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Archive for the ‘Retorik’ Category

VAL 2016 | Vill vi att det parlamentariska systemet skall urholkas? Det är den fråga som Boris Johnson vill att väljarna skall ställa sig inför folkomröstningen.

The Spectator 14 May 2016

Den populära f.d. borgmästaren i London har blivit den främsta talespersonen för Brexit, kampanjen för Storbritanniens utträde ur EU.

Han är dessutom tippad att bli nästa partiledare för Torypartiet om David Cameron inte lyckas få väljarna att rösta Ja till ett fortsatt medlemskap.

En myt som Johnson slår hål på är att EU skulle vara så bra för näringslivet och konkurrensen.

En märklighet i den politiska debatten i både Sverige och Storbritannien är att partier som i vanliga fall talar om hur viktigt det är med konkurrens på marknaden inte verkar tycka det är viktigt på den europeiska marknaden.

Hade man verkligen tyckt konkurrens var viktigt skulle man inte stillatigande acceptera all den byråkrati som hämmar just konkurrensen inom EU.

James Forsyth och Fraser Nelson på The Spectator intervjuade nyligen Johnson om folkomröstningskampanjen:

He has a book on Shakespeare to finish, a Brexit campaign to win, and, if the bookmakers are to be believed, a Tory leadership campaign to assemble. He’s currently red-hot favourite for the top job.

But Boris’s emergence as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign took many by surprise. To his critics, it was a cynical conversion and an unashamed attempt to woo Eurosceptic Tory members ahead of a leadership bid. In the thousands of articles he had written about Europe before this referendum, he had never advocated leaving. ‘It is unquestionably true that I’ve changed,’ Boris admits. ‘But so has the EU. And of the two of us, it’s the EU that has changed more than me.’

[…]

The Prime Minister, Boris says, took a ‘punt’ in calling the referendum without securing a substantial deal. ‘I think that was a mistake. I think the British public are looking at all this and thinking: “Take back £20 billion? Take back control of the borders? Run the country? Democracy? You know, it might be a good idea.”’

So what kind of relationship does Boris want with the EU after Brexit? He knows what he doesn’t want: ‘the so-called single market’, which he says is a problem rather than the solution. ‘People think the single market is a great wonderful European souk or bazaar in which you will find absolutely everything humanity could possibly desire: aubergines, derivatives, trucks, ballistic missiles…’ But, unfortunately, the single market is ‘a gigantic system’ that imposes ‘extremely detailed and onerous rules on a territory of 500 million’.

[…]

‘Dear Spectator reader: do you see Britain’s future as an open, global, free trading, dynamic economy based on confidence in tried and tested British institutions? Or do you believe that in order to survive we need to remain embedded in something that fundamentally takes away our powers? Something that, over the past 15 years or so, has been a powerful depressor of jobs and growth in our historic European home?’

[…]

He is confident that his two great historical heroes would be on his side in this struggle. Churchill would not have wanted ‘parliamentary sovereignty to have been so compromised. I think he believed in that above all else. He would have felt it had gone too far.’ And he contends that Pericles, the great Athenian statesman he so often cites, would also have been an Outer. Boris argues that ‘to stick up for democracy is entirely Periclean’ and that the referendum ultimately comes down to whether you believe in ‘rule by the many, not the few’.

If the referendum goes against Boris, he thinks that the next Conservative party manifesto should admit that EU immigration into Britain cannot be controlled: ‘They should be honest.’ He goes on: ‘One of the most corrosive things is that government won’t level with us about it.’

Still, he remains hopeful that he can help Vote Leave win this referendum. ‘We are asking the British people to be brave, to be confident in themselves and to believe in Britain,’ he says with his trademark enthusiasm. ‘We have a very good chance.’

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 14 maj 2016.

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HISTORIA | Dagens politiker låter sig gärna intervjuas av journalister. Intervjuer har blivit ett medvetet sätt för partierna att få ut sitt budskap till allmänheten.

Winston Churchill, 1941 by Yousuf Karsh

Winston Churchill, 1941 by Yousuf Karsh

Därför medietränas politiker hårt för att klara en intervju och undvika journalisternas fällor. Samtidigt ingår intervjuteknik i journalistutbildningen.

Så har det inte alltid varit.

Förr intervjuades inte politiker speciellt ofta. Och eftersom de möttes med större respekt än idag behövde de inte heller förbereda sig lika minutiöst som idag. Skjutjärnsjouranistik är ett förhållandevis nytt fenomen.

Men en fördel med den gamla stilen var att politikern ofta hade möjlighet att formulera sina tankar kring komplexa problem.

Men trots detta är det inte från intervjuer vi fått vår bild av politikern Winston Churchill. När vi tänker på politisk kommunikation i förhållande till Churchill handlar det oftare om hans tal och retoriska förmåga.

Dessutom är det mer bilden av talaren än själva innehållet vi känner igen. (Hur många vet t.ex. att han talade om ”blood, toil, tears and sweat” och inte ”blood, sweat and tears”?)

Även ikonen Churchill – t.ex. hans bulldogsliknande framtoning – är tydligare för eftervärlden än hans politiska åsikter. Än idag står han som den stora symbolen för motståndet mot Adolf Hitler under andra världskriget.

Det är därför inte direkt den nyanserade politikern vi minns. Men läser man Kingsley Martins intervju med Churchill i New Statesman, åtta månader innan världskrigets utbrott, är det just den bild som framträder.

Han är både principfast och klartänkt. Han är en övertygad demokrat och långt ifrån den reaktionära konservativa politiker nidbild som så många revisionister har velat framhålla efter hans död.

Han talar initierat om de demokratiska och fascistiska staternas väsen. Och han är väl medveten om att de demokratiska rättigheterna riskerar urholkas om Storbritannien överreagerar för att skydda samhället mot i kampen mot ett totalitärt hot.

När han svarar på intervjufrågorna handlar det inte om några utslätade politiska ”talking-points” eller klyschor.

Kingsley Martin The country has learnt to associate you with the view that we must all get together as quickly as possible to rearm in defence of democracy. In view of the strength and character of the totalitarian states, is it possible to combine the reality of democratic freedom with efficient military organisation?

Mr Winston Churchill The essential aspects of democracy are the freedom of the individual, within the framework of laws passed by Parliament, to order his life as he pleases, and the uniform enforcement of tribunals independent of the executive. The laws are based on Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Petition of Right and others. Without this foundation there can be no freedom or civilisation, anyone being at the mercy of officials and liable to be spied upon and betrayed even in his own home. As long as these rights are defended, the foundations of freedom are secure.

KM One point people are especially afraid of is that free criticism in Parliament and in the press may be sacrificed. The totalitarian states, it is said, are regimented, organised and unhampered, as the Prime Minister suggested the other day, by critics of the Government “who foul their own nest”.

WC Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.

KM Do you attribute the slowness in preparation of which you complain to any inherent defect in democratic institutions?

WC I am convinced that with adequate leadership, democracy can be a more efficient form of government than Fascism. In this country at any rate the people can readily be convinced that it is necessary to make sacrifices, and they will willingly undertake them if the situation is put clearly and fairly before them . . . It may be that greater efficiency in secret military preparations can be achieved in a country with autocratic institutions than by the democratic system. But this advantage is not necessarily great, and it is far outweighed by the strength of a democratic country in a long war. In an autocracy, when the pinch comes, the blame is thrown upon the leader and the system breaks up. In a democratic country the people feel that they are respon­sible, and if they believe in their cause will hold out much longer than the population of Dictator States . . .

[…]

KM People who are not necessarily pacifist are horrified at the idea that we may go into another war with the same kind of generals who were responsible for Passchendaele and other horrors in the last war. They say that they might be prepared to fight for democracy if they were democratically led; but that they are damned if they will be sacrificed again for the Camberley clique that was so horribly inefficient and wasteful in the last war. Do you think it is possible to democratise the army?

WC It is quite true, I know, that many people consider that the cadre of officers is selected from too narrow a class. I have always taken the view that merit should be rewarded by promotion in the army as in any other profession. I support this not only from the point of view of democratising the army, but mainly because I think it leads to efficiency such as no other system can achieve.

KM May I ask one more question of a more general character? Most of us feel that if there is a war it will be so destructive that the very substance of our civilisation, let alone our democracy, is likely to be destroyed. Clearly the great object is to prevent war. Is it possible in your view still to regard these military preparations, not as the acceptance of inevitable war, but merely as a necessary complement of a policy which may keep the peace?

WC I fear that failure to rearm Britain is bound to lead to war. Had we strengthened our defences earlier, the arms race need never have arisen. We should have come to a settlement with Germany while she was still disarmed. I think it is still possible, with a strong Britain and France, to preserve the peace of Europe.

KM Is it not true historically that an armaments race leads to war?

WC To say that an arms race always leads to war seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. A government resolved to attain ends detrimental to its neighbours, which does not shrink from the possibility of war, makes preparations for war, its neighbours take defensive action, and you say an arms race is beginning. But this is the symptom of the intention of one government to challenge or destroy its neighbours, not the cause of the conflict. The pace is set by the potential aggressor, and, failing collective action by the rest of the world to resist him, the alternatives are an arms race or surrender. War is very terrible, but stirs a proud people. There have been periods in our history when we have given way for a long time, but a new and formidable mood arises . . .

Läs mer: En intervju med Churchill i The New York Herald den 2 februari 1915 när han var First Lord of the Admirality.

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ATEN | Grekernas egen Donald Trump hette Kleon. Han var en populär folkledare (d.v.s. demagog) kring tiden för Perikles bortgång 429 f.Kr.

Författaren Peter Jones, som skriver krönikor där han  drar lärdomar från antikens Aten och Rom för den modern läsaren, har tittat på likheterna mellan dessa två demagoger.

Why does the Republican party loathe Donald Trump? Because Trump is the ultimate loose cannon, beholden to no one. And even worse, he is popular. What trumpery! Ancient Athenians would have loved him. Themistocles

With no known political or military experience behind him, Cleon surged into the gap left by the death of Pericles in 429 BC, when Athens was locked in a difficult war against Sparta. The son of a rich tanner — certainly not ‘one of us’ — he presented himself as the warmongering, go-get-’em alternative to the cautious Pericles. Full of extravagant promises (including state handouts), he increased the tribute from Athens’ imperial possessions and worked up a strong following by his heated speeches in the rough and tumble of the democratic Assembly. It was this ‘brutal and insolent’ speaker, said the historian Plutarch, who introduced shouting and abuse and excessive gesturing, encouraging other speakers to behave equally irresponsibly. A contemporary of Cleon’s, the historian Thucydides, called him ‘violent’ but ‘very persuasive’.

Och hur gick det för Kleon? Han blev en framgångsrik general. Vilket naturligtvis retade många atenare ännu mer.

Bild: Themistokles, politiker och general i det antika Grekland.

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RETORIK I A Journey skriver Tony Blair om hur han underminerade förtroendet för de konservativa partiledarna.

Tony Blair - A Journey

Det är ingen mening med att försöka ta ära och redlighet från en politisk motståndaren. Det är aldrig trovärdigt. Bättre att då vara lite mer subtil i sin politiska kommunikation.

Genom att plantera ett frö hos väljarna att motståndaren inte har det som krävs för jobbet som premiärminister kan man, enligt Blair, långsiktigt underminera förtroendet för motståndaren.

With each successive Tory leader, I would develop a line of attack, but I only did so after a lot of thought. Usually I did it based on close observation at PMQs. I never made it overly harsh. I always tried to make it telling. The aim was to get the non-politician nodding. I would wonder not what appealed to a Labour Party Conference in full throttle, but what would appeal to my old mates at the Bar, who wanted a reasonable case to be made; and who, if it were made, would rally.

So I defined Major as weak; Hague as better at jokes than judgment; Howard as an opportunist; Cameron as a flip-flop, not knowing where he wanted to go.  (The Tories did my work for me in undermining Iain Duncan Smith.) Expressed like that, these attacks seem flat, rather mundane almost, and not exactly inspiring—but that’s their appeal. Any one of those charges, if it comes to be believed, is actually fatal. Yes, it’s not like calling your opponent a liar, or a fraud, or a villain or a hypocrite, but the middle-ground floating voter kind of shrugs their shoulders at those claims. They don’t chime. They’re too over the top, too heavy, and they represent an insult, not an argument. Whereas the lesser charge, because it’s more accurate and precisely because it’s more low-key, can stick. And if it does, that’s that. Because in each case, it means they’re not a good leader. So game over.

Bild: Pocketupplagan av A Journey av Tony Blair (Arrow Books, 2011)

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TAL | När Almedalen nu är över för den här gången, och alla partiledare åkt hem, kan det vara läge att lyssna på en riktig talare.

För snart sjuttio år sedan, närmare bestämt den 5 mars 1946, höll Storbritanniens tidigare premiärminister Winston Churchill ett tal i Fulton, Missouri.

Talet anses vara det viktigaste Churchill höll under åren 1945-1951 som oppositionsledare.

I talet varnade han för att en järnridå sänkt sig över Europa: ”From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

Enligt Churchill gjorde detta att relationen mellan USA och Storbritannien – ”a special relationship” – blivit än mer betydelsefull p.g.a. av kommunismens och Sovjetunionens anstormning i Europa och världen.

Talet anses allmänt ha fått västvärldens ledare att inse att Sovjetunionen inte längre var den allierade man lärt känna under andra världskriget. I stället gick världen in i en ny tid av kallt krig med supermakten i öst.

Talet kallas allmänt för Churchills ”Iron Curtain Speech” men heter egentligen “The Sinews of Peace”.

It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone-Greece with its immortal glories-is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation. The Russian-dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy.

[…]

The safety of the world requires a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast. It is from the quarrels of the strong parent races in Europe that the world wars we have witnessed, or which occurred in former times, have sprung. Twice in our own lifetime we have seen the United States, against their wishes and their traditions, against arguments, the force of which it is impossible not to comprehend, drawn by irresistible forces, into these wars in time to secure the victory of the good cause, but only after frightful slaughter and devastation had occurred. Twice the United States has had to send several millions of its young men across the Atlantic to find the war; but now war can find any nation, wherever it may dwell between dusk and dawn. Surely we should work with conscious purpose for a grand pacification of Europe, within the structure of the United Nations and in accordance with its Charter. That I feel is an open cause of policy of very great importance.

Mer: I BBC:s arkiv kan man avlyssna talet i sin helhet. The Churchill Centre har en hemsida där man kan läsa hela texten.

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USA | Jonathan Chait har skrivit en av de mer intressanta artiklarna om rasismen i USA under Barack Obamas tid som president.

Front Cover New York April 7-20 2014

Demokraterna (läs: liberalerna) håller på att vinna kriget om synen på hur man får debattera minoritetsfrågor i USA. Men man har kanske inte gjort det med metoder som är speciellt liberala.

Det har, inte minst i media och bland politiska motståndare, blivit accepterat att utmåla republikanernas konservatism som en form av dold rasism.

I bästa fall har man ”bara” anklagat dem för att deras ideologi gör dem blinda för att deras politik drabbar minoriteter i högre grad än vita.

Vad som komplicerar frågan är att liberalerna har en poäng i sin kritik av republikanerna.

Men enligt Chait har samhällsdebatten i allt större utsträckning accepterat att man tillmäter republikaner rasistiska motiv även när det talas om helt andra saker än just rasism.

Chait skriver i New York:

If you set out to write a classic history of the Obama era, once you had described the historically significant fact of Obama’s election, race would almost disappear from the narrative. […] The policy landscape of the Obama era looks more like it did during the Progressive Era and the New Deal, when Americans fought bitterly over regulation and the scope of government. The racial-policy agenda of the Obama administration has been nearly nonexistent.

But if you instead set out to write a social history of the Obama years, one that captured the day-to-day experience of political life, you would find that race has saturated everything as perhaps never before. Hardly a day goes by without a volley and counter-volley of accusations of racial insensitivity and racial hypersensitivity. And even when the red and blue tribes are not waging their endless war of mutual victimization, the subject of race courses through everything else: debt, health care, unemployment.

[…]

Racial conservatism and conservatism used to be similar things; now they are the same thing. This is also true with racial liberalism and liberalism. The mental chasm lying between red and blue America is, at bottom, an irreconcilable difference over the definition of racial justice. You can find this dispute erupting everywhere. A recent poll found a nearly 40-point partisan gap on the question of whether 12 Years a Slave deserved Best Picture.

In 1981, Lee Atwater, a South Carolina native working for the Reagan administration, gave an interview to Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University. In it, Atwater described the process by which the conservative message evolved from explicitly racist appeals to implicitly racialized appeals to white economic self-interest:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a by-product of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites … ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger.’”

Atwater went on to run George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign against Michael Dukakis in 1988, where he flamboyantly vowed to make Willie Horton, a murderer furloughed by Dukakis who subsequently raped a woman, “his running mate.”

[…]

Yet here is the point where, for all its breadth and analytic power, the liberal racial analysis collapses onto itself. It may be true that, at the level of electoral campaign messaging, conservatism and white racial resentment are functionally identical. It would follow that any conservative argument is an appeal to white racism. That is, indeed, the all-but-explicit conclusion of the ubiquitous Atwater Rosetta-stone confession: Republican politics is fundamentally racist, and even its use of the most abstract economic appeal is a sinister, coded missive.

Impressive though the historical, sociological, and psychological evidence undergirding this analysis may be, it also happens to be completely insane. Whatever Lee Atwater said, or meant to say, advocating tax cuts is not in any meaningful sense racist.

One of the greatest triumphs of liberal politics over the past 50 years has been to completely stigmatize open racial discrimination in public life […] This achievement has run headlong into an increasing liberal tendency to define conservatism as a form of covert racial discrimination. If conservatism is inextricably entangled with racism, and racism must be extinguished, then the scope for legitimate opposition to Obama shrinks to an uncomfortably small space.

The racial debate of the Obama years emits some of the poisonous waft of the debates over communism during the ­McCarthy years. It defies rational resolution in part because it is about secret motives and concealed evil.

[…]

Few liberals acknowledge that the ability to label a person racist represents, in 21st-century America, real and frequently terrifying power. Conservatives feel that dread viscerally. Though the liberal analytic method begins with a sound grasp of the broad connection between conservatism and white racial resentment, it almost always devolves into an open-ended license to target opponents on the basis of their ideological profile. The power is rife with abuse.

[…]

It’s unlikely that Obama is deliberately plotting to associate his opponents with white supremacy in a kind of reverse-Atwater maneuver. But Obama almost surely believes his race helped trigger the maniacal ferocity of his opponents. (If not, he would be one of the few Obama voters who don’t.) And it’s not hard to imagine that Obama’s constant, public frustration with the irrationality pervading the Republican Party subconsciously expresses his suspicions.

Obama is attempting to navigate the fraught, everywhere-and-yet-nowhere racial obsession that surrounds him. It’s a weird moment, but also a temporary one. […] In the long run, generational changes grind inexorably away. The rising cohort of Americans holds far more liberal views than their parents and grandparents on race, and everything else (though of course what you think about “race” and what you think about “everything else” are now interchangeable). We are living through the angry pangs of a new nation not yet fully born.

Tidskriftsomslag: New York, 7-20 april 2014.

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VAL 2015 Christian Kock, professor i retorik i Köpenhamn, har tittat på de danska partiernas floskler. Går lika bra att applicera på svenska förhållanden.

Mer: Böcker av Christian Erik J. Kock.

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