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

IdleRich

IdleRich
The Russian stuff - yeah I believe it happened. I don’t believe it was decisive.
Yeah the Russian stuff definitely happened.
We also know the overspend happened.
It seems pretty clear that the Cambridge Analytica stuff happened too.
Now it's great that you "believe" it didn't influence the result but I'd argue that if we KNOW cheating occurred but only BELIEVE that it didn't influence the result, that makes the result unsafe. Do you disagree?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
If Twitter was real Corbyn would be PM.
Putin doesn't strike me as the sort who'd spend money on something without a good expectation of some return on it.

And the report must be fairly damaging, or Johnson wouldn't have suppressed it, which is damaging in itself (to the approximately six people who still give a shit about that sort of thing.)

At such a tight margin, I think it's highly likely the result would have been different in the absence of these factors.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Moreover, if the rule of law simply doesn't matter any more, and laws can be broken with impunity by anyone with big enough balls to do so, then Labour (and progressives in general) are hobbling themselves by still playing by the rules when the other side isn't. Maybe Labour should just have Johnson assassinated and bomb Tory party HQ. Stage a coup of their own.
 
Last edited:

IdleRich

IdleRich
At such a tight margin, I think it's highly likely the result would have been different in the absence of these factors
Certainly it's plausible enough that it can't be shrugged off with "I doubt it mattered"

Moreover, if the rule of law simply doesn't matter any more...
This is what I'm trying to get at. Even if it didn't change the result then it doesn't mean we just go "Oh fine then". The point is if we don't discourage it then it will happen next time and the time after and in those cases it may affect the result - and each time it will be harder to complain about it. The elections we have need to be robust. Surely this is totally uncontroversial?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
This article from Private Eye is doing the rounds, if true (and I'd trust the Eye above ninety percent of other UK publications) then it kind of vindicates what I was saying about the tactical missteps made my Labour and Lib Dems before the election and in fact reveals the shocking levels of hubris and incompetence in the leadership which has brought us to this point.

PrivateEye.jpg
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
This article from Private Eye is doing the rounds, if true (and I'd trust the Eye above ninety percent of other UK publications) then it kind of vindicates what I was saying about the tactical missteps made my Labour and Lib Dems before the election and in fact reveals the shocking levels of hubris and incompetence in the leadership which has brought us to this point.

View attachment 2107
Ah but Rich, I think you're failing to see the bigger picture here, which is that the real fight starts now.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Yeah the Russian stuff definitely happened.
We also know the overspend happened.
It seems pretty clear that the Cambridge Analytica stuff happened too.
Now it's great that you "believe" it didn't influence the result but I'd argue that if we KNOW cheating occurred but only BELIEVE that it didn't influence the result, that makes the result unsafe. Do you disagree?
Overspend is a regular occurence in elections and it is very rare for anything to be done about it - certainly I cannot think of a single time that overspend in the UK has lead to the result of an election being overturned.

Same with dodgy postal votes.

I think the fundamental problem with the guessing going on about the Russian stuff is that all the Remainers think that the Russians were trying to induce a Brexit result. We can't know that - we can't determine their aims full stop. A plausible alternative is that they just wanted to use the referendum to stoke the culture war that is going on in the UK and didn't care what the result was.

So it is possible that Russian efforts had some influence on the referendum but it is hard to say what that was - and it is also hard to say what magnitude it had.

I deal with assessments in my current role and occasionally one of them is disrupted by building work next door. Every single time it happens a number of the candidates who have failed appeal against the result because of the noise. So somone here needs to work out whether the disruption was sufficient to change the outcome of the assessment. Sometimes their mark is adjusted and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes they get a free resit and sometimes they don't. So just because there has been disruption does not mean the result is unsafe. Sure as shit though - if people who passed the exam complain, we know we have a serious problem.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I think the fundamental problem with the guessing going on about the Russian stuff is that all the Remainers think that the Russians were trying to induce a Brexit result. We can't know that - we can't determine their aims full stop.
I would assume the reasoning goes something like:

* The UK is, for now, one of the senior partners in the EU; it's one of the three largest economies, along with France and Germany, has the largest military after France and Germany, and is one of only two nuclear-armed powers, along with France.
* It's a major NATO member state.
* It's the European country with by far the closest cultural and political links to the USA, for obvious reasons, and forms a sort of bridge between North America and continental Europe (and much of the wider world - Australia/NZ, Hong Kong, etc).
* The UK leaving the EU weakens both parties, and by extension weakens links between the USA and Europe, which weakens "the West" in general.
* Anything that weakens the West strengthens Russia by default.

Not exactly rocket science.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I would assume the reasoning goes something like...
Plus the less tangible but equally obvious point that Putin is all about white, culturally Christian ethnostates holding back the barbaric dusky hordes and resisting the pernicious influence of those rootless cosmopolitans. There is a clear confluence of interest between him, the Brexiteers here and Trump's supporters in the USA.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
What place does the traditional Murdoch-dominated media have in all this?

I dunno if their influence was overplayed in the past, but I wonder if you still have to suck up to RM nowadays to get elected (if you ever did)?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
That reasoning is fine and logically consistent. But that doesn't make it true.
Even ignoring the question of direct influence on the referendum, there's still the Petersburg troll farm and the hundreds of fake Twitter accounts, which have been pumping out a constant stream of pro-Brexit propaganda and disinformation for years:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...-run-fake-accounts-posted-bogus-brexit-tweets

The idea that there's any ambiguity in how Putin feels about the issue is pretty silly.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
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.
I went to North Wales over Christmas to see my partner's family. I saw a load of people there and none of them even mentioned the election or Brexit. These are not people who are reserved or scared of brining up difficult subjects. They just don't really give a monkeys about politics.

And most of them never went to University. So I doubt they care that much about student fees.

One of the biggest problems with politically engaged people in this country is that they vastly overestimate how interested in this stuff normal people are.

The whole Laura Kuenssberg / parliamentary soap opera just doesn't appeal to people more than Love Island.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
What place does the traditional Murdoch-dominated media have in all this?

I dunno if their influence was overplayed in the past, but I wonder if you still have to suck up to RM nowadays to get elected (if you ever did)?
I think the slow drip of anti-Corbyn material from Murdoch et al was definitely a factor. You can lay Corbyn=IRA squarely at his feet I think?

Blair understood this and it worked for him. Hard to know if that's a media empire in decline or not...
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
And most of them never went to University. So I doubt they care that much about student fees.
The argument that tuition fees are irrelevant to working-class people is a bit cart-before-the-horse, isn't it? Perhaps some of them might have liked to go to university if it wasn't so fucking expensive these days.

And I don't know where the whole "most people don't care about politics" argument really gets us. Millions of them cared enough to vote to leave the EU in 2016. Many of them may not care about Brexit any more, but they will care about it when there are massive layoffs after foreign investment dries up (a process that's already begun, of course), the price of damn near everything goes due to import tariffs and the weakened pound, infrastructure starts to crumble with the withdrawal of EU regional grants, and so on.

And those who aren't native white Brits have already been made to care by the big spike in racist hate crimes.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
The argument that tuition fees are irrelevant to working-class people is a bit cart-before-the-horse, isn't it? Perhaps some of them might have liked to go to university if it wasn't so fucking expensive these days.

And I don't know where the whole "most people don't care about politics" argument really gets us. Millions of them cared enough to vote to leave the EU in 2016. Many of them may not care about Brexit any more, but they will care about it when there are massive layoffs after foreign investment dries up (a process that's already begun, of course), the price of damn near everything goes due to import tariffs and the weakened pound, infrastructure starts to crumble with the withdrawal of EU regional grants, and so on.

And those who aren't native white Brits have already been made to care by the big spike in racist hate crimes.
The people I'm talking about hated school and left as soon as they were able to. Most of them did labouring jobs but a good few have now built up successful businesses. Two of them didn't have a single book in their house until they had kids.

Obviously they are intelligent and resourceful and absolutely have the capacity to do a degree. But they have never shown any inclination to do so. Funded apprenticeships / T-levels etc is a bit more like it.

Making University education central to the culture wars is a grave error.

To be politically effective you have to understand where people are at. This is one reason why the legions of twtterati triumphalist graduates bringing socialism to the masses was such a spectacular failure.

Of course politics affects people. The problem is that a lot of people are so used to being waterboarded by life that they feel powerless to do anything about it.

They don't believe you when you tell them that they will get free broadband.
 
Top