The PBA in the Media

6 01 2010

The PBA has been picking up some interesting publicity in recent weeks. It is slipping into media usage, but it is still very much in the jargon phase – a google search for ‘post-bureaucratic age’ only brings back 197,000 hits. This is not total obscurity, but it is hardly shorthand for ‘now’.

How is the PBA coming across in the media?

It certainly helps to have eloquent, highly intelligent commentators like Michael Gove (on Radio 4) and Matthew D’Ancona (in GQ) presenting it. However, there are still the usual threats of miring a profound social and informational shift in techno-utopian language: the ‘google-nation problem’.

Gove cited broadcasting as an area of life where power has been decentralised (or, more accurately, disintermediated). In the past, the BBC controllers decided programme scheduling; in the early days of television there was only one choice of programme to watch at 8am on a Thursday. Today, thanks to competition from the private sector and technological change, almost anyone can watch whatever they want, whenever they want.

Hilton’s Briefings

The Financial Times political blog published leaked briefings sent out to senior Tories by Steve Hilton, PBA-enthusiast and Cameron’s chief strategy advisor. This was supposed to be of great embarrassment to the Tories,  demonstrating how a split is emerging between the ‘post-bureaucratic’ members of Cameron’s inner circle, and the rest of the senior Tories.

However, Hilton’s briefings are up-beat, thoughtful, and interesting. It is a shame he did not publish them publicly. The criticism that he was telling MPs ‘how to think’ is entirely misleading; a director of strategy’s job is to provide a strategic framework and direction for the party. Hilton did exactly this.



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