The Center Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the ‘Brexit Election’

IdleRich

IdleRich
If the narrative is that we had a vote on Brexit twice and people voted twice for it, you really have to come back with something better than:

No it wasn't.
Well yeah but I just explained that, I'm not gonna write it out again.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Agreed on the difference between being right and being politically effective - but I think that in this case, knowing that you are right (and hopefully convincing others of that) is a big step towards being politically effective. I mean that's why they suppressed the Russia report isn't it? Presumably they worried that if enough people realised they had been cheated they might change their mind. Although positions are so entrenched they probably needn't have worried... I don't know where that leaves us, hoping we are wrong I guess.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
This absolutely dovetails with exactly the kind of metropolitan elite technocrat stuff that Brexit voters hate.
Maybe but if so it's nuts... why is it metropolitan elite to point out that the rich powers behind Brexit used technology and money to cheat in the election? That argument is absolutely twisted round as far as I can see. I mean, I'm not saying you're wrong, but that's the con job that has been so well pulled off - completely valid criticism of the technocratic elites for their technocratic elitism marks you out as... a member of the technocratic elite. It's the same as that rebellious anti-establishment outsider Trump. It's brilliant I guess.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Well I think a lot of people are going to do exactly that which means it will take generations for us to get anywhere, sadly.
So I think what you're saying is that there are two possible arguments to be made (or next steps to follow).

1. We were cheated and brought to this point undemocratically by lies and money and as a result we need to reverse the decision.
2. We are where we are, let's see how it's working. Oh, it's not, let's try and improve things - the best way to do that is rejoin.

And you believe that the second is more likely to succeed. Maybe you're right, but the problem with this for me is that it is going to take years (decades?) for this to lead to a consensus. People will die, lives are going to be ruined, a generation will lose their future. I think it's too slow.

For me a two-pronged approach is better. Something more like;

The referendum (and everything that has followed from it) was a scam, and it has caused this situation we are in now where nothing is working, businesses are leaving and so on... two pretty good reasons to change course quick smart. I think they go hand in hand.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Also (I'm going on a bit sorry but this seems like an important point), the consequences are wider than Brexit. If we can let people get away with cheating in elections then what does it say for the future? We KNOW for a fact that Leave cheated and they won. We KNOW that Johnson delayed the Russia report until the election (perhaps there is nothing in it but we had a right to see it) and in both cases there were no consequences (Cummings is in contempt of parliament but he's allowed back in to run the Tory strategy) - what message does that send out? What will Johnson and Cummings et al have taken from their experience of the last few years? I think they will have learned that if they are in power they can break the rules with impunity and then cover up and shut down anything that is supposed to deal with that because the checks and balances that are supposed to hold the leadership to account aren't as good as we thought they were. He's already going after the courts' powers. If we are gonna say "It's fine, rig elections and we won't moan about it cos it makes us look bad, we'll win the argument by building a ground up socialist alternative" then we're fucked cos it will reach a stage where it doesn't matter how people vote, the government will pick the winners (and it will be them).
Of course we're not there yet, but not holding them to account in every possible way now is a huge error cos it sends us in that direction.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
To me a lot of this goes back to the 2010 election. We had a hung parliament (as you all know) and the Lib Dems were the kingmakers. Most people assumed that their natural partners were Labour (indeed many had cast their votes for LDs to keep out the Tories) and, as the two parties together had enough for a majority, we could have had a centre left coalition. But the problem was the press painting them as a "losers' coalition" and the LDs bottled it and then they lost the vote on electoral reform and destroyed any hope of that happening while ensuring that some people would never trust the LDs again. The effects have been far reaching - you could see in this election that although LDs were the most anti-Brexit of the main parties, many refused to trust or vote for them. The moderate left was destroyed by that election... voting reform was buried and - for me - all because they didn't have the guts to go "Fuck it, let's join with Labour and the people moaning can take a running jump" which, we now know, is exactly what Johnson would have done. That kind of gentlemanly "but people won't be happy if we follow the letter of the law rather than the spirit" thing is out of the window, these Tories do anything they can and if people point out the lies and hypocrisy and so on they don't care as long as they can't actually stop them (of course there were some minor victories along the way which slowed the progress but battles not the war) and let them cry about it, there will another thing along soon and the previous outrage will be forgotten.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I'm afraid the bottom line is that most people don't believe that the Russians had a decisive effect on the outcome of the referendum. Or that the cheating was outside of the usual parameters of these things.

If I'm honest, I don't believe that either.

As time goes on, less people will be bothered about this.

Most people don't remember the LibDems u-turn on student fees now.

Using Russian interference as a central plank of your identity/politics marks you out as an obsessive and veers towards conspiracy theory.

I honestly don't think it is the smoking gun that people think it is. I don't know what's in the report, but neither does hardly anyone else. Same as that base in Roswell.

At what point do you stop and say "OK there was something iffy about the way that JFK was assassinated and we are still living with the political consequences of that, but I think I'll leave it for now".
 

john eden

male pale and stale
So I think what you're saying is that there are two possible arguments to be made (or next steps to follow).

1. We were cheated and brought to this point undemocratically by lies and money and as a result we need to reverse the decision.
2. We are where we are, let's see how it's working. Oh, it's not, let's try and improve things - the best way to do that is rejoin.

And you believe that the second is more likely to succeed. Maybe you're right, but the problem with this for me is that it is going to take years (decades?) for this to lead to a consensus. People will die, lives are going to be ruined, a generation will lose their future. I think it's too slow.

For me a two-pronged approach is better. Something more like;

The referendum (and everything that has followed from it) was a scam, and it has caused this situation we are in now where nothing is working, businesses are leaving and so on... two pretty good reasons to change course quick smart. I think they go hand in hand.
Well in terms of point (2) I think the important thing is to fight for social justice, public health, a decent distribution of resources etc.

That may or may not lead us to rejoining the EU, which evidently has its own issues to wrestle with at the moment.

My point is that if you go for option (1) this is not the quick fix you think it is.

It will lead to a huge upsurge in far right activity for starters. It will set the agenda for decades to come so nothing else is discussed (like 2017-2019). And it isn't certain that it will lead to the decision being reversed. At all.

So that will take even longer.

Fighting for what you actually want (a fairer world) is better, in that respect, than fighting to rejoin an institution that you think symbolises these things (but not everyone does).
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Anyone who wasn't crushingly disappointed pulverised pierced to the quick by this election I simply don't want to know and people who are inclined to crow about it I want dead. This is why I have to shun dissensus.
Um, well actual Tory voters, let alone Boris Johnson fans, are fairly thin on the ground in these parts, so you're probably safe.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I don't have much truck with the idea that Labour is or was a remain party - the fact that they tried to be all things to all people on this issue is one of the reasons that they were obliterated. (And let's remember that the Tories were a remain party too until the referendum result).
I think you can make the case that any party supporting a second referendum is a Remain party by default. After all, a party that was pro-Brexit is hardly likely to want a second referendum that might overturn the result of the first one. In terms of the feelings of the majority of its MPs, members and (at least as far as the 2017 GE was concerned) its voters, the Labour party is overwhelmingly Remain. On the other hand, Corbyn and his closest supporters are all ardent Leavers, so it's moot.

I read something recently about Labour tried to triangulate on Brexit but achieved little other than making itself look Leave-y enough to put off Remainers and Remain-y enough to put off Leavers, which I think has something to it. Certainly there was no public appetite for Corbyn's silly "soft Brexit" compromise, which was unattractive to Remainers because it's obviously a worse deal than what we have now, and also to Leavers because it gives the UK less sovereignty, not more - hardly a great rallying cry against a Tory opposition that was rapidly uniting under the banner of "Let's Take Back Control".
 

droid

Beast of Burden
I'm afraid the bottom line is that most people don't believe that the Russians had a decisive effect on the outcome of the referendum. Or that the cheating was outside of the usual parameters of these things.

If I'm honest, I don't believe that either.
Like with the US elections where there were similarly tight margins there seems to be a significant amount of evidence that dark money, targeted ads and social media manipulation may actually have played a decisive role in tipping the balance of the result. There's been a ton of research and investigative work done in the area and it seems clear that various actors attempted to game the process, with some success.

Whether this was enough to justify overturning the result is another question, and as time goes on it becomes increasingly difficult to make the case especially in a political environment in which the degradation of democratic norms is widely accepted, or even welcomed. In an ideal world there would have been a proper investigation followed by prison sentences and regulation of social media, and a remain leaning government may have been able to use it as an excuse to hold a 2nd referendum.

Which they probably would have lost.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I'm afraid the bottom line is that most people don't believe that the Russians had a decisive effect on the outcome of the referendum. Or that the cheating was outside of the usual parameters of these things.
If I'm honest, I don't believe that either.
I don't think it's a massive stretch to think that the overspend, combined with the targeted facebook disinformation using stolen data and when added to the unchallenged lies on the bus and elsewhere could have made a difference of at least two percent. EDIT as Droid said above.
The main point for democracy is that the vote was known to be unsafe to some degree and yet the government chose not to properly investigate. That in itself is simply wrong.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
Most people don't remember the LibDems u-turn on student fees now.
I'm astonished by this claim. When I logged on to fb or looked at Twitter or read the newspaper comments sections I saw more fighting between Labour and Lib Dems on the question of whether they could be trusted and how Lib Dems voted in that coalition than anything else. These fights were more vicious than anything I saw between Brexiters and Remainers or Tories and Labour or whatever - they spawned a whole kind of meta-fight between those who thought the opposition should combine and those who thought it was important to have that fight at whatever cost.
Not specifically student fees, but enabling Tories and everything else was and is undoubtably a huge issue for a massive swathe of voters who wanted to stop Brexit but felt they just couldn't vote for them.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Using Russian interference as a central plank of your identity/politics marks you out as an obsessive and veers towards conspiracy theory.
I honestly don't think it is the smoking gun that people think it is. I don't know what's in the report, but neither does hardly anyone else. Same as that base in Roswell
You're conflating two issues here. There was undoubtably Russian interference in the Trump election that has been well documented. I think that there is also strong evidence that they also got involved in Brexit. I would say it's more of a conspiracy theory to DENY this at this point. How much it changed things I don't know but we know that disinformation via social media is a major Russian strategy, it would be naive to think that they didn't at least attempt to get involved to some extent with this major event.
But that's not what I'm talking about with the Russian Dossier. That is a document which may or may not reveal how much BJ and other members of his party and associates are compromised by Russia. Honestly, I tend to agree with you with that it (most likely) doesn't contain any kind of smoking gun, but my point is, that the document was ready to go and they withheld it to help themselves win an election. And this can't be right - whatever was in. This is my problem, the way that this Tory party is setting itself as judge and jury in these kinds of processes and that is an erosion of democratic principle that can't be allowed.
And now it looks as though it's never going to emerge. In fact, despite what I said above, it does start to make me think that there IS something dodgy in there after all... but that's neither here nor there regarding my complaint.
 
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IdleRich

IdleRich
Well in terms of point (2) I think the important thing is to fight for social justice, public health, a decent distribution of resources etc.
But the resources to distribute will be MUCH smaller as a result of brexit. People are going to be worse off, that's the issue.
I think your brexit tendencies are being revealed by this statement and the one about how "cheating probably didn't change the result". I don't think anyone could say that seriously if they weren't disposed towards that result.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
My point is that if you go for option (1) this is not the quick fix you think it is.
It will lead to a huge upsurge in far right activity for starters. It will set the agenda for decades to come so nothing else is discussed (like 2017-2019). And it isn't certain that it will lead to the decision being reversed. At all.
I'm not saying that it's a quick fix. I'm saying that it's the right thing to do morally, it MAY result in a (slightly) quicker fix AND if we don't do it we're basically saying that it's ok to cheat in elections and Johnson will say "thank you very much" and we can forget any kind of fix at all.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Fighting for what you actually want (a fairer world) is better, in that respect, than fighting to rejoin an institution that you think symbolises these things (but not everyone does).
The problem is that after Brexit has emboldened the (fairly) far right who are running the country there is fuck all chance of a fairer world.
Also, a fairer world under Brexit will leave people worse off than an unfair world without it. You don't agree with this cos you're a part Brexiter but if the economic predictions are anywhere near right - and I think they will be unfortunately.
In short Brexit is the most important political issue in the UK at the moment (not counting climate change which is kinda arguably not political) and reversing it should take precedence over everything else cos what you're talking about is basically akin to moving deckchairs round on the Titanic.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
If Twitter was real Corbyn would be PM.
Well, that's true, but with the Lib Dems, after 2010 I swore I would never vote for them again, I saw it as a massive betrayal. Actually after Brexit I realised that there were bigger issues and I was prepared to be persuaded (potentially) but it was the first thing in my mind when anyone mentioned them. And there were lots of articles about that, Labour mentioned it a lot, I heard it from friends, I saw it when I turned on BBC worldwide. Come on, it was everywhere. The coalition was from 2010 not 1983, I can't believe you're trying to say that it wasn't a factor - a lot of the same people who were there then were there for the election, including the leader.
 
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