Friday, 21 November 2014

The Absurdity of British Politics

We are living in the most stupid period of politics ever.

Emily Thornberry resigning over a tweet that might be - and was - construed as snotty. Absurd.

Then came UKIP's second by-election victory in Rochester and Strood. This was after Mark Reckless, lest we forget, called for the repatriation of EU immigrants in the event of UKIP becoming a governing coalition partner. One can channel the National Front's manifesto circa 1979 without any adverse effects to one's electoral prospects it seems. Absurd.

An ex-city trader up to his neck in neoliberal common sense having led a gilded life for 15 years on the taxpayers' dollar heads up a "people's revolt" against politics-as-usual. Absurd.

Mark Reckless, again, now MP for a hard right outfit that would like to see maternity rights and holiday pay be at the whim of employers evoked, with a straight face, the memories of the Levellers, Chartists and Suffragettes to position UKIP as a radical workers' party. Absurd.

This is the same UKIP which is seeing knives out for its "pinko" economics spokesperson Patrick O'Flynn, recently of the revolutionary communist Daily Express. Absurd.

There's still more. Sensitive to the charge that Labour, at least its parliamentary component, is seen as out-of-touch and bourgeois, Ed Miliband is has moved to quash such concerns by making it easier for his chums in the leader's office to parachute in to nice, cushy seats at the expense of non-spaddy, normal party members. Absurd.

In Scotland, where a self-consciously centre left-facing SNP is trouncing Labour in the polls sees the latter about to elect a continuity Blairite figure as its new leader. Absurd.

Staying north of the border, an independence referendum that returned a no vote has seen support for the pro-independence parties surge, resulting in an apparent collapse of Labour support - the very organisation that arguably won the referendum. Absurd.

Out on the fringes, we've had one Trot outfit decamp from Scottish Labour right at the moment a battle begins for its soul, another splitting over "racist" master/slave S&M, and the largest revolutionary group - one that used to berate others for their less-than-stellar records on women's rights - destroyed by whitewashing rape allegations. Absurd.

And last but not least, we are saddled with a vicious government headed by an incompetent and vacuous Prime Minister and Chancellor who gamble with Britain's relationship to the EU and the economy in pursuit of shifts in the polls. Despite pushing really damaging policies harmful to their own interests too, they get a free pass every single day from both the press and, sorry to say, sometimes the opposition too. Absurd.

Taken in isolation, each incident of absurdism reads like political Forteana. Strange phenomena is now the rule, not the exception. But it is explicable. When a society is going through a period of recomposition, exacerbated by an acute sense of insecurity, things will get a little weird. And perhaps frightening. Yet these are symptoms of a new world struggling to be born. The choice we have is to be present and guide its birth, or sit in the waiting room snarking on Twitter and Facebook. What is it to be?


Speedy said...

I claim my prize for spotting that - morbid symptoms... ;-)

Speedy said...

Given your partiality for w/end sounds, with my compliments:

Anonymous said...

Snarking on twitter, is the only option for those of us who have great difficulty leaving our homes, in fact, some of us are not just house but bed bound. With the tsunami of cuts under the Coalition increasing numbers of Carers are also stuck in going crazy without a break. So please those who can, do get out there and change things for the better for us as well as you. Thank you.

Chris said...

"We are living in the most stupid period of politics ever. "

You can say that again!

We have just gone through a period where we have invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, killed and displaced in the millions.

We have destabilised Libya with massive aerial bombardment, and brought barbarians to Syria.

We have brought the Middle East to the brink of sectarian catastrophe.

We are encircling Russia, assisting in destablising nations from Ukraine to Venezuela.

We are the biggest arms dealers in the world,

and someone claiming to be on the left claims that Putin is dangerous, a threat to world peace and has his finger in many pies.

Seriously, I ask you, is this stupidity or some sort of satire?