Better Than Life

Augmented reality, social work hell, and why politics is still a numbers game.

So today I read this article. It suggests that we are in a computer simulation.

I’m a social worker, spending somewhere around 5-6 hours of my working day on a computer, swallowed in a world of reports, kpi’s, and totally extraneous fucking emails that heavily imply the sender wants direction from you with passive aggressive hints while c.c.ing you so confusingly suggesting the email is for information only…also, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Safari, Guardian app. I am already in an augmented reality.
Maybe I should change my name to Mr Anderson. 

Speaking of augmented reality, I am keeping half an eye on the EU referendum count in the UK. The first few results are trickling in. They are showing Leave doing far better than expected. There had been some Remain optimism in the final days and from the news updates on the evening itself. Leave supporters were conceding. I have to say, I trust the results more at this point, but it’s still early days as I write.

There’s been a clear move by right wing campaigners over the past few years to underplay their hand, despite being secretly confident of winning. This is because it makes their result look even better. I remember during the Crewe by-election in 2008 the Tories were claiming it would be a big shock if they were to win. As a Labour activist on the ground I saw how much trouble the party was in. It had previously been held by a Labour MP who had been popular (the late Gwyneth Dunwoody). It became clear to me that it was a safe Dunwoody seat, not a strong Labour one. Demographics worked against the party and it was deeply unpopular at that time. Any objective analysis would quickly conclude the Tories would sweep the result. Of course, the shock win version was allowed to flourish. 

There’s an underlying pattern here though about confidence in politics. I think politicians are losing their mettle, certainly compared to their forebears. It’s a product of the risk orientated neoliberalism from the 1980’s, and the erosion of expert opinion. In sociology this is referred to as postmodernism – (western) society becoming increasingly eclectic. Since opinion is more fluid, politicians adapt that way too. They swing more by the desires of what people want than by setting a leadership stand. Therefore their self confidence wanes.

Would like to write more on this, but Fremantle beckons as my bus ride draws near to my stop.

Enjoy your augmented reality, or just take a walk for a dose of realism. Either way, take care for now.

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