Current Affairs Politics

The UK General Election. Just As Mad As Brexit And Possibly Just As Pointless

The frenetic pace of the general election campaign in the United Kingdom is such that in the last few days I’ve twice written and discarded posts that were made redundant before I had even got to the last line. Hardly a morning or an afternoon or an evening passes by without some new or improbable twist as the contest for power in Westminster reflects the missteps and confusions that have characterised much of UK national politics since the referendum on European Union membership in 2016. So what if Nigel Farage, the ideological inheritor of 1970s-style Powellism, minus the intellectual heft, has backtracked on his vow that the Brexit Party would contest every seat for the House of Commons? Some other stunt, flip-flop or controversy will be making new headlines before the print on the old ones has had time to dry. While it makes for great entertainment for anoraks like me, one has to wonder if the British election will herald the dramatic changes that some hopeful observers expect. Or if Brexit-laced politics in London will be just more of the same in 2020?

23 comments on “The UK General Election. Just As Mad As Brexit And Possibly Just As Pointless

  1. These times would make – yet another – great study in how a critical mass can so easily be led by the nose by obvious charlatans. Pity is, we have to live through it.

    • And throw in an incredibly toxic press media.

      • All true.

        Yet our comrades in the 19th century faced more powerful, brutal and pitiless opponents than we do under far more challenging conditions and won substantial victories. Not meaning to diminish the challenges and obstacles to be overcome but to note that they will be dealt with and overcome.

        The right are overplaying their hand right now from Bolivia to Brexit. They always do and they are always defeated because of it. Witness the unofficial pacts in NI to unseat DUP MPs, they are really not going to handle 9 Nationalist MPs and 9 Unionist MPs very well at all.

        • Yeah, that’s a very good perspective. And kind of heartening too.

          • I agree with all of the above. But my point was more of a plaintive wail: “How many more times In history does this have to happen before we learn?”

            • Until we learn that civilization is a nightmare, the nuclear family has been a catastrophe for humanity’s psychological well being.

              Green Sahara ending 7kya -> Y-Chromosome Bottleneck 7kya-5kya -> Rise of Cities ie the birth of rape, murder, genocide and enslavement (this is the fall the bible talks about) -> that cancer spreads globally and you can compare Native peoples with their genocidal imperial invaders to clearly see the sickness of greed in the white man (yes, yes, fine #NotAllWhiteMen jfc 🙂

              Civilization broke humanity and keeps it broken so the sociopaths can build stone monuments visible from space. Psychologically healthy people do not work themselves to death. Until all of that is unpicked the lesson cannot be learned.

              • What you are saying is a common theme in the modern world. People who know their country has seen much tougher victory in the past dismiss the possibility of more modest changes with weaker opposition as an impossible dream. Is it that “blue light” or modern media make people more hopeless? I suspect that’s the issue.

                As for Bolivia, I’d be careful in assuming right-wing shenanigans are the only thing behind Morale’s resignation. The fact is that the man tried to get himself an (unprecedented and in Bolivia constitutionally questionable at best) forth term as President.

                True the Bolivian right wing is pretty shitty by any standards, and Morales has done much to improve the life of ordinary Bolivians. The fact is, that good Presidential systems need term limits for the President. I’m not expert enough on Bolivian constitution to take too firm a position on the legalities, but it’s certainly very questionable. If you don’t put down term limits in a Presidential or semi-Presidential system you tend to get implanted autocrats.

              • Grace,

                In Bolivia the indigenous are 70% and have been treated much like the Irish in Ireland were under English and British rule, by the Spanish settler colonists and their descendants. Many of the same issues, problems and thinking we are familiar with from Unionism in NI goes on in Bolivia, but far, far worse.

                From my own personal experience of being in La Paz twice in 2003 and then 2015, I can attest to the transformation in the economy and quality of life for ordinary people, night and day. And the Spanish identifying community loathed Morales in the same way Unionism loathes Gerry Adams.

                Trump is running Eisenhower’s playbook in the Americas, we see it in Brazil, Venezuela, Boliva.

                We have 70 years of history to draw from. We have seen this before. It is obvious what it is.

              • It has happened before in S America that a candidate that started out standing up for the poor became President and turned into something different from what they started as.

                If the same guy is President repeatedly they could become dictator.

              • Grace,

                it is hard to think of an example of a president in the Americas seizing power and becoming a dictator when it wasn’t the US organizing the entire project from inception to execution.

    • I sort of think this election was necessary. I mean what else could they do? They had an absolute stalemate. Also the way Johnson was picked in the first place was ridiculous.

      It’s possible this will be as crazy as the rest of it, but I see a good chance more sane people will head to the polls.

  2. It’s not so difficult to understand how the lumpen can be led.

    They’ve just sustained 10 years of austerity and reduced living standards and someone is to blame.

    And in time tested tradition the lumpen imbued with the superiority of a now gone empire blame Johnny Foreigners and the EU.

    And so like turkeys voting for Christmas the elites will lead them to where they belong.

  3. I see a chance that for all the craziness that people will start seeking a return to sanity and less crazy people will head to the polls than did in the Brexit Referendum. Surely by now, more British people know that without major correctives their are a deep trouble.

  4. Political campaigns moving at the speed of social media is making for a chaotic ride. The Dem primary this cycle has felt much the same, much more so than 2016. Tempo demands of the Red Queen are insatiable and pervasive.

    Personally I have found my Zombieland Twinkie and it is the lord mayor of Belfast refusing to take the North Belfast seat in Westminster.

  5. ” The moment that the very name of Ireland is mentioned, the English seem to bid adieu to common feeling, common prudence, and common sense, and to act with the barbarity of tyrants and the fatuity of idiots.” Rev Sydney Smith, 1803. A wonderful quote never repeated enough.

  6. So, leaving aside contempt for Johnson and everything that he and his ilk stand for, does it actually enhance the prospects for Irish unity if the Tories achieve a working majority and are able to pass the latest Withdrawal Agreement?

  7. This election is a long time in the planning; it takes time to condition the public to play the State’s game. Finally with the assistance of Farage(state shill) the brexiteering public are being blackmailed into voting for Labour/libdems(remain) or taking what they can get and voting for the Tories(brexit in name only). If Farage and his fellow brexiteers truly wanted brexit they’d have called for a boycott of any further polls(especially the recent EU one) until such times that brexit was implemented. The public had the moral authority to demand parliamemt implement brexit, but with the aid of bojo and Farage that authority is being gradually removed……..ironically the brexiteering public don’t even realise they are doing it themselves I.e they are being played.

  8. I’d say there is a probable element of election fatigue in Britain – the dangers of that can be seen in the Spanish election. Whether this will effect voting patterns and turnout to vote remains to be seen.

    However the Westminster election in Britain and the North of Ireland could decisively determine the direction of those polities for a decade or two. That is if one of the two clear results emerge: i.e. a Tory majority or a Labour/SNP coalition.

    At stake is whether the UK becomes a Bannonite playground for hyper-neoliberal regressive xenophobic nationalism, or remains in a close relationship with the federation to its East and West.

    What happens in Ireland and Scotland will be strongly influenced by either of these two outcomes.

    So it will only be proved to be pointless if the current stalemate persists after the election.

    • I don’t agree with the notion of election fatigue. Quite the opposite, in fact. My sense is that a frustrated people (Remainers and Leavers) are bursting to get at the ballot box, so turnout in this election could be very high.
      I totally agree that there’s a real danger of a “Bannonite playground” being created. Which leads me to wonder where this would leave Britain globally, when (as I strongly suspect) Trump is dumped from office next year. Detached from the EU and totally out of sync with a new administration in the US, what then for Britain.

      • I’d agree with you about election fatigue in the UK. They do seem eager, even for a winter election.

        But I’d hold my predictions on the 2020 presidential until the Dems pick a nominee because the Dem establishment is keen to nominate anyone but Sanders. Whether or not they can bet Trump.

        • True, re predictions for 2020. Still, Tamam’s point is very interesting. What sort of situation does the UK face if there is a new face at the White House (and one hopes a rational one)? That would be a massive level of isolation compared with before. Though better than if Trump was still in the WH and applying the arm lock on trade deals etc. This is something I just don’t get about extreme Brexiteers. Don’t they see how the influence and power of the UK in respect of larger powers is diminished by a hard/no deal Brexit (well by Brexit full stop, but seeing as that seems to be a given)?

          • You are right about Trump probably being the worst possible person in the WH for a Brexit UK. Especially if the Tories form the next govt.

            If you want to get a handle on Brexiteer psychology I’d recommend Wilhelm Reich’s Mass Psychology of Fascism again, but really you’d need to read through Pete Walker’s Complex PTSD book. All of which are a product of what I said above to Tamam. Civilization broke humanity psychologically, how else do you con someone into being a slave and working themselves to death for the benefit of a monarch? Monarchs never existed before walled cities. Native Americans saw the sickness clearly in their colonial invaders. It’s also how you get what Freud described as Death Cults.

            You see exactly the same thing play out with Unionism because of exactly the same psychological reasons.

            Thing is, Jesus Christ was trying to point this out 2kya, that was the whole message of love being the cure, to love yourself, to love others and to love your enemy. Granted he robbed all that from the Buddha, but it’s still an accurate diagnosis of the sickness of civilization.

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