Just been for a sunset stroll down by the Canal and found some new toilet doors for my collection.
And thought about elections and, as regular readers will know well, my disillusionment with our present attempts at ‘democracy’ (a concept with which I had few previous illusions to dis-, to be fair).
There are so many attempts to ‘game’ the process now, one probably sees them where there aren’t any, and recognises them where the players don’t even think of themselves as gamers.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, preferring the ‘cock-up’ interpretation of history, but it seemed odd that so few people in the twitterverse brought attention to the coincidence of the last two elections having amazingly similar terrorist atrocities in the preceding weeks; men in fake bomb vests wielding knives on London bridges. When I mentioned this I was told to furl up my false flag, but I never said they were such things. Though I certainly wouldn’t put it past a psychopath like D Cummings to engineer such an event, I hardly think it has to be done by actors (especially as all such participants must realise they’d be conveniently — albeit necessarily — shot dead before they could make any embarrassing statements). And as was pointed out, we have votes (and terrorist attacks) so often now, that these coincidences are rather likely.
It is of course, always to the advantage of a rightist, ‘loranorder’ party (especially one keen for excuses to introduce draconian public order controls), to have nastiness go down, and agents provocateurs should have little difficulty in encouraging the more susceptible, ‘Four Lions‘ type of fanatics to go for some such action. Even though liberals were able to blame Tory austerity measures that reduced police intelligence and presence, the usual propaganda has been played straight to the fearful public, that the other lot are terrorist sympathizers (bullshit though that is) and the last thing a beleaguered Little England needs right now is understanding and reason.
But terrorism needn’t even be artificially encouraged. Tories aren’t the only people who want oppression.
Even us pacifist anarchists are well read in all manner of terrorist theory, and we know that those wishing to pursue a revolutionary agenda are often as keen on inculcating a draconian state as the reactionaries themselves. It’s a stepping stone to a disgruntled populace (or sector thereof, in the case of something like Islamism), leading to disaffection and increased recruitment. It has always struck me as unamusingly ironic that both subversives and fascists share similar aims, diametrically different though their long-term expectations may be.
But unthinkable nasties aside, it does strike me that the election tactics (and strategies) are at their worst among those I would term the ‘goodies’. As Yeats might have said, the best lack all idea, while the worst / Are full of devious inspiration.
As if to underline my repeated moans that democrats have given up on the idea of persuasion on fundamental issues, the emphasis on persuading the already persuaded just to vote for them affects all parties. I get pamphlets through my door (though no one, unlike our Glenda [Jackson] in my Hampstead days, can be arsed to canvas me in person), telling me that the Tory or Labour candidate is ‘the only one’ who can prevent the (unnamed) SNP candidate (Joanna Cherry, whom I rather admire) from retaining the seat and bringing about a breakup of the union, while staying part of perfidious Europa. And of course I am also told that only a vote for said Cherry can keep the Tories out and prevent Brexit (with a side-order of preferable but optional independence for Scotland).
So no one wants to convince me that I should want those things? The leaflets are obviously designed to be read by those already on one side and binned by the rest. Even the Greens are telling me they’re the only party who can deliver (yeah, right) various aspects of things (most of which I would in fact support — but get real).
So the LibDems, with their lacklustre and austerity-supporting leader are simply promising to reverse Brexit if they get in, which they won’t, and opening themselves to (hilariously illogical but effective) accusations of being opposed to democracy. Labour, with their divisive (though to my mind not remotely racist and reasonable, if smug blinkered and fucking irritating) leader, are promising to renegotiate and then give the people a choice. Now to me this is the only really acceptable thing to do (South o’ the Border anyway), but it is so easily distorted and then ripped apart by the antagonistic media, it’s disappointing how badly they sell it. Tories and Faragists, as they always have, simply offer empty promises and lies — and demonstrably so — knowing that they won’t be called out except in social media bubbles which won’t be looked into by most of their supporters. And the good guys are distracted by their own bubble-blowing, rather than aggressively playing the game back.
I don’t mean spreading their own lies; I mean using all possible means to point out the lies to those who are buying the shit — though to be fair, don’t ask me what those means are. As I’ve said about the Brexit campaign, we do have an adversarial system, where each side is at liberty to distort or simply to lie, and the onus is on the other lot to bring its own evidence and call them out on the bullshit. And so far, as in 2016, there’s been far too little of that — at least where it matters. By all means impeach presidents or threaten MPs with writs for their rule-breaking, but for pity’s sake also get out there and explain to their voters and victims exactly why what they’re trying to do politically is going to make most of their very supporters worse off (financially and in so many other ways), rather than lead them to those sunlit uplands. It’s not easy but instead of heaping scorn on the ‘stupid morons who are deaf to argument’ (an idea planted to spread despair by the very bastards who’ve misled them), do everything possible to show the turkeys that they aren’t only voting for Christmas but helping Mr Matthews build the abattoir. Otherwise those turkeys will just peck you to death in their anger that you’ve stopped Bernard from building their nice, new, (almost) affordable housing.
But it always seems that politicians live in a bubble of self-delusion. OK, it’s rhetoric, and negativity doesn’t work, but from David Steele’s call to Liberal delegates to ‘return to your constituencies and prepare for government!’ to the Corbynistas’ conviction that tomorrow will bring them a sweeping victory, it’s hard not to laugh — extremely sardonically. Is it doublethink or is their brain quite clearly screaming, ‘Oh hell, we’re fucked, don’t show it, don’t show it…’?
And it seems amazing how little the liberal bourgeoisie get it that the things they are aghast at as they emanate from alt-right, Randy Tory mouths, are not ghastly to the people the rhetoric is aimed at. “They want to end free movement,” they gasp, “removing our freedom to live and work in 27 countries! How can people want to vote for that?” or “They’re going to make further cuts in benefits and social support and human rights!” Can they not see how that is seen by many real people as ending ‘their’ freedom to “come over ‘ere and take our jobs” or “stopping the scroungers from getting to the front of the queue at the food banks, in their handout wheelchairs, ahead of hard-working families — not to mention the glorious possibility of locking (and maybe even stringing) ’em all up. Surely the fight is to sell — to as many people as possible — the once quite popular idea that there is such a thing as society and that nations that do educate their populace well and provide well for the least fortunate actually seem to do better on so many counts, and only perform less well at redistributing resources up to the already wealthy few? Then the question of getting people to participate and contribute and even vote for such things might just take care of itself, without all the strategizing and spin. If I didn’t suffer from logorrhoea and negative charisma, I’d be out there on doorsteps now. But I can’t be the only one who thinks these things. Can I?
Having said all that, maybe the pollster’s re-weighting (based on the assumption that many young folk won’t actually get out and vote) is wrong, maybe people will all start realising that Johnson is indeed a total shyster and switch at the last moment, maybe the boos for Boris (if not the cheers for Corbyn) are more indicative than the polls of the true mood in the country, maybe, maybe, maybe — and maybe we’ll all wake up in a couple of days to find a repeat of 1945, where a widely predicted comfortable Tory win turned out to be a Labour landslide.
I won’t be holding my breath. The real fight starts on Friday.