Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Silly Season

I notice that this is the one thousandth post on this blog. Something of a milestone, and not one I always expected to hit.

The content has varied- mostly comments on topics of the moment, and therefore easily dated. Sometimes whimsical, and therefore easily ignored, sometimes polemical, and therefore easily discounted. Some of my pieces are a lot better than others, but when I compare with the newspaper columnists, I do not feel unduly ashamed about the overall quality.

It is interesting identifying what people want to read: some pieces that I expect might strike a spark end up with a pretty low readership, while I have occasionally been surprised by a blog, that I had rather rattled off, gaining a much higher hit rate. It is not always possible to predict what will interest people. Of course the key to successful blog is regularly updating content, and given the intense nature of my work, that is not always possible.

As July slips into August the so-called silly season is upon us, although after the death wish visited upon the US credit rating by the so-called Tea Party, it is unclear how silly it will end up being. The volatility in the markets continues, and there are still horrible threats to the stability of the global financial system. The US has been held to ransom by the know-nothings; the Euro continues to need major restructuring; the Japanese wallow in a post-Tsunami crisis; Britain in a sea of Labour originated red ink, and even China faces increasing problems from gigantic mis-allocation of capital to white elephant projects. The threat of a repeat of 1931 remains very real, and it is surely going to be many years before the age of austerity passes.

Yet maybe there are positive signs: the trivial greed of the boom eroded the moral compass of society- and as more people made more money, they grew more casual about what that money represented. That has clearly changed. The greed of the baby boomers for pensions that they had not themselves saved for, and which will impoverish the post boomer generation, is now recognized. On the other hand, we see new trends: rates of obesity, for example are now beginning to fall, across the Western world- symptomatic of a significant change in people's approach to health. More people are expressing the view that there are things in life that demand personal responsibility. The role of the state as referee and provider is coming under challenge. The message that unlimited debt is a positive has already been exploded. The virtues of thrift are once again more fashionable, as conspicuous consumption becomes seen as crass or even simply vulgar. Of course these are just general trends, barely discernible amid the noise of new social and economic pressures.

Meanwhile, as the holiday season finally opens, we can take stock and consider. There are compensations for the pressures, and there is hope for the future, even if the present remains uncertain.

Even on the political front, I see hope for the tenets of Liberalism and the values of my political party- and the polls are showing a tentative recovery even here. So with all to play for, I wish the readers of this blog a happy summer, and while blogging may be sparse in the next couple of weeks, I look forward to returning to the fray, who knows, maybe even for the next 1000 pieces.


David Morris said...

1000 up !

Well done.

Here's to 2000......

Kind regards

Ian Stewart said...

and a "thank you" from me....for postings that are always worth reading, and many times have me nodding my head in agreement. Notwithstanding your clear time-constraints, please continue to give voice to your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 1000 posts - posts that are always interesting, informative and insightful, and I speak as a non-Liberal Democrat. Many thanks, and long may they continue whenever you have time!