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

  1. #16
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    Well I mean forgive me but there WAS a single issue referendum already and whilst the margin was slim, it was still decisive.
    Yeah but...

    You said that people voted TWICE to leave, they didn't
    We know that the result of the first referendum was unsafe as the winning side has been convicted of cheating by overspend (and very likely cheated by stealing data, lying etc plus refusal to release Russia report).
    All the evidence suggests that there is now and has been for a long time a larger Remain majority than Leave ever received.

    I'm staggered that you would use the result of the referendum as some kind of moral guide to what we ought to be doing when it only stands by some kind of legal jiggery-pokery which says it can't be struck down cos it was non-binding but yet we must follow it cos it's the will of the people which binds us all.

    I mean, I agree with what you say about what is going to happen now and that tactics should be chosen very carefully (ie what you say about a kind of two-fold attack may achieve neither) but to me it's vital that we constantly draw attention to the total lack of legitimacy of the Brexit vote and absolutely avoid saying what you did above.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    Is Graeber even a Labour supporter though? I genuinely don't know but last time I checked he was an anarchist lecturer or something.
    He's an anarchist anthropologist (he wrote, in fact, a book called Toward Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology that I read many years back). More recently he's written mainly on managerialism, bureaucracy ("bullshit jobs"), etc. He's currently a prof @ the LSE but I doubt he can vote in British elections, and he definitely wouldn't support Labour in anything other than a tactical sense.

    The hypothesis of carer-managerial internal divide in centrism is interesting, and however accurate it is (idk) certainly highlights the incredibly ruinous long-term effects of Labour, Democrats, etc effectively abandoning working-class people and issues. And that certainly has much to do in a structural sense with those parties' shocking inability to contest Trump, Brexit/Johnson, etc. Otoh, idk if it's really the kind of granular/tactical post-election autopsy people here (seem) more interested in.

    Tho, I guess the point is if you're structurally fucked the rest doesn't matter

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  4. #18
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    I've fallen into this trap before and said that because turnout at an election was less than 50%, actually the anarchists won. But that is cloud cuckooland stuff in terms of what is actually going to happen next.
    I'm certainly not arguing that Remain won. What I'm saying is that rather than your "we had a vote, let's just move on" approach, I think it's crucial to repeatedly assert that where we are now is based on specific lies and corruption and overseas interference and that this should be the basis of whatever the next steps are.

  5. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Yeah but...

    You said that people voted TWICE to leave, they didn't
    We know that the result of the first referendum was unsafe as the winning side has been convicted of cheating by overspend (and very likely cheated by stealing data, lying etc plus refusal to release Russia report).
    All the evidence suggests that there is now and has been for a long time a larger Remain majority than Leave ever received.

    I'm staggered that you would use the result of the referendum as some kind of moral guide to what we ought to be doing when it only stands by some kind of legal jiggery-pokery which says it can't be struck down cos it was non-binding but yet we must follow it cos it's the will of the people which binds us all.

    I mean, I agree with what you say about what is going to happen now and that tactics should be chosen very carefully (ie what you say about a kind of two-fold attack may achieve neither) but to me it's vital that we constantly draw attention to the total lack of legitimacy of the Brexit vote and absolutely avoid saying what you did above.
    For me this isn't a question of what I think. It's a more a question of "what does this LOOK like".

    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.
    There were irregularities
    It was the Russians
    We need to rejoin the EU

    Especially as by doing so you will line up with some absolute nutcase EU-beret wearing people.

    This absolutely dovetails with exactly the kind of metropolitan elite technocrat stuff that Brexit voters hate.

    I mean I know I've never been a big fan of the EU and was briefly one of the only people on here considering voting for Brexit so that will colour my view.

    But it really does look like that narrative is going to be the successful one and everything else smacks of sour grapes. It took 40 years for us to leave the EU and there is no way we are rejoining it any time soon. Although Scotland might.


    You can't move from [convince people the referendum was a mistake] -> [rejoin] -> [a fairer more socialist UK]

    You might move from [christ things are awful how did this happen WTF] -> [mild social reform] -> [making things better in some respects] -> [a broadening of political horizons] -> [reconsider our relationship with the EU]

  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    I'm certainly not arguing that Remain won. What I'm saying is that rather than your "we had a vote, let's just move on" approach, I think it's crucial to repeatedly assert that where we are now is based on specific lies and corruption and overseas interference and that this should be the basis of whatever the next steps are.
    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.

    There's a difference between being morally righteous and being politically effective. I don't make the rules.

  7. #21
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    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.

  8. #22
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    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.
    Last edited by IdleRich; 14-01-2020 at 04:01 PM.

  9. #23
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    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.

  10. #24
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    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.

  11. #25
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    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.

  12. #26
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    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.

  13. #27
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    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".

  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    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).

  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by woops
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  16. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    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".
    Quote Originally Posted by woops
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