigorous debates about “priorities and procedures”.

All the news that suits the nomenklatura – that’s our Globe.

 

Suzanne Guevremont, the new NFB Commissioner and Chairperson

Brexit the movie

 

 

This is an altogether a fine movie, filled with political insight. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings, the architect of the victorious leave vote. The credits say that some portions of the movie are fictional, leaving one to infer that most of it is just how it happened. The portion I am sure is fictional is a scene near the end between Dominic Cummings and the head organizer of the Remain campaign, a Tory working for Prime Minister Campbell. They are in a pub after a long day’s work.  It is becoming clear to the Stay side that they are losing and they are surprised and outraged. They would stay that way for four more years. The Tory political professional running the Stay campaign accuses Cummings of undermining the rule of experts and of opening up political life in England to a set of forces that will be impossible to control.

Broadly speaking, the accusation is true. What kept politics manageable for the ruling classes was a consensus that experts in fact knew more than most people and that their rule was legitimate. This is under challenge in the English-speaking democracies.

Curtis Yarvin, of Mencius Moldbug fame, explains this as the rule of the Cathedral. It is a vitally important concept, and Brexit the movie touches upon it in the exchange between Dominic Cummings and the lead organizer for the Stay campaign.

“The mystery of the cathedral is that all the modern world’s legitimate and prestigious intellectual institutions, even though they have no central organizational connection, behave in many ways as if they were a single organizational structure.

Most notably, this pseudo-structure is synoptic: it has one clear doctrine or perspective. It always agrees with itself. Still more puzzlingly, its doctrine is not static; it evolves; this doctrine has a predictable direction of evolution, and the whole structure moves together.”

I am uncertain whether the term “the Cathedral” has to be conceived as Yarvin does. Yet it is stands as a useful metaphor for the collective inertia of received ideas that dominate political discourse these days.

Watch the Brexit movie. It will get you to the core of the issues. As the referendum approached, there was a telling scene during a focus group being held by the Remain side where some frizzy blonde-haired working class woman entirely loses it, and starts screaming that she is absolutely fed up with being told she is a racist for having a dim view of current rates of immigration, and that she has been fed up with this state of repression for the past twenty years. The meeting descends into chaos. At that point the chief organizer for the Remain side knows for sure that he is going to lose.

I wonder when that point will be reached in Canada.

 

 

Machinery of Government/broadcasting revolution/future of the Labour party

At the beginning of my career I worked in a section of the Privy Council Office called “machinery of government.” Its religion was “ministerial responsibility”, whereby the Minister was responsible to parliament for the actions of his or her department. In many cases the civil servants escape effective control because they move from job to job faster than their mistakes or errors can be discovered.

What you see below is an interview with a former British Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell. I wish we had MPs of this quality. In terms of perspicacity, range of thought, eloquence and experience, Carswell is head and shoulders better than almost every Canadian MP. He is one of the few people in parliament to have thought deeply about how government actually works.

He speaks of the Prime Minister sending “charter letters” to Ministers telling them of their mandates – we have this in Canada. But what he adds to this idea is vital. He says the letter should also mandate the civil servants who are expected to stay in the job to assist the Minister for as long as the Minister is in office, so that they cannot transfer out while they are supposed to be getting their job done.

  • The future of the Labour Party – at 27 minutes
  • Boris Johnson and the current government at 28 minutes
  • Problems with the mandarinate and the “quangocracy” at 30 minutes.
  • The broadcasting/digital media revolution at 44 minutes

How I wish we had people of his quality in Canadian politics!