Pushing the envelope, outside the square…

I don’t know what other boomers expected from this election but here’s what one, not a million miles from this keyboard hopes for:

Hope.  In the arid landscape of ideology over the past 30 odd years it was as precious as water – but there’s an oasis ahead and room for hope. Just look at what’s happened abroad, as Martin Jacques wrote in the Guardian recently:

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot… This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs:   ‘Populism is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don’t like. Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new…what will continue to drive opposition to the hyper-globalisers is inequality’.

Ideas. When there’s only one show in town – communism or neo-liberalism, then  differing, challenging ideas can perish. All that anger out there might just allow imagination  to flower as it pushes aside creeds in favour of pragmatism

Compassion –We never quite lost it but it was under threat in those lost years.  Greed was glamourised on film, in books,  and in the outpouring of adulation by media of the rich. But as writers like George Monbiot of the Guardian and neuroscience has shown, we’re hard wired for empathy.  We’re better than  just greed.


Do we need managers? Yes, to a degree. Did we ever  dream they would proliferate in every sector of  of our lives, often  directing our futures? Never.   But they have,  so  hopefully,  bye bye  legions of  managers.   Ditto management speak like: bottom line, going forward, pushing the envelope, outside the square, benchmarking, commitment, flexibility, around (usurper of about), provider, accountable, transparent, best practice, in terms of, learning curve, margins, buzz, tactical, and last but not least, strategic.  Like managers the words  multiplied – and muddied. He  – because it was generally a he – controlled language, also  controlled our destinies. Each utterance  stifled  not just English, but  creative thought in general. I’m sure managers will agree that change will provide a long term strategic  advantage…


And yet….with all these hopes comes a concern – that Labour in particular and the coalition in general will not cave to pressure from the right but stay their agreed course.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.