Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Instead of a slogan

A proper, comprehensible, and informed discussion of the withdrawal agreement and the politics behind it.

A winter's tale

This isn't a normal election. The consequences are profound and long lasting. Despite this, all I can see around here is a combination of indifference and hostility. There are no posters in windows, no boards in front gardens, little chatter, and less excitement.

What about the leaders?

On Labour, Joe Pike of ITV News tweeted:
A normally loyal Labour MP on Corbyn and prospects for #GE19 :
‘We’re led by a lunatic. He’s a nice but dim man who is being controlled by truly evil people.’
Apparently, this isn't an isolated opinion. It appears to be one of the more restrained ones. I have often commented before how the Parliamentary Labour Party reminds me of places where I have worked when we had a disastrous manager - heads down, keep smiling, reassure everyone that all is well, try and keep it going despite everything. In the meantime, Corbyn's personal ratings are the lowest since polling began.

Can it be recovered? Perhaps it can if we turn to the Tories.

What can you say about Johnson? Chosen because he was seen as popular, charismatic, and a good campaigner, rather than capable of doing the job, he turns out to be none of those. He's been swanning round the country being insulted by all and sundry, drawing visceral hatred from people in the street, while showing himself to be confused, inarticulate, and plain wrong about many things. He's bluffing his way through and making up things. Scandals threaten and he responds by lying.

An election where 'Stop Corbyn' fights 'Stop Johnson' is not healthy. No wonder there is little enthusiasm.

Hanging over this is Brexit. This is why this election will shape Britain for a generation. And it's another reason for a lack of enthusiasm. Both the main parties are trying to avoid the issue. Johnson by wittering on about getting it done, Labour are hedging their bets. Instead of forensic analysis of the proposals and consequences of Brexit, we have dire sloganising. This is infantilising the electorate. They're not daft, they notice.

All the while, Brexiters fight amongst themselves over the true meaning of Brexit. As Chris Grey comments,
... the hard core Brexiters don’t want Brexit at all: they want to be perpetual victims, perpetual campaigners, perpetually betrayed. Winning the referendum was their nightmare, not their triumph.
The result is, as Grey points out again,
... if Brexit does go ahead it will be done against the wishes of the majority, who now want to remain, but, in any form it occurs, it will leave a substantial minority of those who do want it thinking it is a betrayal of Brexit anyway.
This is the winter of our discontent. It is the season of sullen resentment and a search for escapism. The country is better than this. The Conservative Party did this to us by dumping its existential crisis on the country in an act of craven irresponsibility. God help us if they are the ones who gain as a result.

Monday, November 11, 2019

And they're off

Once it became clear that Johnson could get a parliamentary majority for his withdrawal agreement, he managed to call an election so that he could get a majority for his withdrawal agreement. The parties have now set out their main election narratives.

Conservatives: We will make the worst mistake since the War. We will make it as badly as possible. You will have a terrible time. But at least it will be over - even if it won't be. Anyway, we're only doing it because you asked us to.

Labour: We are prepared to make the worst mistake since the War, but it won't be as bad as the Tory mistake. Having told you about it, we will ask you to decide - or at least a majority of those that can be arsed to vote. If you vote for the mistake, we will make it, but it will be all your fault. In the meantime let's talk about something else.

Liberal Democrats: Don't do it!

SNP: Don't do it! (But if you do, we're outta here.)

Plaid Cymru: Don't do it!

Green Party: Don't do it!

Independents: Don't do it!

Brexit Party: Declare war on Europe, anything less is a betrayal.

Me: Help!!!