Posts Tagged ‘FPTP’

Sometimes I do wonder whether I’m in some kind of paranoid coma fantasy that I can’t wake up from.

 

If you’d have explained that a party that had been in power for seven years as the majority in parliament had overseen anaemic growth across the economy and a ballooning national debt, and their message was essentially: “Blame everyone else, we’re the only option. We haven’t fixed it yet, but give us another term and we’ll try to fix it by then”; then explained that they were on course for a landslide General Election victory on the back of insulting and antagonising officials of an organisation we are about to leave and desperately need a good deal out of, I’d have scoffed.

 

Even with our appalling anti-intellectual media, surely our population could not be cheerleading the biggest act of economic suicide in a generation, and getting excited at the prospect of the organisation we need a good deal from telling us to fuck off, because we don’t really need those bloody foreigners telling us what to do and we’re going to resurrect the Empire, only with less bloodshed and slavery. The famed magical money tree of the Commonwealth only needs its ripe fruits plucked by the mighty hands of Blighty, and there will be peace and prosperity for all. No more immigration; and shiny unicorns for all in this Brave New Britannia. Nothing can go wrong as long as we TRUST THERESA MAY; the tabloid loudhalers screech at us.

 

Theresa May, who has done a remarkable volte-face from “Brexit isn’t a good idea” to “Brexit is the only idea to make Britain great again”, also has a husband who seems to have done remarkably well financially out of her Brexit decisions thus far, and has misled parliament on the misfire of our nuclear defence system, but our eager media is far too busy splashing headline over headline on whether Corbyn would ever find a reason to (get America’s permission to) use said anachronism. It’s got to the point where it sounds like when you were at school and used to wind each other up with hypothetical scenarios. “What if a dragon was at Buckingham Palace and about to eat the Queen; would you use Trident then?”; “What if Putin annexed Surrey and drew a hammer and sickle on the Union Jack at Westminster? Then surely you’d use Trident, right?”

 

I had to pinch myself when I heard the Prime Minister talking about launching a FIRST STRIKE nuclear attack as if it was some kind of computer game. On what planet is a nation’s leader boasting of unleashing an unprovoked holocaust across the world a positive thing that we should nod to and respect? This is brinkmanship for the braindead. Listen to what she’s saying, it’s Kim Jong-Un-esque. She would wipe out millions of civilians and poison the earth for generations, and presumably the target nation would also be nuclear-armed (Russia is normally the go-to bogeyman), so she is basically telling us all that she would happily sign all of our death warrants on a whim. HOORAY! ALL HAIL OUR GLORIOUS LEADER WHO WILL BLESS AND KEEP US FOR EVERMORE.

 

We mock America for Trump, but we are well down the road to our own Trump. Right now it is an inevitability. Trump became possible because American partisan politics became more and more debased and devoid of intellectual rigour that the dumbasses became orators. Suddenly, battles for policies and visions became battle to defame and whip up hysteria. A baseless and racist slur became an actual mainstream campaign to call into question Barack Obama’s citizenship credentials. Evangelicals would throw God into everything: all emotion and no logic. The ‘Tea Party’ movement formed from a bunch of slow-witted malcontents to an actual influential pressure group with arms in government.

 

How does this reflect the UK’s situation? It’s the ad-hominem trash talking and the general infantilisation of political discourse. We don’t hear reasoned critiques of policies any more: it’s just character smears, implied negative associations, false narratives and ‘Back to the 1970s’ tropes. The fact that Corbyn’s proposed manifesto is hugely popular, but many people won’t consider voting for him, based on the media onslaught and constantly repeated narrative of ‘weak leadership’ and erroneous ‘hard-left’ labels thrown around like particularly sticky mud.

 

How gullible are we to vote back in a party whose leader doesn’t respect her ‘people’ enough to actually meet and talk to them? Who refuses to debate with Corbyn unless it’s in a sanitised House of Commons where the toffs bray along to her rubbish and scripted jibes are practically auto-cued for her. Who repeats two phrases endlessly like a malfunctioning child’s toy? Where is the vision? Where are the ideas? If we fall for this shit and return the Tories to office, we will have our own Trump eventually, because the population are responding to demagoguery with relish. If Farage joined the Tories and became leader, he would be PM at the first time of asking, I have no doubt.

 

I’m not sure how we go about resetting this ignorance of expert opinion, academic backing or actual policy justifications when all the money (and the voting system) is on the side of those who will hold practically untrammelled power for the foreseeable future. When we get our British Trump, will any right-leaning voters realise things have gone too far? Probably not, as no parallels in history are ever reviewed. We are Great Britain, free to make our own mess way in the world again, and you’d better not provoke us, because we have strong and stable fingers on the holocaust button whenever Dacre gives the word.

False dichotomies are stupid. You know the kind I’m talking about.

“If you hate Capitalism I guess you’d love North Korea”

“You’re either with us or with the terrorists”

“Yeah well the Tories aren’t great but Labour are a lot worse”

False dichotomies are right up there with ad hominem attacks as the major cause of debates descending into infantile arguments. The motivation behind them is driven either by laziness, or more likely cognitive dissonance: not being able to accept alternative arguments so you opt to shut them down with name calling or farcical comparison.

False dichotomies are possibly the most infuriating development in any debate, because they tell you instantly that the person is rude, arrogantly dismissive, and ignorant; wanting to shut down meaningful debate. In the wider scheme of things though, it is far more serious. Any civilised, progressive society should have a lively and wide spectrum of informed opinion, but ad hominem attacks, straw men arguments and false dichotomies suggest that, broadly speaking, we have nothing of the sort.

The false dichotomy of Conservatives or Labour is both ridiculous and telling. It tells us that:

a) Political tribalism can be more blinkered and aggressive than football partisanship
b) A significant amount of tribal voters talk as if the political spectrum has not altered since 1979; equating the Tories to some kind of soft, patriotic and business-friendly party of aspiration, and Labour to Trotskyite militant Union barons wanting to recreate the USSR
c) FPTP is a ludicrously anachronistic voting system which has ensured the country has become an interchangeable Neoliberal corporatocracy in alternating colour rosettes

To summarise: exposing the filthy lucre behind the military-industrial complex here and the US does not mean you support terrorism. Exposing the corruption, hypocrisy, ecological rape and rampant greed of the Capitalist system does not mean you long for a totalitarian junta watching your every move and restricting people’s food and freedom of expression at gunpoint. Exposing what the current shower in office are doing to the people of this country does not mean you forgive Blair’s warmongering or pandering to the City of London who fleeced us all.

But seriously, a lousy opposition is no excuse to keep the most corrupt and vicious bunch of lying corporate pirates in office. That isn’t cutting one’s nose off to spite its face. That’s cutting one’s face off to spite its body.

A combination of our corporate-friendly two-party system and voter apathy means that we only have lousy choices. This is the Establishment’s dream. Turning every nuanced argument into a black-and-white red vs blue fiasco is easy to control. Apart from protest and raising awareness, all we have in our armoury is cutting short one cabal’s power trips to let the other in. It’s crap but it will have to do. We’ve seen throughout history what unbroken periods of power for the corrupt leads to. Even in the modern day in our supposedly progressive continent, Vladimir Putin has proved that representative democracy is the only true cure for the cancer of megalomania. Don’t accept anything less.