The politics of idleness

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“Didn’t expect see you here.”  A friendly and reasonable enough challenge.  A talk by the French department of the University of Nottingham at the Five Leaves bookshop.  And wasn’t I out of my depth.  Philosophy.  French philosophy.  “Double circular temporality”.  Yay.
You go to events like these hoping for a fresh insight.  It came to life for me when one of the speakers said targets were wrong.  Memories of Clare Short saying how we got sloppy with public services in the seventies, and so much of what we have done since to make public services effective, including holding professionals to account.  There is a value to management.  There is a value to bureaucracy.  And yes, whistle-blowing is a difficult process for bringing misdirection or abuse at work to account.
But just as there are 7 questions for a journalist, and 7 questions for effective corporate governance, maybe we are missing a set of questions that help staff stop their desire to fulfil a vocation, or just get by, from being exploited.
A member of the audience got it – and raised a hypothetical situation which I’d only happened to hear about on the doorstep a week previous – to get some focus on what we should practically do.


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