Where is Douglas Alexander coming from?
As a politician in the public eye, he requires to be understood by his audience.
But who does he view as his audience, where does he see himself in relation to that audience and what is he trying to say?
I decided to look at some of his work in his published words.
I would encourage those interested to read the works, but here I’ve captured some highlights (highlights?) in an effort to
try and tease out in my own minds eye what Douglas Alexander is all about.
We’re proudly Scottish – but still British
Published Sunday 22 January 2012
In this piece Alexander references Meryl Streep’s performance in The Iron Lady
and the author William Mcllvanney.
I don’t understand why, but it appears that he name drops as a vehicle
to convey a message. Personally I’ve never seen the Iron Lady, so it’s lost on me and William’s a writer.
What Alexander is saying to me is obscure, perhaps his audience grasped the gist at the time.
Further on he makes this statement;
“It’s not just that our grandparents stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight against fascism,
but that they then built the NHS and the system of National Insurance that enshrined the principle
that sharing of risks by all of us provides rights for each of us.
Those were forward-looking, radical, reformist acts.”
However Alexander belongs to a Party that is embracing policies that actively seek to dismantle these institutions.
The irony is obviously lost on him.
He goes on to say that “Politics is about more than identity; it’s also about ideals.”
He doesn’t expand on his ideals by offering specific policies.
2 March 2012
Douglas AlexanderDouglas Alexander MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary,
speech to Scottish Labour Party Conference 2012
In this speech he references the International Brigades involvement in the Spanish Civil War when many people from Scotland.
travelled to Spain to fight Franco’s fascist forces. He pays tribute to those “who stood in solidarity against the tide of fascism.”
This from a man who’s beloved Labour Party is moving increasingly to the Right playing catch up with the Tories and UKIP.
He references Keir Hardie. He just references him and doesn’t actually convey a message that catches the imagination.
Alexander continues to talk about “embracing change that we can prove ourselves, once more, worthy of our Nation’s trust.”
Is a move to adopt Right Wing policies his idea of “embracing change”?
With a year to go, it’s time to go deeper…
Published September 20, 2013.
In this piece he makes reference to ‘Dreams of My Father’ by Barack Obama
and to the work of American theologian Jim Wallis then continues the theme by quoting
from theology ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’.
Putting myself, metaphorically speaking, into Alexander’s audience, I must confess that I have no understanding
of what he is attempting to say to me.
He goes on thus:
“As a Scottish Labour MP I welcome the response from both the
Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberal Democrats supporting
the idea of a National Convention that I set out back in March (reference to another vague comment from him where he suggests Labour,
in the event of a No vote, gets involved in any post-referendum talks with the SNP).
My question to Alexander is “Why wait?” and “What’s is stopping you from putting something concrete on the table now?”
Alexander then poses the question;
“Have we something new to give the world, a new way to do democracy,
rooted in real human experience, shaped by people’s stories, understood as being about more than power;
understood as being “all the messy contradictory details of our experience”?
Is he talking about reforming the way politics is done at Westminster? If so, then let’s have some details.
Is getting rid of the House of Lords on Alexander’s agenda. Is reforming Westminster being proposed?
What is the detail in Alexander’s mind?
It’s a bit vacuous to me.
I’m disappointed in Douglas Alexander. How does he see himself?
When you review his speeches and writings he appears to be someone who talks a good talk.
With those he references in his work I suspect that we get a window on how he sees
himself in the world. In Alexander’s world he’s a statesman on a par with Obama. He’s a wordsmith on a par with William Mcllvanney.
He’s obviously an educated person, but when it comes to projecting a message that is clear,
understood and contains detail, then I’m afraid he fails. He must be aware of this.
It’s so blindingly obvious that he is saying nothing very much at all.
Well, perhaps there is one topic on which he is clear and understood. He is against Scottish Independence.
Does this make him a bad person? Well, no, providing he comes forward with some clear policies on alternatives. Of course I’m making
the assumption that Alexander wants change. But does he? Does the status quo suit him?
I suspect that the status quo is the vehicle for him to reach his goal and achieve his ambition.
And who are his audience? I suspect he’s directing his words to a very closed inner circle and to himself. The close circle of career driven
politicians to whom Alexander is joined in a shared vision of attaining power for power’s sake.
Does this mean that he has let down Scotland? Of course it does because he’s trying to attain power at the expense of Scotland and doing it deliberately.