Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Denial, Anger, Negotiation, etc.

Hundreds of public sector workers are apparently getting the ax in Chile today, ostensibly because they are not necessary (implying that the Concertación had a bloated and inefficient public service.......a line which has been used by Piñera since the 2009 campaign).

It will be interesting to see how the public service workers react, how the unions react, and how the Concertación reacts. I do not expect much.

Part of the reason can be found in my latest column, published today in El Mostrador. The Concertación is in no condition to combat the cutbacks, perhaps because it secretly understands many are justified, but probably because it is just in a different place -- according to my piece, in one of the five stages of grief.

I leave it up to others to decide which one, exactly.

Monday, 29 November 2010


As my column in El Dínamo suggests, I really don't see what all the fuss is about. While the revelations are kind of fun and salacious, and certainly embarrassing for the State Department, I have seen very little so far that is truly surprising.

I have the feeling that journalists around the world are just patting themselves on the back, and this entire story is more about the fact that the State Department has a security problem than about the foreign policy of the United States, Iran's nuclear capability, Hillary Clinton's opinion of Mrs K, or Putin's machismo.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

No Logo

Chile is all atwitter, or at least Twitter is all atwitter, about the announcement this afternoon of the Government of Chile's new logo.

In keeping with the new corporate culture, here is a promotional video:

Apparently this piece of graphic art cost the Chilean taxpayer -- the same Chilean taxpayer whose taxes were raised earlier this year because we all had to tighten our belts in the wake of one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history -- some $20.000.

I am clearly in the wrong line of work.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

E-media in Chil-E

Even while it was in power, the Concertación knew that the media, and especially the print media, was ideologically opposed to it. Its strategy, which was particularly successful during the Lagos government, was to woo the media, try to reach a kind of détente, instead of searching for ways of encouraging friendly capital to start up new products and sources.

The massification of e-media has made this task easier, and since the changeover of power in March, two new online sources have joined the already existing El Mostrador and the more investigative CIPER -- El Post, and today, El Dínamo, in which I have published this column.

For now, these online sources of news, information and opinion tend to be read and commented by the commenting classes. Most Chileans get their information from TV, radio, and glancing at the headlines in kiosks. Although newspapers are cheap in Chile, it is common to see groups of people in the morning huddling around news kiosks reading the front pages of various newspapers.

It remains to be seen, then, how the increasing, but so for electronic, diversity of news sources affects Chilean politics. We know that people tend to read things they want to read, both in terms of interests and ideology.

But at least it will be increasingly difficult for anyone to claim the information was not available.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Beatle hair

OK. So this (via flowingdata.com) is not exactly political science. But it's history, and pretty brilliant.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Holy Grail of politics

There are certain parallels between the recent Congressional elections in the United States and what is happening in Chile. In fact, since I wrote this piece last week (but published today), the UDI had a weekend retreat where the division between the (at least) two souls of the governing coalition were laid bare. Rodrigo Hinzpeter's suggestion that Piñera and his government are building a new, modern, less ideological right, was rejected by the UDI, who, it is to be supposed, don't wish to appear new, or modern, or less ideological.

As such, the search for the political centre remains, for now, an impossible dream, or as I put it in the piece, a Holy Grail.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Trying again

I'm back. Taking advantage of a rainy November Sunday in Santiago, to try to regain the blogular momentum. There is no excuse for my prolonged absence, besides this interesting piece on how blogs are slowly being eroded by Twitter and Facebook. It is certainly what I have found. Twitter is faster, easier, and more accessible. It allows one to upload links, as I do on the blog. Pictures too.

What it does not do is allow for much analysis, except in short, hopefully witty, clips. So, here's to trying again with the blog.

Which is sooooo 2008.