I spend most of my working life thinking about post-2015 so this is a slightly nerve-racking experience. What if Duncan convinces me? Let me first respond to his arguments, then set out what I think is to be gained from the post-2015 circus… and then we’ll see if I’m still working on post-2015 at the end of it.
I’ll start with the magical thinking. Yes a lot of what’s being said in the name of post-2015 is a bit ‘if everything was nice everything would be nice’. But think of it this way: people everywhere, not just wonks like us – are getting involved in serious debates at national, regional and global level, about poverty, about politics, about economics and about the environment. We don’t know where it will lead yet. Some of it will lead nowhere. But don’t write off all that energy and commitment because it’s a bit unfocused, rather celebrate the fact that so many people want to get involved in political debate and action (even be, um, active citizens….).
In any case, that is about the campaign and the public debate, not the goals, and the two shouldn’t be confused. If the outcome is important, being annoyed at the tone and strategy adopted by campaigners has to be a reason to get in there and change that, not to walk away.