Wot’s It All About Then?

An election like the last one makes you ask a lot of questions; such as, what is the point of democracy in a ‘first-past-the-post’ system? How are you supposed to do the right thing in what is basically a popularity contest? You can put together a manifesto which you believe is badly needed but if enough people don’t recognise that it’s the right thing, you won’t be able to do it. But if you change the manifesto to include what those people want, you’ve abandoned all your principles. Either way you don’t get to do what you want. A friend recently pointed out that, good as the Labour Party’s Green New Deal was, it slipped down the agenda in the final week or two, presumably because voters weren’t buying it. Yet if anything is desperately needed right now, it’s a Green New Deal: the Tories have the worst record and the most dismal plans on the environment of any party besides the Brexit Party: ‘carry on as normal and plant some trees’ about sums it up. Nothing must interfere with business, no matter that the disaster we’re heading for will interfere with a good deal more than making money.

Yes, it’s a terrible system, but apart from embracing some form of PR we have yet to devise one that’s any better, so all we have is that one tick in one box every five years. But it’s not nothing: as Tony Benn used to say, there are four questions we should ask of anyone seeking power, and the most important is, ‘how do I get rid of you?’ If we don’t have the capacity to get rid of people then a leader is as good as a dictator. So many dictators have come to power through democratic means and we absolutely shouldn’t think that it couldn’t happen here. Already Johnson is making noises about changing boundaries and rules (voter ID, for one) decriminalising non-payment of the TV licence thus preparing the way to open up the BBC to market forces, and making strikes on transport services illegal. I don’t want to make facile comparisons with Hitler but he, too, started off being democratically elected and making changes not too dissimilar to these. As for a community being demonised, Johnson is already famously Islamophobic and is now aligning Britain more closely with Israel as no doubt his pal Donald Trump would like him to do.

And I haven’t even started on the NHS and public services. Dark days lie ahead; we all need to be strong and look out for one another as best we can in order to defeat the bully-boy tactics of Johnson and his crew. Perhaps if I go around saying ‘Get Brexit Undone’ all the time something will change… after all, the opposite mantra worked for Johnson. It sickens me that all he had to do to win the election was lie, fail to turn up for important interviews, hide in a fridge and just keep repeating those three little words. The father of the terror victim begged us not to vote for him; Michael Heseltine and John Major begged us not to vote for him; hell, even Hugh Grant begged us not to vote for him. We don’t even know what his Brexit deal involves and I am utterly disgusted with us as a nation for electing him. Utterly disgusted. There are no more words.

Kirk out

3 thoughts on “Wot’s It All About Then?

  1. I’m in favour of decriminalising people who don’t/won’t pay the licence fee becaue I don’t watch BBC television and only occasionally listen to BBC radio.

    The BBC’s coverage of the election was abysmal. I”m still not sure whether they allowed themselves to be ‘played’ by Johnson or whether they were in bat for him? Laura Kuenssberg (whom I strongly suspect has received swollen goods from the leader at some point in the not too distant past) was certainly in bat for him….

    But I’m afraid this election was lost two years ago, when Labour failed to replace Corbyn – or, rather, when Corbyn failed to stand down, as he should have done, after failing to win the 2017 general election.

    I think your support of Corbyn was fundamentally misguided; but then I think Corbyn’s standing for the leadership of his party was fundamentally misguided. I’m sure he is a decent man, but he is an ACTIVIST and not a politician. There will always be a crucial difference between the two.

    And Labour’s manifesto didn’t convince – frankly, it looked like it had been written by A level Economics students who were heading for a grade D.

    That said, at least Labour had a manifesto. The Tories, very deliberately, didn’t. Which was a shrewd, if sinister, move.

    Jo Swinson has to be the most disastrous party leader of my lifetime. What a vast ego that woman had! Sadly, not coupled with any degree of competence or political acumen.

    I fear that Labour will now feel it ‘has’ to have a woman as its next leader. This woud be a very, very bad idea as the current crop of frontline Labour women (Phillips, Rayner, Long Bailey) are mere outrage merchants and the public will not take to them. The exception to that rule is Lisa Nandy, but she’s an appeaser, so no can do. Starmer is the only game in town.

    1. While the licence fee is in place, it enables the BBC to be relatively free of commercial influence, although apparently not of government influence if my perception is accurate. We don’t watch the BBC television much although I’m an avid radio listener. But the BBC influences the opinions of the general public and therefore the electorate. The media we choose to consume as individuals is not the point. I agree with you about their coverage of the election, and I think it partly comes down to fear about charter renewal. The insistence that they cover the over-seventy-five licence fee is also an inspired piece of political manipulation, as it targets the demographic with the largest turnout and makes them even more likely to vote Conservative as well as leaching money out of the BBC without it looking like a cut in funding.

      It really should be about policies rather than personalities, but as I said elsewhere the problem is that the pool of Labour MPs who are altruistically motivated was drastically shrunk by its move to the right from the late ‘eighties onward. And it’s a very different world today than it was in the last century, but both Attlee and Wilson lost elections and went on to victory before achieving great things. We’ve also been conditioned to mistake good leadership qualities for sociopathy by Blair, May and the rest.
      The manifesto had a lot in it because so much damage has been done to this country since 1979.
      The one thing Labour absolutely must not do is adopt a more right wing position. Whereas it may indeed be unelectable otherwise, it would be a pointless victory not to stay as left wing as it currently is because it wouldn’t achieve what urgently needs to be done.
      Regarding women leaders, one of the things which put me off the Labour Party when I was younger was the machismo of the Unions and others – not that I’m against Unions in principle. Women are now more likely to vote Labour than men (it used to be the other way round). If it doesn’t win women voters over to have the right woman at the top it will be to do with internalised misogyny and that’s nowhere near as big a problem in this country than it used to be.

  2. We have already moved to a situation where you can ‘choose your own news’. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter faciilalte this. The much-derided idea of ‘alternative facts’ which caused such outrage in early 2017, is now a bona fire reality. You can, literally, choose what you believe has happened.

    I am sure there are some Momentum supporters who choose to believe that last week’s result represented ‘a victory for socialism’.

    As to women – and Labour women, in particular – my issue is not iwth the idea of a woman as leader, but that the current crop of viable Labour women do not contain an individual who could win an election. There is only one type of female leader that the British electorate will accept and that is the kind who feels it necessary to ‘apoloigsie’ for her femininity. Margaret Thatcher could do that; so can Nicola Sturgeon (who is the only current party leader I rate). The rest are, as I said, ‘outrage merchants’ – their idea of opposition would be to point a finger at what a horribly wicked man the PM and all the nasty things his government is doing. That was basically Kinnock’s approach in the 80s: it dind’t work then and it won’t work now.

    I think Labour’s only possible route back ot power is dependent on the Tories’ mucking things up as this did in 1993-7: but we’ll probably all be dead by the time that happens, if indeed it does happen.

    And fighting two general elections in a row with a leader who has already lost the first one has never been a good idea. Attlee won in 45 because there were exceptional circumstances. Wilson won in 74 because he was exceptionally clever (the only Labour leader who has been).

    On the Tory side, Heath wass allowed ot stay on in 66, because he’d only been in the job for less than a year. If he’d lost (as he was widely expected to) in 1970, that would have been it.

    Labout should have learned its lesson from the 80s/90s, when it filelded Kinnock against two very diffent Tory PMs, both of whom wasted him.

    Bottom line is; I don’t think Labour actually enjoys the business of being in govenment and itt will do everything it can to ensure that it isn’t.

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