Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Juxtaposed with Blue

Funky philosophers of social complexity, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari wrote a great deal on the schizoid character of contemporary(ish) capitalism. By this they meant the brazen and stark manifestation of jarring juxtapositions. Consider the declining salience of sexism and racism developing alongside the recrudescence of toxic masculinities and the growing number of hate incidents, for example. Or the US Christian fundamentalist right finding their saviour in a womanising, crooked perma-tanned Antichrist. I can go on. These fusions of opposites circulate and slosh around, conveying their neurosis, absurdity, and violence to every corner of the body politic. The figure Theresa May cut on stage today, or dare I say grooved, is a case in point.

Readers might recall the glory days of her tenure in Number 10. The triumphalism, if not Maynia with which her rise to the top were greeted by the bourgeois press. Out went Flashman and, instead, we had a woman of substance. Enter stage right juxtaposition number one. Her vaunted seriousness positioned her Gordon Brown to Dave's Tony Blair. In the three phases of May's premiership - the pomp phase, the election catastrophe, and the bother with Brexit - has,contrary to expectation, shown her thinness. Her blighted career at the top a matter of the rapidity with which May took to vapidity. Today's speech, widely previewed as the most important of her career, was more of the same. Substance? There was none. There were the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, the appeal to the "decent people" who sat behind his front bench, and - gasp - the recognition he is addressing real concerns. To which May re-announced the traditional freeze on fuel duty, some more resources for cancer treatment, lifting borrowing caps on councils to build more houses and a vague promise to end austerity at some point. Someone tell the chancellor. Watery gruel indeed.

Juxtaposition two. Immediately after spending an hour saying nothing, the press pack were right in there in among the assembled faithful. And all they could find were enthusiastic things effusive with their praise, even if some had to read out their spontaneous reaction. Yet this happy clappy picture for the cameras sharply contrasted with events outside the conference centre. Events like James Duddridge (who?) putting his no-confidence letter into the 1922 Committee an hour before the big speech, or the Daily Telegraph running with demands for May's resignation date from members of her cabinet. On top of yesterday's shit show with Boris Johnson, and the generalised and wearisome permanent instability, just who are they trying to kid?

Juxtaposition three, truth and lies. Brave was the woman to attack Labour for its pockets of anti-semitism when the Daily Mirror led with a ugly manifestation of Tory anti-semitism this morning. We heard again how opposed she was to any kind of customs separation running down the middle of the Irish Sea, and staying in any customs unions while her minions are busying themselves pushing the very positions May is formally against.

Juxtaposition four, and by far the weirdest is no matter how inept she is, almost 18 months after the unnecessary election that destroyed her authority she still manages to out perform Jeremy Corbyn on best Prime Minister polling. And of all the leading Tories she's practically the only one, data suggests, who can see him off. Yes, that also includes Johnson. How to explain this? There is an element of looking the part, and May's no-frills image certainly helps here. But also in the mind of softer Tory voters and a layer of floating centrist types (not excluding some on the Labour benches), there is some respect for her impossible position. Yes, really. They see someone who might not be the best, but is doing her best. She has to juggle the complex detail of the withdrawal negotiations with the hot mess of Tory party intrigue. Every day she reaches round to scratch a new itch to find another knife sticking in, but May gainfully carries on. Bereft and lying about the Brexit negotiating strategy, this most unsympathetic of figures, a reckless and arrogant author of her own political misfortunes, is an object of sympathy. If not pity.

Juxtaposition five. Facing crunch time this month on Brexit, never has the gap between the competence of the politicians in charge of the negotiations and the demands of the situation been so vast, so in deficit. For all the talk of strong and stable leadership - remember that? - bourgeois politics as per the Tories, the Labour right, and the miserable LibDem/remainiac crowd, there is a real crisis in establishment leadership following its decadent bungling into the worst political crisis Britain has suffered since 1956. Saving their system, ironically, is in the programme of the one party attacked, rounded on, and smeared as a bunch of Trots by these self-same poltroons. The ruling class of old are incapable of ruling in the old way, yet their behaviour hammers home every single day that their ultimate salvation lies along the road paved by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party. Now that's what I call a juxtaposition.


Tmb said...

What the establishment wants, is a bunch of mediocre careerist shills in power, and when we get thoroughly sick of that particular bunch, they appease us with another bunch of mediocre careerist shills. That's exactly what happened when Blair won. Then after that, the Tories again. Corbyn has upset that, some degree. The whole of the mainstream media went after him like a pack of upper class huntsmen. The Daily Mail, the BBC, the supposedly left leaning Guardian went for him again and again, so much so that even non partisan people and some Tories were openly disgusted. It backfired, and their persecution has led to a backlash.

I'm left of centre and supportive of Corbyn not because I am some one who wants socialism, but because we need lots of council housing built, less top down bungling, a fairer share of the economic pie, some badly needed representative democracy, a fairer minimum wage, more workers rights, capped electricity and gas bills, a better transport system, a less biased media for starters. I'm not a fool, all politicians promise much and deliver much less, but nobody believes the Tories anymore about anything they say. We need change, at the very least. Unless the Tories u turn on everything they are going to do, that change will come with a Labour party. Rich people don't need tax breaks, Tory shires and towns already have enough, it's time we had democracy again, in short, and not a Richocracy.

Speedy said...

Yet as you say she still polls stronger the JC. There's a bit of dissonance going on here between the small c conservatism of general voters and the radical left image of JC. Looks like the British would prefer this donkey with a blue roset rather than entering into even more unknown waters with Labour. However, this may change if/ when the shit really hits the "flan"....

What was it I was saying about the French?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, as if the French have our best interests at heart ;)

(you asked for that punchline)