Thoughts on a depressing General Election

It had become apparent to those of us involved in politics that what came to pass was coming so in many ways the result was no surprise.

Contributory factors?

Corbyn – Yes I know and understand that his devotees couldn’t and still can’t see any faults in him but those outside of that bubble always could. The 2017 GE should have been a wake up call as a credible opposition would have won that election. But the cracks were papered over on the back of Labour winning some seats back from the Tories when that was in fact an indication of failure not success. The following two years only emphasised to the electorate that he was not a good political leader so when the electorate delivered Labour’s worst GE result in generations it was really no surprise.

Swinson – Too keen to focus on Brexit rather than wider political issues, too inexperienced as a political leader, not able to engage with ordinary voters who stopped listening to her.

Johnson – Reasonably well managed by a ruthless Tory high command who kept him almost on their message most of the time. And where they felt he would perform badly they kept him securely locked away, such as at the Ch4 climate change debate. Untrustworthy, someone who follows the political wind, terrible when questioned under pressure and a significant tendency to say things not borne out by the facts. At face value not a political leader whom the electorate would normally get behind, but they did. Why? Because the other options were worse in their eyes.

Brexit – Of course it has poisoned our political debate with all the lies, misrepresentations and bizarre made up stories. However, it has been brewing for at least 2 generations via quite ridiculous press stories which senior politicians have not had the courage to address. They knew the stories were lies and at best misrepresentations but it was always handy for the EU to get the blame for the UK’s political and financial ills. What they allowed to fester came to bite us all hard on the backside.

Apart from a very few I suspect that the vast majority of voters:-

* voted the way they always have but with little if any enthusiasm
* voted for their least worst option
* did not vote tactically because it’s an alien concept in our first past the post electoral system

Where did it all start to go wrong? I guess we can all point to significant political events but for me it started when Labour elected the wrong Miliband as their leader, as they became step by step more unelectable.

Where are we going? Very difficult to say. Fundamentally it probably depends how much power the Tory ERG has within their new Parliamentary Party. The more power they have the bigger the risks to the UK. Johnson will hate being unpopular and he will want to stay as PM as long as he can, remember from his perspective it is all about him. Will he address the desperate situation of our NHS and our connected social care system or will he let them continue to decline so his ERG-types can have the US style health system which only works for the wealthy? The answer to this question will probably define his premiership.

Has Johnson got Brexit done? No of course not, only a fool would think that. It will be 10 to 15 or even more years before Brexit is actually done or that we realise that we have all been done.

Gina Miller has stood up for our democracy when others have failed to do so

The Independent has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-general-election-brexit-courts-legal-gina-miller-a9218256.html

This woman is fearless and her determination to uphold the rule of law in the UK has been without precedent, but the fact that she has had to do this shows how weak our democracy has become.

My thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

ITV dives straight into a huge General Election Brexit and even misogynistic hole

Well would you believe it? Sadly we probably would. ITV has announced that it will screen the first leaders TV debate on 19th November but that it will only include 2 men in grey suits!

Well done ITV, 3 of the main party leaders (Lib Dems, SNP PC) are women yet both the leaders picked for your 1st debate are male Brexiteers! No Remain Leader and no woman in your debate means it has no balance what so ever. Hang your heads in shame ITV.

But we can do something about this appalling decision by ITV which inadvertently or otherwise reinforces the two old party system. Here’s one petition already doing the rounds you can sign:-

www.change.org/p/bbc-demand-jo-swinson-is-included-in-tv-debates-in-the-run-up-to-the-general-election?recruiter=false&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial&recruited_by_id=caa9fc20-fcc7-11e9-9425-cd57e2141ad6&share_bandit_exp=initial-18730819-en-GB&share_bandit_var=v2

I appreciate that the above petition is all about Jo Swinson being kept out of the 1st debate but she is the only Remain leader of a national political party. For goodness sake this election is supposed to be about resolving Brexit so why on earth have 2 grey suited male Brexiteers debating why their version of Brexit is better than the other one when the real choice is between Leave and Remain and 50 percent of the electorate is female.

Political Cultism – Is it akin to religious cultism?

Jeremy Corbyn is often referred to as having a cult following and the same is said of Nigel Farage of course. Brexit itself seems to be cultish too but our view of cults is often more likely to be connected with religious extremism rather than politics. So the question is do political cults have a commonality with religious cults?

According to Wikipedia in sociological terminology, sects are products of religious schism and therefore maintain a continuity with traditional beliefs and practices, while cults arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices.

Well Brexit certainly fits the ‘novel beliefs and practices’ definition as it is based very much on belief rather than facts/reality and it’s proponents (Brexiteers) can be fanatical in their following of it despite strong evidence challenging their often seemingly emotional based stance.

But what of Corbynism? Is it akin to say Thatcherism or Reganism in that its followers see themselves as the true believers whilst they look upon the scepticism of others who do not subscribe to their beliefs as being, in religious terms, heathens? Certainly, in my experience Labour Party members and supporters who see themselves as Corbynistas will often refer to anyone else, even fellow Labour members who are not in the Corbyn sect, as ‘Tories’, the political alternative terminology to the religious heathen I guess. Subscribers to the political sect known as Blairism are particularly hated by Corbynistas yet both Blairism and Corbynism have both been the majority view within the Labour Party in the past 20 years. I’ve heard it said that some Corbynistas hate Blarites more than their traditional ‘enemy’ Thatcherites!

Interestingly though, Johnson, whilst probably being more of a Brexiteer than any members of the Brexit Party, does not seem to have a cultish following. Indeed, he seems to be widely unpopular other than with extreme right wingers. Is that because he switched from being an EU supporter and because he is seen to be a politician who follows the crowd. In other words not a true believer in Brexit?

What makes some of us look upon Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters as being akin to cultists is that they will back their leader no matter what. No criticism of him is acceptable in any form from any quarter and they ‘know’ that anyone who does question Jez is a ‘Tory’.

As a Liberal who likes to hold a healthy scepticism of all political leaders, often particularly Liberal ones, this defence of ‘The leader’ come what may is hard for me to get my head around. I think I smelled something worryingly like cultism with the people who surrounded Nick Clegg during the Coalition Government days. They, like Jez Corbyn’s backers, were not for hearing the noise outside of their seemingly closed group and the consequences were dire for liberalism as it is now starting to prove for Labour too.

To conclude I think it is perfectly possible for political cultism to exist as an extreme form of the political sects which clearly exist within some political parties. The other interesting point to consider here is that those who look to be backing what seems to others as being a cult will probably deny that they’re cultists. Is that because they don’t see themselves as cultists? Is it only those outside of a cult who can see cultism for what it is?

And finally when does a sect, political religious or otherwise, become a cult?

What was Johnson up to when he made his ‘Burka’ remarks?

My first thought is to say it’s no one’s business what I wear and I have no right to push what I believe are the ‘correct’ things to wear on anyone else. But of course I worry that some, maybe many, women who wear the Burka in its various forms are doing so because of male oppression rather than personal choice.

But what worries me even more is the casual identification of Muslims as though it’s OK to make out that they are all potential criminals and terrorists. That line is utterly appalling and its one that Johnson was clearly peddling. Remember he compared Burka wearers with bank robbers and in my view he was deliberately calling out to the kind of people who would want to hear that appalling message.

I agree that religion should be up for having jokes told about it in a free society and maybe some who know me would counter by saying that I would say that as an atheist. But seriously we should be able to take satirical knocks, just look at Dave Allen and Father Ted as examples of the Roman Catholic religion being ridiculed unmercifully.

Our problem is that we have some very unprincipled politicians and a section of the press who delight in feeding prejudices. The fact that they are creating situations where Muslims and others who look or speak differently to the white British ‘norm’ are being attacked in the streets more regularly due to this propaganda is why we are becoming less tolerant, less inclusive and more hateful as a society. There’s nothing at all be proud of, by sailing in that direction one day it will be the minority that you are a part of which will be singled out!

Brexit – Boris talks more nonsense and Labour, who back Brexit, attack him!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42698981

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

That Boris is off on one again is no surprise to anyone but what on earth are the Brexit backing Labour Party up to? They are either with Boris or against him; can’t they make up their minds?

On votes in Parliament Labour nearly always back our Bluekip/DUP Government over Brexit yet they then attack the very same Brexiters they vote with over the appalling consequences of us leaving the EU. What a mixed up and muddled world the Labour leadership must live in.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting