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.