Thursday, 6 May 2021

Here we go again

Here we go again - another election day. Not the big one but how exciting it all is. Worth taking stock of party politics more generally during these strange times, but we still hit the old problem.

In a democracy we vote for X, we vote against Y, but the problem remains. One of the most deceptive aspects of the voting game is deliberately exaggerated differences between political parties, political actors, policies, media outlets.

The difference between one political standpoint and another. Exaggerated by giving them different names, exaggerated to a point where important similarities are obscured, not debated, not clarified as they should be.

For example, the difference between communism, fascism, socialism, liberalism and a number of other political isms. Or the difference between green hustlers, gender hustlers, race hustlers or general purpose hustlers.

As we know too well, players of the Great Game are keen to establish unique selling points, aspects of their brand, to seem better, newer, more fashionable, kinder, closer. Or dangerous, not to be trifled with, unhinged, approach with care. We see that on the fringes too. Not always on the fringes though.

Careful delineation of differences. Yet to an outsider the similarities matter at least as much as the differences. Maybe more. Differences often obscure more than they reveal such as imaginary positions on the imaginary left right spectrum of imaginary political opinion with imaginary consequences.

A more realistic spectrum could be devised to highlight the similarities. An alternative way to view the political game. Such as –


What was New Labour under Tony Blair? Socialist? Big Tent Socialist? Third Way Socialist? Happy Clappy Socialist? Fascist? To an outsider it is probably better to see Blair for what he was and ignore the traditional political labels. It usually is. New? Not really. A political hustler perhaps. Sometimes hustler, sometimes political, sometimes both. Never apolitical.

What are the Conservatives under Boris Johnson? Certainly not conservatives, not those who wish to conserve, those who know what is worth conserving. How about Socialists? Closer perhaps, but again, to an outsider it is probably better to see Boris and the Tories for what they are and ignore the traditional political labels. They take us nowhere.

Certainly the Boris regime is not conservative. Not fans of the free market, democrats or fans of limited liberal government. That would be the old version of liberal. The version which built, which preserved, which mostly disapproved of hustlers. Not always. It never is always in politics.

Perhaps we should ignore differences between Blair and Johnson. Blair pursued the political aims of the establishment intermingled with the demands of his own political career. He concentrated on selling those aspects which could be sold while avoiding those which could not. He was mostly hustler. Johnson is too.


James Higham said...

Think I'll give it a miss.

Ed P said...

With a poor selection of useless Con/Lab/Lib candidates, I voted for 'none of the above'

DiscoveredJoys said...

Mrs DiscoveredJoys and I discussed when to vote today over yesterday's evening meal. We briefly considered not voting, but quickly decided it was better to use our votes rather than risk losing them in the future. After all one day voting might become important again.

Sam Vega said...

There is definitely a hustler class. Virtually the only advantage of our system is that it puts pressure on some of the hustlers to hustle in a way that the majority don't disapprove of.

Thanks for Brexit, Boris, but we'd like you to be conservative now, please.

Graeme said...

All the candidate leaflets that came through my letterbox were more or less the same. Full of commitments to "carbon zero" by next week, 20mph speed limit zones (presumably to maximise pollution), one way systems which would really screw things up for motor traffic, better schools (not discussed how). The only difference was that the Conservative wanted more housing and the LibDem wanted a halt on new building. The Labour and Green candidates seemed to want to increase the number of green spaces without specifying how this would be handled. It all seemed dreadfully irrelevant so I voted simply to try to alter the composition of the Council. I would prefer a none of the above option. I could go for that and at least it sends a clear message. A spoiled paper might be an accident

Man Beach said...

After the farce of Brexit I vowed that I'd never vote for any of the established political parties ever again. No independent candidates in my area so a spoilt paper from me (and I certainly didn't bother with voting for the ludicrous Police & Crime Commissioner).

A K Haart said...

James - I nearly did. Probably should have.

Ed - I still have some faith that local elections are worth a vote, but not much.

DJ - voting might become important again, but as things are I don't think that's likely for general elections.

Sam - I don't think Boris intends to go anywhere near conservative politics. He seems to have decided on a kind of socialism.

Graeme - yes we do need a none of the above option and we need it to be taken as a significant indicator.

Man Beach - that's my decision for general elections. I'm not voting for any of the established political parties.