Tag Archives: general election

Update on Outraged Question Time Tory

She’s now a member of the Labour Party and for once, the Labour Party has managed to get some decent press out of something.

“No sane, logical or moral person within the UK in 2016, would ever want the conditions of inequality growing at such a pace as to break the back of society, with disastrous consequences for those with limited opportunities. The malice and contempt shown by this government in their attempts to undermine and oppress societies poorest and most vulnerable citizens is inexcusable.

“But if someone has a passion to show the country a new political direction with the commitment to social justice and high standards that Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues represent, then now is the time to create some momentum to bring about change.” – Michelle Dorrell

On another note, while Labour is focused on the EU campaign and everyone is (more or less) happy with Corbyn’s stance – by which I mean the vocal, furious right-wing disrupters are momentarily distracted – it’s a nice, quiet period in which Labour seems to actually be getting on with its job in Opposition instead of burning its own house down.

 

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Democracy and Wimmin

Ladies, ladies. What are (some of us) doing?

As poll after poll points towards a Corbyn Labour leadership, I’m sceptical that he’ll win.

Sceptical because I remember the General Election polling. (Er. Wrong)

Sceptical because most people play their cards close to their chest. I bet there are a lot of bored, but fairly reliable Burnham or Cooper supporters who will toe the….sorry, I drifted off there.

Sceptical because most people in Britain at the moment are afraid and there are many different Establishment forces (the Mail, Tory HQ, come to think of it Labour HQ, Murdoch) working rather hard to keep them that way.

Sceptical because in addition to the aforementioned fear, Britain is not Spain. Corbyn is not Podemos. And Brits are nowhere near as angry as they should be.

And a bit like a really crappy Captain Planet, when these forces combine…people stick with what they know.

But nevetheless….Corbyn has reminded everyone that people are crying out for someone who stands for something. And probably for some of his policies too. I’m not convinced that he’ll win. And if he did, I’m pretty sure that he’d compromise on some things, but I feel like his heart is in the right place.

And apparently a lot of other women (who are most likely to be affected by cuts in some way) feel the same.

WIMMIN. You give them the vote and the next minute they’re BREAKING DEMOCRACY, RUINING LABOUR FOREVER and ensuring that LABOUR WILL NEVER WIN AGAIN. EVER.*

*So we’re told. Let’s see.

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Whisper It: He’s right

So. Tucked away (sorry, Guardian) in the Guardian Economics pages, the news that Corbyn is right on Labour’s record and the economic crash.

“Corbyn is the only candidate sticking to the line that the banks were to blame and he is reaping the benefit. Not least because he is absolutely right.”

What’s saddening is that this is almost a quirky footnote. Despite the data, despite the analysis (which will always have its detractors) the fact is that Labour’s grandees are too busy trying to fit into the Tory frames of reference to try and reframe the debate and rescue their legacy. Instead, the truth is seen almost like a little side hobby by a far left loon. (the media caricature of Corbyn, not necessarily my own opinion.)

Still, Labour persists that we must allow them to win. Winning is all that matters (see: Kendall). But, why? If you’ll bend with the lies and disown even your own legacy, why should you get a turn at the wheel?

Those who accuse Corbynites of denying reality are engaged in their own self-delusions. Britain hasn’t moved left with the recession, they say, opposition to austerity isn’t self-evident. But their stump for the mandate to win seems to rest entirely on the premise that Tories are automatically Really Very Bad. Clearly, that’s not self-evident either.

 

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Sex Biscuits

Two things make me growl at my TV/radio/computer screen: when politicians witter endlessly about “hardworking families” (reinforcing an idealised community unit and the myth that only the lazy/feckless suffer hardship) and the ridiculous level of female political commentary.

I know that there are brilliant female political analysts out there; sadly the media seems to think women’s opinions begin and end with Mumsnet. They are a constituency that deserve to be heard, but everything seems to boil down to the infernal biscuit test (that Gordon Brown inexplicably “failed”) and whether a candidate (male) has sex appeal. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was one of many strands of commentary. But no, it’s magnified by the chattering classes and becomes the one of the barometers for how electable someone is.

It’s ridiculous and frustrating, though it’s interesting that Corbyn seems to have a weird sort of popularity. To be fair, Miliband did too, apparently. Which shows how useless this all is.

I like Corbyn. The apocalyptic New Labour/general commentary around him is interesting, especially as someone like Nigel Farage, a right-wing radical who is largely preposterous, is treated with a level of deference and the bellweather of popular opinion. If Corbyn is radical (and I’m not sure he’s as radical as they all make out) why is he the dangerous one? For wanting no tuition fees? For questioning the welfare cap? (sidenote: I’m following the Catholic critique of and argument with Iain Duncan Smith over his welfare vandalism policies with great interest).

At least Corbyn stands for something. Unlike so many who think that they need to cowtow to the minority who voted in the Tories in order to win again. Win for what, guys? There is a sense of entitlement there, as if Labour is due another go at the wheel to manage UK plc. There is no vision of what they’ll do when they actually get there. And Sunny Hundal, in his article on this, misses one crucial point. He posits that Corbyn’s way is a losing one because voters rejected it last time round. They didn’t. Ed Miliband had a couple of solid policies, but Labour’s messaging was safe, even cowardly. It was mean and small, echoing the Tory frames of reference. And why would you vote for Tory-lite when you could have the real thing?

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Other Politics

I’m away for a while, curating Media Diversified’s Other Politics series. Check it out.

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Other Politics

Today was the launch of Media Diversified’s new political series, The Other Politics, curated by me. Here’s the first post.

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The TV debates or Macho ego fest

Tortured. That’s the only adjective for the ongoing negotiations over the TV election debates. This morning Radio 4 had Michael Grade (former BBC chairman) chastising the broadcasters for throwing their weight around by threatening to “empty chair” Cameron, who is refusing to engage in the format they have suggested. He’s only agreed to one debate so far, with all the parties. The head-to-head with Miliband is dead in the water.

Cameron is tactically right. I think the debates can only help Miliband seem somewhat normal and electable. The public image of him is not so great, but he appears to come across better when he talks to people. If I were Cameron’s adviser, I would also try to avoid giving him a possible “Nick Clegg 2010” moment. Also, when Cameron gets mad, he turns puce and looks petulant. There’s that. He was also right that it made no sense to have UKIP in  one of the debates and no other smaller parties, who have equal or more representation nationally.

Labour’s also quite right: Cameron is running scared. They know full well they have a lot to gain and not much to lose.

The broadcasters have a point too; it would no doubt be a TV event.

But, here’s where they’re all wrong. They’re all dishonest. This has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with ego, spin and entertainment. And it’s that sort of thing that fuels disengagement with politics.

Cameron’s insistence on including other parties was a stalling tactic. He doesn’t get a cookie* for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Labour is so fixated on Cameron that they forgot to pretend to be pleased at the inclusion of other parties, including the Greens, their competition on the left. The broadcasters want ratings. The fact is, if this was about democracy, we wouldn’t have American-style TV debates, we would have debates on issues eg foreign policy, with the appropriate party spokesmen doing the talking. Because even though we’ve all watched a lot of West Wing, House of Cards and Veep, the fact is, we live in a parliamentary democracy so we vote for parties, not leaders. Their debate format obscures, even distorts this fact. Furthermore, is 3 minutes enough time to do anything more than give mindless platitudes and simplistic soundbites?

This is one of the most critical elections for years. Fresh off a referendum on the future of the union, we’re looking at (apparently endless) austerity. The monstering of the poor, the immigrant and whatever other scapegoats we can find. The possibility of flouncing out of the EU while marching to the beat of the UKIP drum as politicians kowtow to an aggrieved, vocal minority who bleat about being marginalised from their comfortable platforms on the BBC and the broadsheets. There is a lot in the balance. And everyone is playing macho games.

*the Scooby snack of justice

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Scottish scare stories

Funny. Labour is on the ropes, apparently, forced at every turn to deny that it would join in coalition with the SNP. It’s mischievous political reporting in my opinion, but the messaging used by the Tories in their briefings betrays an unease with the UK. Or, rather, with Scotland. The message appears to be, “Don’t ally with those people who want to tear this country apart”. So, when it’s not immigrants or the poor who are the outsiders of the day, it’s the Scots, whose democratic choices are seen as some sort of subversive plot to undermine the country. The SNP has more of a mandate than UKIP, who are deferred to as the self-appointed voice of England. Little England. A miserly, miserable, nostalgic England of moral pygmies. But hey.

The real, sobering fact shouldn’t be the prospect of a left-wing coalition, but that so many Scots feel ambivalent at best, hostile at worst, towards the UK. That so many feel that they would have nothing to lose and all to gain through independence. And is it any wonder, when the prospect of a coalition with a party that’s not in England stirs up this undercurrent of hostility, this sense that the Scots are outsiders here to rip up “our” UK? Why not build a country which offers a fair deal and a positive vision to all of its constituent parts?

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So, the far left in Greece (nice change to type those words) has won the election and has formed an alliance with the far right to renegotiate the country’s austerity package. Hmm. They may well succeed at that but I don’t know how the coalition will be able to agree on anything else.

What lessons, if any, does this hold for the UK? (Not that Labour is within sniffing distance of being left of anything, while the Tories tilt madly on the UKIP tide.)

The Centre may not hold

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