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I’ve mocked David Brooks before, but the whimsical one’s not wrong today. Using Elena Kagan as a launching-pad, he muses on those who are “smart, impressive and honest — and in [their] willingness to suppress so much of [their] mind[s] for the sake of [their] career[s], kind of disturbing“…

About a decade ago, one began to notice a profusion of Organization Kids at elite college campuses. These were bright students who had been formed by the meritocratic system placed in front of them. They had great grades, perfect teacher recommendations, broad extracurricular interests, admirable self-confidence and winning personalities.

If they had any flaw, it was that they often had a professional and strategic attitude toward life. They were not intellectual risk-takers. They regarded professors as bosses to be pleased rather than authorities to be challenged. As one admissions director told me at the time, they were prudential rather than poetic.

With that rolling on the tip of your mind, savour this from Labour’s own Jessica Asato…

If Labour is going to win back the key seats needed to form a government next time, it needs to identify the best campaigns across the country and replicate their winning elements. This means selecting personable candidates who are willing to work 24/7, appointing diligent consituency organisers and identifying local issues which galvanise the electorate to identify Labour as a party which cares about their day-to-day needs, not the demands of lobby journalists.

One can imagine the future candidates. “I’m personable, and care about the local day-to-day needs.” “Which needs?” “Er – all generally divisional concerns.” Good local MPs, I’ll baldly assert, have passions rooted in communities and the accompanying “issues“. Not only does solidarity endear them to their constituents, empathy endears their constituents to them. Their attachment renders them immune to ovine party hackery. All this strategising, though – premised on the tribal image; integrity built from bullet points – will churn out drones. Sure, they may disdain the journo’s clamour; might work through the night and day; could pin down the electorate’s needs to the hour, but only if it’s written in their job descriptions.

The cream-brick suburbs of my home plays host to an exciteable contingent of anarchists. Their Class War stickers light up lampposts, and half-torn No Borders leaflets wave with grim futility. A rather more pugnacious group, however, has indulged in a spot of neighbourhood redecoration. On a wall by the side of a public footpath a message is scrawled in big, black letters. “ANTIFA PATROL AREA,” it roars, “YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED“.

The area, I’m pleased to say, is not a fascist bastion. Sweaty Colonel Blimps wither each election night, and the skinheads rub decidely unswastika-d skulls with miracle hair-grow creams. The message, then, will only serve to frighten poor, bewildered souls who won’t know ANTIFA from ADAM. It just looks threatening.

Now, I’ve no idea who daubed the warning; might have been a group or just a lone, eyebrow-twitching tough. Still, they’ve provided a handy reminder that direct action has to be rational: you’ve got to know, in other words, what action’s needed and where to direct it. Ensuring that people feel unsafe within their own communities ain’t the best way of turn’ ‘em off the BNP.

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