Tuesday 8 January 2019

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

Actual fascists and Nazis calling Anna Soubry a fascist and a Nazi. You've got to admire the chutzpah of some people, even when they're the bottom feeders of British political life. Of course, letting fascists hang around the gates of Parliament intimidating all and sundry is unacceptable. Other noted targets have been Owen Jones and Dawn Foster. I don't know, it's almost as if these self-appointed knuckle-dragging guardians of Brexit have a problem with women and gay men in public life. And lest we forget, these goons do have deadly form. As was heavily trailed in the media earlier, John Bercow has written to the Met commissioner to ask that policing outside Westminster be a bit more robust and, for their part, the fuzz are looking into the footage to see if any charges can be brought.

Nevertheless, the discussion on this lunch time's Politics Live was revealing as far as mainstream responses were concerned. The ever-execrable Isabel Oakeshott likened the activity of fascists outside Parliament as the same as the protests that occasionally greeted Nigel Farage at his public appearances. Jo Coburn went on to quote John McDonnell when, years ago, he called for direct action against coalition ministers wherever they went. Forgive me Jo, but there is a world of difference between protesting cuts with placards and the like and screaming in the face of women, all the while recorded for narcissistic posterity.

And we know who's to blame for this, right? It's that there social media, of course! The place where criticisms of politicians and journalist are always 'attacks' and 'abuse'. It never has anything to do with the kinds of rhetoric these self-same standards of probity indulge. Think about the last 20 years. Who has done more to incubate racist tensions and scrounger discourse than politicians and journalists? The divide-and-rule politics both sets of elite actors cultivated did more than win elections or boost circulation, it poisoned the well. All the division and spite Brexit unleashed did not drop from the sky, it has built up over years. Emboldened fascists are just one toxic shock of our contemporary malaise.

We know what the end goal is. Legislation aimed at social media in some way, for instance the banning of anonymous accounts and/or the attachment of a real identity to each so complaints can be made and users face "accountability". And our fascist friends are useful idiots for the desire, of some, to curb protest. After all it would be a shame to let a crisis, even a small one like this, go to waste.


Boffy said...

It was noticeable that Coburn did not like, and initially rejected the idea that the BBC had given Farage grossly exaggerated coverage over the years, including him appearing on Question Time far more times than were politicians who had actually been elected.

By providing such unelected demagogues - the same has been true about the coverage given to people like Galloway, though at least on occasion he has managed to get elected - solely to boost their ratings, the media brings about two consequences. Firstly, those likely to be influenced by demagoguery are given greater licence to do so. Secondly, those who find the ideas of the demagogues repulsive, but who do not get the same access to that media, become increasingly frustrated and seek some means of venting that frustration.

Corbyn should concern himself with that, because currently he his presenting essentially the same pro-Brexit choice to the people as May, a fact that the Brexiters never tire of pointing out, when they say duplicitously, though technically correctly, that in the 2017 election 85% of votes went to parties supporting the implementation of Brexit.

Corbyn is dangerously ignoring, and riding roughshod over the views of 90% of LP members, and around 75% of Labour voters, who are becoming increasingly frustrated at the fact that Brexit is not only leading the working-class to disaster, but that it is here and now unleashing the forces of fascism, bigotry and xenophobia, and yet Labour appears to be fine with letting it simply roll on.

It will provoke at some point a sizeable reaction, particularly if the Tories ever were stupid enough to allow a no deal Brexit to happen. In that reaction Corbyn himself would be swept aside like so much flotsam floating on the surface of an increaisngly stormy sea.

Anonymous said...

The idea that anybody but the Tories would be - overwhelmingly - blamed for the utter clusterfuck of a no deal Brexit is a real stretch, no matter how fervently some wish to believe it.

Labour are doing everything they can to prevent such a calamity as the HoC vote yesterday yet again illustrated.

But ultimately, Corbyn can't just click his fingers and magic up a second referendum, still less "stop Brexit". This is the basic point that the likes of Boffy performatively pretend not to understand.

Ralph said...

I've heard this self serving nonsense before but it doesn't play well to most people.

I have been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn ever since he was first announced as a candidate for the Labour leadership. But he has never represented himself as enthusiastic about either Remain or PV. He has instead continually presented PV as an option of the very last resort.

Under such circumstances, only the most starry eyed JC fans who imagine the lexit unicorn to be real, achievable and (perhaps secretly) even desirable, are going to view his performance so optimistically.

He has only himself to blame for that.

For those of us who believe Brexit to be a monumental error, defeating that is the urgent and absolute priority. Expelling the Tories from power would be nice, but that goal doesn't suffer from the same horrific short term deadline.

Should Labour be successful in ensuring a General Election then JC has secured his first goal, but Labour's current performance in the polls hardly inspires confidence that they can win an outright majority. So not only are we unsure whether JC can be relied upon to turn back Brexit if he can, but we can't even be sure whether he will have the opportunity.

Once a General Election campaign is under way, if there should appear to be another more enthusiastically pro-Remain horse to back, you can expect whoever they are to make a sizeable dent in the Parliamentary footprint of both major parties.

For Remainers, the strategy must be to stuff Parliament full of pro-Remain MPs and party allegiance is a secondary matter.

Speedy said...

It is disingenuous to claim that Farrage's views are unrepresentative etc, and the current FPP voting system is hardly representative of what people would REALLY vote for given a truly democratic choice - UKIP's European Parliament vote and Brexit indicate this (albeit that they were born of frustration at the lack of democracy at the heart of UK politics).

As for Corbyn - Brexit will be for him what Iraq was to Blair.

I was calling anyone Tory a Nazi (or at least, Rick-ish, a fascist) in my youth - I don't think it is limited to the right, just idiots.

Politics in this country is truly fucked - there's much to be said for emotions over-ruling intelligence when it comes to people shifting their opinions on things, and emotions are running high over this. As you note, it has been coming for years, but I think both sides buying into an electoral system that has suppressed democratic feeling (yes, feeling) is much to blame - had there been a more proportional system, yes, people may have voted for more extreme parties, but they would have experienced the consequences and been more likely to favour moderation. Instead, we have had enforced moderation which has led to crazy extremism. The return of the monster, Freud might say.

Jim Denham said...

"Corbyn can't just click his fingers and magic up a second referendum, still less "stop Brexit"": maybe not, but he could show some leadership, listen to the vast majority of his members and voters, and take a principled stand against Brexit. He has failed to do so and exposed his own wretched, Stalinist-influenced backwardness on this question.

Anonymous said...

And what does "taking a principled stand against Brexit" actually MEAN in practice?? This is the question that never really gets answered.

Instead the likes of Boffy and Denham seem to be demanding ineffectual and performative virtue signalling, which would risk wrecking Labour's electoral coalition without ACHIEVING anything concrete in return.