Managing the earthquake
Posted by fcb on September 1, 2008
In our last editorial before the Santa Marija break, An Administration to suit the vision and not a vision to suit the Administration, referring to Joseph’s announced ‘earthquake’ we wrote:
“He never suggested it would be an easy task. We never expected a triumphal march. Restructuring an organisation (actually, we should speak of an institution) is a complex process. Institutions are complex clusters of diverse interests and alliances, rivalries and friendships, scores to settle and old debts to honour, noble ideas and miserable prejudices, habits and rituals, memories, lies and truths. You cannot hope to set out to ‘redo’ an institution (warning beforehand that you will cause nothing less than an ‘earthquake’) and not expect resistance. We expected resistance and we met resistance.”
Joseph has already indicated what sort of organisational changes and innovations he has in mind. The strategic aim is clear: a more effective organisation but not at the expense of popular participation, on the contrary the final expected outcome is a popular party that is open to a variety of progressive but moderate currents of thought that animate European civil societies today.
Note the antinomies: more effective (more centralised?) but more popular and open, progressive but moderate…yes, but that is typical of change and should not worry us unduly. But antinomies have to be managed. If the the Labour Party is not to resign itself to become the natural party of opposition (and then to extinction before the first quarter of this century, max.), it needs the change Joseph is dedicating his life to, but it also needs to survive the difficult surgery that this change implies. Let’s bear this in mind when our new Leader changes gears, brakes, pauses at the pit…the pace of change will require frequent maintenance, we certainly don’t want our car to fall apart in the process. Remember electorates don’t vote for divided parties. Joseph has the unenviable task of unleashing an earthquake whilst keeping the Party together. So, think twice before you lose patience. The guy’s got to manage an earthquake.