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The Politics Thread 2020

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1 hour ago, Alf Bentley said:

 

You make some good points and it would certainly be a tough task for Labour to win a majority in 2024, but you overstate your case, I think.

 

I agree that Labour should be doing more in Scotland, though how much that would achieve short-term I'm not sure. Scotland seems polarised  re. independence and the SNP, making Labour's "union but devolution" stance irrelevant. But a lot will happen in Scotland before 2024: civil war has broken out in the SNP; it's unclear that Sturgeon will still be leader in 2024 or what the SNP will do if Johnson blocks a referendum; meanwhile he is personally unpopular in Scotland and a number of Tory seats are fishing areas, hardly benefiting from Brexit so far. Certainly cannot assume Labour gains in Scotland, but we can assume a lot of turbulence - and some chance of a Labour comeback under a new Scottish Labour leader who seems better than the old one.

 

Labour suffered a bad defeat in 1992 but in 1997 won a majority of 179. You say that Blair "struggled" to make major inroads in the South, but Labour won an absolute majority of seats in England in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Not easy to repeat, but not impossible either. Plus, even under the disastrous Corbyn leadership, Labour made a handful of gains in the South - that drift of urban/southern seats to Labour might continue, particularly if the Lib Dems continue to make little impact and the Tory Govt has to take unpopular decisions or makes incompetent ones in the next 3 years.

 

Labour might seem in "no man's land" at the moment in the policy areas you mention. But there's every reason to think most of those policy areas will become more difficult for the Tories: economic issues post-Covid; expectations re. Brexit benefits & reduced immigration & crime; possible tax rises or failure to "level up"; inability, as a medium-sized power to influence USA, China, Russia etc. What happened with the purported NHS sell-off was that the Govt didn't do the promised trade deal with the USA and Trump got booted out......neither of which necessarily makes life easier for the Tories re. trade & influence.

 

On the other hand, you're right that boundary changes will make things even tougher. Also, for the first time recently, Johnson has started to look like he can "do serious": i.e. present a sober, serious, even difficult message to the public. That's seriously bad news for Labour as previously he seemed only good for what is now called "boosterism" (unfounded optimism, humour, "charismatic" entertainment and breezy dismissals of gloom). There could be a lot of "serious" to be done in the next 3 years, so that's bad news for Labour if Johnson has developed some ability to do that.

 

I'm not predicting some glorious Labour comeback. I'd just say there's a massive amount of uncertainty in turbulent, difficult times for an incumbent govt. It's by no means impossible that circumstances and good strategy could conspire to produce a Labour majority in 2024 - and the Tories losing their majority looks distinctly possible. Who would they then rely on to prop them up? Personally, I'd welcome a Labour-led minority in 2024, not least as other parties might force electoral reform on them. It was insane hubris of Labour to renege on the promised electoral reform referendum in 1997, when it might have been won.

Some good points.

 

Regarding Scotland at the moment I think Labour are in the worst position possible.  They are barely functional as an opposition to the nationalists and seem to be more on the side of appeasement. (personally because I think they have come to the conclusion they'll need to form a coalition with them to gain a majority in Westminster). This strategy does nothing to win back votes from the SNP nor is attractive to the Unionist vote in Scotland who lets not forget were the majority in 2014.  Sure it's likely that the Conservatives may lose more seats in Scotland at the next GE due to splits in the Unionist vote but it won't have a drastic effect on them unlike Labour.

 

As for 1992, Labour won 42 seats and reduced the Majors majority to just 21.  The Conservatives were in total disarray in 1997 and Labour were on the up, they'd made big gains in 1992 and had Scotland, Wales, the North and Midlands solidly under control.  Blair knew by dragging Labour to the centre the door was wide open which proved to be the case with New Labour.  Next time Labour won't have that foundation.  Indeed the taboo of never voting Tory is utterly broken in former solid red seats.  Let's also not make out that 2019 was a flash in the pan in those seats, they'd been slowly turning blue for over a decade.  2019 was just the dam breaking.  

 

As I said previously, without those 50+ Scottish seats, the task for Labour is hellish.  For example, based on Electoral Calculus, with boundary conditions favouring Labour, reversing the 2019 election to give Labour an 11.7% lead over the Conservatives, Labour would still be 3 short of a majority.  Indeed to get a working majority of at least 20, Labour would need to win by over 14.5%  Tony Blair won by 12.5% in 1997.  Is it possible?  Of course, but considering the government currently sits with 8 point lead after enduring one of the biggest crisis since the 2nd world war it's looking extremely difficult.

 

Finally as for the NHS, I swear every single Labour opposition has screamed about the Conservatives selling it off to the Americans.  It's simply not a vote winner anymore!

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3 hours ago, Alf Bentley said:

Labour suffered a bad defeat in 1992 but in 1997 won a majority of 179. You say that Blair "struggled" to make major inroads in the South, but Labour won an absolute majority of seats in England in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Not easy to repeat, but not impossible either. Plus, even under the disastrous Corbyn leadership, Labour made a handful of gains in the South - that drift of urban/southern seats to Labour might continue, particularly if the Lib Dems continue to make little impact and the Tory Govt has to take unpopular decisions or makes incompetent ones in the next 3 years.


If the Conservatives winning a majority of 21, down from 102 in ‘92 was a bad defeat, what is the Conservatives winning a majority of 80, up from no majority? You’re comparing chalk and cheese there. And of course, post 92 the thing that did for the Conservatives beyond repair was the ERM. I’m not naive enough to think some similar, huge, flash event is beyond the realms of possibility this time around. Heck 2017 shows how things can swing pretty quickly. 

Black Wednesday was particularly punishing because it related to an issue that was so central to the government. Sure, maybe Brexit could do similar if it really goes south, although it being linked to identity makes it less likely.

 

But then they’ve already had a huge event to capitalise on so you can possibly see the mess that Labour are in, probably an image problem in many parts, in that they’ve not managed to get a sustained poll lead despite the compete shitshow of most of the pandemic and any hint of good news ends up producing polls where they fall back. The vaccination programme could end up producing a lasting halo effect as well. Fine, you might point to the fact no government, even in badly affected countries, has particularly suffered in the polls and therefore it would be unfair to suggest this highlights a problem for Labour.

 

Maybe post-pandemic is where you are able to take advantage and people wanting the government to do well wanes. The budget tomorrow might give us some clues as to what could happen. Will the public be perturbed by it and will Labour manage to land some blows? Given the mess they’ve already made of their response to corporation tax rising in that they signalled opposition to it and then added loads of caveats back in to not really oppose it without actually saying anything(very similar to Brexit policy in 2019), it doesn’t look promising so far.

 

 
 

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2 hours ago, LiberalFox said:

I just don't really see it for Labour, I also think they overestimate the actual impact of Corbyn in the last election, just don't see Labour being popular anywhere.

ach, these things go in waves. Conservatives under Hague and IDS were dead as a dodo. But people tire of a one party state. 

 

Blair and Mandelson's 'new labour'rebrand will be what comes next. 

 

If Labour could rebrand itself into a 21st centurynscandinstyle beast; social market economy/ social.capitalism / social democratic vibe (tax the Starbucks, more employee stakeholding, green policies, ethical investing,  encourage cottage industries and flexible working) it'd be game over for a decade or so for the Tories (who are where they are for picking up on an anti establishment (tory anti establishment ffs!) vibe)

 

 

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@BlueSi13 @Kopfkino

 

I'm not for a minute denying that Labour are in a difficult spot at the moment - and that it'd be a very tough task for them to win a majority in 2024. They're also in a mess in Scotland.

If there was an election in the next year or more, the Tories would probably win - with an outside chance of a hung parliament at best.

 

But an awful lot might (or might not) change by 2024: post-Covid economy; tough tax/spend/deficit decisions; Brexit fallout; volatile Scottish scenario etc.

Of course, some or most of those might go well for the Tories & other things might go badly for Labour (e.g. internal infighting). I'm just saying it's not cut and dried for 2024.....we'll see.

 

2019 was a disastrous defeat for Labour, but 2 of the main factors in that may apply a lot less by 2024: "Get Brexit done" may no longer seem such a great idea & Corbyn will hopefully be a distant memory.

Combine those with 1 or 2 important things going badly for the Tories (e.g. economy, Brexit, disputes over tax v. deficit v. levelling up) or things going well for Labour (e.g. good leadership, damage to reputation of SNP) & it gets interesting.

 

I called 1992 a "bad defeat" for Labour because they had genuine hopes of at least a hung parliament (predicted by polls), the Tories had lost some reputation via poll tax etc. & had replaced election-winning Thatcher with the unexceptional Major.

Preceding election results notwithstanding, Labour had better hopes to do well in 1992 than in 2019, given the popular "get Brexit done" message, Corbyn's unpopularity etc.

 

After a disappointing result in 1992, Labour went on in 1997 to gain 145 seats and the Tories to lose 171. Yes, the Tories had Black Wednesday & were shambolic and Labour had a popular new leader post-94 - and it's not likely to be repeated.

But, even after boundary changes, the Tories would only need to lose about 50-60 seats in 2024 to lose their majority.

 

That might not happen - and a Lab majority is much longer odds. Lots of things might go right for the Tories and wrong for Labour in the next 3 years......but if it's the other way round, things get interesting - and the Tories face a lot of risks.

You've partly answered your own question re. the "huge event to capitalise on", Kopf: the incumbency bounce & vaccination halo may last. But if not, and if post-Covid/Brexit economic/tax & spend issues get rough and/or there's a lot of focus on bad stuff earlier in the Covid response, Govt popularity may not last. I find it impossible to judge how the Scottish independence / SNP turmoil will play out....we'll know more within a few months, I suppose.

 

 

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I find the question of “How do Labour come back” an interesting one, but difficult to answer on some levels. I’d say...

 

- Regarding their performance in Scotland, I think the impact of that is whether they’d get an outright majority or a Labour/SNP coalition. Which I think they’d get as long as they offered the SNP an independence referendum as part of the deal. Whether that threat would impact their provincial vote in England, I’m not sure. It might put some people off, including me.

 

- Maybe personal bias showing but they have to get away and stay away from Corbyn’s politics. I’d agree with the poster earlier who said the influence of Corbyn the man was overdone, because I think the big issue is with his politics, and that they’ll be off-putting regardless of the mouthpiece. At least they will to me.

 

- Regardless of the above, they still have to have a message that progressive people, of whom I see many posters on these pages, can get behind. It may not have worked for Corbyn, but they need to find a way of capturing the centre ground while still offering a social vision. I won’t pretend for a moment that that is easy, or that I know what it would be. But they don’t want to be leaking too many votes to other left-leaning parties.

 

- I think a change in Conservative leadership would benefit them. As much as I find fault in Boris, I suspect I’d be in a minority among his voters at the last election, and that a lot of people out there would still find him personable and charismatic. There’s something about him that seems to make people go “ahh, he’s trying his best”. I do appreciate how irritating that will be. But there are many potential leadership candidates that voters won’t get behind, like what happened to the more competent but less charismatic Theresa May. The problem for them is that the left of the Tory party look boring (like Starmer does on the other side) while the right of the party look like ghouls. Leadership of the Tories in the next election could well be very important for Labour.

 

- I have a theory that social media doesn’t help the left at elections, because it alienates people so easily. While the right may be in control of governance, the left are in control of the likes of Twitter, and therefore the right still feel besieged and are automatically grouped together to defeat them. (I use left and right in a very general sense here.) Every time I see a left winger successfully and eloquently tearing into a right winger on social media, or sites like the Poke, etc., I see another vote going to the Conservatives at the next election. Again, I appreciate this is difficult when people want to argue against something they feel to be desperately wrong. The only advice I could offer there is to be inclusive and respectful rather than angry and derogatory, but unfortunately social media doesn’t lend itself to that.

 

- Be strong on security and the economy. I was thinking the other day how Labour politicians look mostly like the kind you’d want in charge of services - health, education, environmental policy, etc., while the Tories are traditionally the ones to take the roles of Home Secretary, Foreign secretary and Chancellor, the big offices of state. I think patriots can be convinced to vote Labour these days as long as they’re seen as a safe pair of hands for the primary functions of the country. A big thing for the Tories at the last election was to talk a lot about health and the NHS. They were aware of their weak spot and made great strides to cover it. Labour must do the same.

 

- Finally, have a strong and united team that people can get behind. Accept that you are going to meet resistance from the likes of the Mail and the Telegraph, but rise above it. And make sure they’re offering many people something that they themselves want, not what they’re being told they should want. If people want a preacher, they’ll find a priest and not a politician.

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12 minutes ago, Dunge said:

Maybe personal bias showing but they have to get away and stay away from Corbyn’s politics. I’d agree with the poster earlier who said the influence of Corbyn the man was overdone, because I think the big issue is with his politics, and that they’ll be off-putting regardless of the mouthpiece. At least they will to me.


What do they need to get away from? Okay yeah they need to stop being scared of the Union Jack and waving Palestinian flags at conference, dial down the social progressivism for progressivism’s sake cos the activists are bored on a Sunday, and professionalise it all a bit more but actually the main cut-and-thrust of Corbynism is exactly what they should be banging on about still.

 

All it needs is a more respectable messenger and a better narrative, Corbyn did the hard work of ‘winning the argument’. It’s hard to disentangle how much of it was Labour’s doing and how much of it was just how bad Theresa May was, but 2017 was a strong enough showing despite the unease around Corbyn. Corbyn tanked further and they ****ed it on Brexit for 2019, pulling it all apart but 2017 shouldn’t be overlooked

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21 minutes ago, Kopfkino said:


What do they need to get away from? Okay yeah they need to stop being scared of the Union Jack and waving Palestinian flags at conference, dial down the social progressivism for progressivism’s sake cos the activists are bored on a Sunday, and professionalise it all a bit more but actually the main cut-and-thrust of Corbynism is exactly what they should be banging on about still.

 

All it needs is a more respectable messenger and a better narrative, Corbyn did the hard work of ‘winning the argument’. It’s hard to disentangle how much of it was Labour’s doing and how much of it was just how bad Theresa May was, but 2017 was a strong enough showing despite the unease around Corbyn. Corbyn tanked further and they ****ed it on Brexit for 2019, pulling it all apart but 2017 shouldn’t be overlooked

Apologies for the further long post here...
 

I’ve always found the “winning the argument” stuff an interesting description. Maybe he did and I missed it, but I was never convinced that he managed it. Granted his supporters out-argued people on social media, but I’ve always thought that was more defeating people rather than winning arguments. It might have felt good, but wasn’t actually gaining anything or winning an idea in any meaningful way. What I think he did in 2017 was blindside the Conservatives, with Theresa May convinced she was going to cruise to a massive victory. Essentially, she wanted the power to ignore one wing or other of her own party, which is a poor reason to vote for someone. Calling the election merely on that basis was arrogant, and the British public punished that arrogance as the Brits always like to do. (And damn right too.)

 

Regarding the main part of what turns me off Corbynism - It’s certainly partly what you describe: All the excessively woke stuff, the apparent obsession with Palestine, the progressivism for progressivism’s sake. Plus an overriding sense that I should be apologising for ever daring to vote Conservative in the past, and narratives that I couldn’t possibly be voting in what I genuinely believed to be the best interests of the country and the people in it by doing so. I loathed the expression “For the many, not the few”. The analogy I always made with that was to imagine it was the mission statement of the BNP and see how it looked then. Any government worth its salt should be wanting to govern for the good of all, not to open rifts. It always felt to me that Corbyn’s followers gave off an aura of hatred, and that (although I am not rich) if I wasn’t in the firing lines already then I soon would be. And I couldn’t possibly vote for that.

I fully believed Corbyn’s Labour would be aggressive with taxation, particularly with businesses and “the rich”, would likely be anti-business and chase off wealth from the country, causing big rises in unemployment and ultimately inflation. I was convinced they would severely damage the economy. Ultimately, and ironically, Covid has done that anyway.

I’m not a fan of nationalisation, although I could have accepted one or two targeted things. I got the impression from Labour that they wanted to nationalise everything as soon as possible, money no object. Plus they would throw further money at any good cause going because they were afraid of being “the bad guys”, much like they did with their promise to the Waspi women.

I didn’t trust Labour with security, and I was convinced that management of the country’s defences - yes, nukes - would be the first commitment out of the window as soon as the administration needed money, which they would. This would have been particularly pronounced if they had to do a deal with the SNP, which again I was convinced they would - there was no way Corbyn and McDonnell were giving up the promise of power and their agenda for the sake of a Scottish independence vote and a welcome get-out on defence promises.

 

But as I say, perhaps that’s my bias showing. I couldn’t say for certain that every potential voter out there would reject it. I’m not arguing that Labour shouldn’t be left-leaning, or socially progressive, or show commitment to a more equal society with perhaps higher taxation for the rich and better public services, maybe even a nationalisation or two. I can appreciate those ideas. They may not come naturally to me but I’m not completely against them. But Corbynism was all that on steroids, and with a great undercurrent of anger with which I did not identify. I remember a party political broadcast from them where they were playing a song that went “rise up”, as in against your Conservative masters. It simply wasn’t a narrative I agreed with, and worse - it was a narrative I could see leading to much bigger problems, similar (although I’d state for clarity clearly less damaging) to how Trump has whipped up his supporters and mobs in America.

 

If Keir Starmer wants my vote - and I am genuinely listening, and finding him quite likeable and a decent statesman if a bit grey - then I need to be convinced that Labour isn’t going to slip back down that path again before we get the chance to oust them at a future election. It’s a big ask, and I’m not convinced they can do it. But as I say, I am listening.

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2 hours ago, Dunge said:

- I have a theory that social media doesn’t help the left at elections, because it alienates people so easily. While the right may be in control of governance, the left are in control of the likes of Twitter, and therefore the right still feel besieged and are automatically grouped together to defeat them. (I use left and right in a very general sense here.) Every time I see a left winger successfully and eloquently tearing into a right winger on social media, or sites like the Poke, etc., I see another vote going to the Conservatives at the next election. Again, I appreciate this is difficult when people want to argue against something they feel to be desperately wrong. The only advice I could offer there is to be inclusive and respectful rather than angry and derogatory, but unfortunately social media doesn’t lend itself to that.

When I see the "hard Left" on social media it's a lot of: "If you're not in the Corbyn/Socialist bubble, fook off, you're Tories really." They don't reach out to the middle ground, the centrists, the wavering voters - in fact they alienate the more right-leaning, softer Labour voters. Abusing the people you need on board to win elections is not a smart move. The Tories, with an 80 seat majority, should be able to edge through the next GE unless they spectacularly fook things up (and I say 'fook things up' in the eyes of the moderates in this country). They could be in power until 2029. That would mean Labour has been in charge for 13 years out of 50. They need to assess whether they want to actually govern the country or just be student union activists. They can't do both.

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7 minutes ago, Voll Blau said:

I think what the past couple of pages of this thread has shown me is that we all put way too much stock in what gobshites on Twitter say and massively overestimate how many people they actually represent.

Hear hear. Trouble is it's spreading to news reporters now too, common to see "social media is showing..." :sleep:

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20 minutes ago, Innovindil said:

Hear hear. Trouble is it's spreading to news reporters now too, common to see "social media is showing..." :sleep:

I hate the term "lazy journalism" as it's frequently used inaccurately, but that really is the prime example of it.

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56 minutes ago, Voll Blau said:

I think what the past couple of pages of this thread has shown me is that we all put way too much stock in what gobshites on Twitter say and massively overestimate how many people they actually represent.

 

48 minutes ago, Innovindil said:

Hear hear. Trouble is it's spreading to news reporters now too, common to see "social media is showing..." :sleep:

While I'd tentatively agree, I wouldn't underestimate the power of social media in general.

 

Populists over the last few years didn't get elected because of their representation in "old" media, after all.

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4 minutes ago, leicsmac said:

 

While I'd tentatively agree, I wouldn't underestimate the power of social media in general.

 

Populists over the last few years didn't get elected because of their representation in "old" media, after all.

Funny, I thought media companies like fox news had a large part in the rise of trumpet. 

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1 hour ago, Voll Blau said:

I think what the past couple of pages of this thread has shown me is that we all put way too much stock in what gobshites on Twitter say and massively overestimate how many people they actually represent.

If Social Media was representative of the population then the tories would have lost the last four general elections. 

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Johnson making a tit of himself at PMQs as usual by criticising Starmer for asking him about people starving to death in a war-torn country instead of any number of shitshows going on at home that he'd presumably been briefed on.

 

I wonder which one of his long, rambling, pre-prepared "zingers" we missed out on hearing as a result... :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, Innovindil said:

Funny, I thought media companies like fox news had a large part in the rise of trumpet. 

Of the leading media outlets, it was the only one that gave him much headway.

 

Not that they're not influential, but I would say a lot of the rise of Trump could be traced back to successful utilisation of and marketing using alternative media sources, including social media.

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4 hours ago, Voll Blau said:

I think what the past couple of pages of this thread has shown me is that we all put way too much stock in what gobshites on Twitter say and massively overestimate how many people they actually represent.

 

3 hours ago, leicsmac said:

 

While I'd tentatively agree, I wouldn't underestimate the power of social media in general.

 

Populists over the last few years didn't get elected because of their representation in "old" media, after all.

The most depressing thing about Twitter is that it gives disproportionate power to relatively small mobs of very angry and very, very silly people. Every single day there’s a new outrage mob trying to ‘cancel’ someone for something, often very trivial things or a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of what someone said or did. I call it miserablism. 

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9 minutes ago, urban.spaceman said:

 

The most depressing thing about Twitter is that it gives disproportionate power to relatively small mobs of very angry and very, very silly people. Every single day there’s a new outrage mob trying to ‘cancel’ someone for something, often very trivial things or a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of what someone said or did. I call it miserablism. 

I just wish there was more accountability for "trivial" things in the first place, thus negating the Twitter mob.

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13 hours ago, UpTheLeagueFox said:

When I see the "hard Left" on social media it's a lot of: "If you're not in the Corbyn/Socialist bubble, fook off, you're Tories really." They don't reach out to the middle ground, the centrists, the wavering voters - in fact they alienate the more right-leaning, softer Labour voters. Abusing the people you need on board to win elections is not a smart move. The Tories, with an 80 seat majority, should be able to edge through the next GE unless they spectacularly fook things up (and I say 'fook things up' in the eyes of the moderates in this country). They could be in power until 2029. That would mean Labour has been in charge for 13 years out of 50. They need to assess whether they want to actually govern the country or just be student union activists. They can't do both.

In the aftermath of the 2019 election a friend of mine, who went down the socialism/Corbyn rabbit hole years ago, posted this on Facebook. The comment below it genuinely irked me because it was so insane:

 

IMG_0889.thumb.jpeg.5ad71e63349c198905f3c030f9f48636.jpeg

 

So I replied asking if we could have neither communism or Nazism, aaaaand so they called me a “centrist cvnt” and blocked me. 

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3 minutes ago, urban.spaceman said:

 I replied asking if we could have neither communism or Nazism, aaaaand so they called me a “centrist cvnt” and blocked me. 

Blimey. I really don't see the problem having moderate political views. The majority of the country have them.

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1 minute ago, UpTheLeagueFox said:

Blimey. I really don't see the problem having moderate political views. The majority of the country have them.

The UK is actually pretty moderate for the most part (in terms of social issues anyway), compared to other places.

 

Unfortunately the UK isn't the world and some issues are felt globally.

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12 hours ago, UpTheLeagueFox said:

When I see the "hard Left" on social media it's a lot of: "If you're not in the Corbyn/Socialist bubble, fook off, you're Tories really." They don't reach out to the middle ground, the centrists, the wavering voters - in fact they alienate the more right-leaning, softer Labour voters. Abusing the people you need on board to win elections is not a smart move. The Tories, with an 80 seat majority, should be able to edge through the next GE unless they spectacularly fook things up (and I say 'fook things up' in the eyes of the moderates in this country). They could be in power until 2029. That would mean Labour has been in charge for 13 years out of 50. They need to assess whether they want to actually govern the country or just be student union activists. They can't do both.

 

I was on the end of such accusations on Facebook the other day. Someone posted a couple of memes declaring Starmer to be a Tory. This was on the grounds that: (1) he'd opposed an immediate rise in Corporation Tax; (2) he'd not called for Hancock's resignation after he was declared to have acted illegally over Covid contracts; (3) he was rumoured to have threatened Labour councillors with disciplinary action if they set illegal council budgets.

 

I pointed out that (1) boosting demand during a downturn by raising public spending & keeping taxes low is centre-left Keynesian economics; (2) Replacing Hancock mid-Covid with some other Tory would be pointless & disruptive during a crisis, plus the Govt had the votes to ignore the idea - plus it's good politics to keep Hancock in post to face the music of the inevitable investigation into Covid response; (3) Councils setting illegal budgets didn't work out well under Derek Hatton in 1980s Liverpool.

 

Only one bloke engaged with those arguments rationally (and only via PM) - and it's perfectly possible to construct rational arguments against my points. Most simply piled in, repeating how "Oppositions should oppose", Starmer was a Tory plant and the lovechild of Blair and Boris. One bloke referred to me as "your Tory friend", then told me I was "a hypocrite" for making those points and should go straight to my local Conservative Party to join up (I'm an inactive Labour Party member). lol

 

I can laugh about that as I'm now a gnarled old git who doesn't give a crap about personal abuse from strangers online. But that wouldn't have been true when I was a shy, sensitive young chap starting out - and it must put off an awful lot of people who find it unpleasant to be on the end of such abuse and irrational polarisation.

 

I assume it must also happen on the Right to some extent? There's an obvious semi-equivalent with Trump in the USA, but I'm guessing that any UK Tory arguing for Remain, a 2nd referendum or May's Deal will have taken some abuse from the Hard Brexit crew in Tory ranks? But it does seem more prevalent on the Left here.

 

I'm interested in the psychology of this. Because most such people mouthing off on social media are not members of any Hard Left group (though those producing the memes are often from Hard Left/Trotskyite factions). Apart from a committed and manipulative minority, I think most are motivated by a sort of mob narcissism: it makes them feel good about themselves to be part of a mob loudly denouncing an approved list of malign influences (Tories, Labour moderates, Brexiteers, "Gammon", "Zionists", "Transphobes" etc.). But it's not even about finding a good strategy to defeat those "malign influences".....it doesn't matter whether they're defeated, what matters is that those doing the denouncing feel they are good guys who are in the morally righteous mob.

 

I laugh about it to an extent, but it is damaging - and not only to the chances of Labour regaining power. It harms engagement in politics and debate - essential to democracy. Imagine a politically-interested young woman/man who is a bit sensitive or lacking in self-assurance. This sort of hostile, polarising crap must be very offputting to such people - putting them off from expressing any views that might attract hostility and maybe even from involving themselves in politics on any level.

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4 minutes ago, Alf Bentley said:

 

I was on the end of such accusations on Facebook the other day. Someone posted a couple of memes declaring Starmer to be a Tory. This was on the grounds that: (1) he'd opposed an immediate rise in Corporation Tax; (2) he'd not called for Hancock's resignation after he was declared to have acted illegally over Covid contracts; (3) he was rumoured to have threatened Labour councillors with disciplinary action if they set illegal council budgets.

 

I pointed out that (1) boosting demand during a downturn by raising public spending & keeping taxes low is centre-left Keynesian economics; (2) Replacing Hancock mid-Covid with some other Tory would be pointless & disruptive during a crisis, plus the Govt had the votes to ignore the idea - plus it's good politics to keep Hancock in post to face the music of the inevitable investigation into Covid response; (3) Councils setting illegal budgets didn't work out well under Derek Hatton in 1980s Liverpool.

 

Only one bloke engaged with those arguments rationally (and only via PM) - and it's perfectly possible to construct rational arguments against my points. Most simply piled in, repeating how "Oppositions should oppose", Starmer was a Tory plant and the lovechild of Blair and Boris. One bloke referred to me as "your Tory friend", then told me I was "a hypocrite" for making those points and should go straight to my local Conservative Party to join up (I'm an inactive Labour Party member). lol

 

I can laugh about that as I'm now a gnarled old git who doesn't give a crap about personal abuse from strangers online. But that wouldn't have been true when I was a shy, sensitive young chap starting out - and it must put off an awful lot of people who find it unpleasant to be on the end of such abuse and irrational polarisation.

 

I assume it must also happen on the Right to some extent? There's an obvious semi-equivalent with Trump in the USA, but I'm guessing that any UK Tory arguing for Remain, a 2nd referendum or May's Deal will have taken some abuse from the Hard Brexit crew in Tory ranks? But it does seem more prevalent on the Left here.

 

I'm interested in the psychology of this. Because most such people mouthing off on social media are not members of any Hard Left group (though those producing the memes are often from Hard Left/Trotskyite factions). Apart from a committed and manipulative minority, I think most are motivated by a sort of mob narcissism: it makes them feel good about themselves to be part of a mob loudly denouncing an approved list of malign influences (Tories, Labour moderates, Brexiteers, "Gammon", "Zionists", "Transphobes" etc.). But it's not even about finding a good strategy to defeat those "malign influences".....it doesn't matter whether they're defeated, what matters is that those doing the denouncing feel they are good guys who are in the morally righteous mob.

 

I laugh about it to an extent, but it is damaging - and not only to the chances of Labour regaining power. It harms engagement in politics and debate - essential to democracy. Imagine a politically-interested young woman/man who is a bit sensitive or lacking in self-assurance. This sort of hostile, polarising crap must be very offputting to such people - putting them off from expressing any views that might attract hostility and maybe even from involving themselves in politics on any level.

The internet is based off getting clicks/likes/follows. The more extreme you go the more interest (good or bad) is shown into what you write which eventually translates into more money.

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