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Thursday 13 February 2020

Thoughts on Thursday: The UK election fallout

So, I had planned to respond immediately after the election result last year. However, I only really had fury for the majority that had been either convinced by misinformation (and therefore failed at self-knowledge) or were otherwise complicit in a Tory majority (and therefore failed at self-analysis). News outlets were keen to portray this as a 'Brexit election' and this sentiment seemed to rule the day, whether it was true or not. I had been fairly convinced of a hung parliament being the result, with the possibility of a left-leaning coalition, but that was not to be. A single majority was the most surprising result that one could have envisaged really, as elsewhere across the globe (albeit, only where voting for more than one or two parties is possible) there seems to be a movement towards a centralising or collective type approach in politics with countries being run by an awkward 'federation' of competing parties. Indeed, I was starting to be convinced that this wasn't such a bad thing, as it stops one party with one leader making whatever they want law and directing the entire country towards whatever they wish. Sadly that is exactly the way we are going again in the UK.

Link to the Wiki election result page here

I suppose that instead of strengthening support for parties outside of the 'Big Two' and marking a move towards this collation government approach, that instead we found ourselves being focused on a presidential leadership race again. Something positively heralded by the Tories, awkwardly mismanaged by Labour, and destructively embraced by the Lib Dems. This thought and approach comes, I suggest, from the American handlers of the Tory party and their wish for a state-run propaganda channel like Fox News.

Also helping the Tories were the "other racist parties," namely Farage's Brexit party, UKIP, and smaller factions. Farage did not stand, proving once again that despite all his talk his ultimate goal is political destabilisation and thus he is a 'useful idiot'. Farage also ruled that the Brexit party would not stand against the Tories in key seats in an effort to help "get Brexit done." If by that, he meant, get the Tories a majority then they were indeed successful. Another help was the final and hilarious destruction of UKIP from within. The interim leader Pat Mountain giving once of the worst political interviews recorded in history, which if you watch the video you will see is no exaggeration. This fundamentally undermined; her own leadership, her party, and the value of the continuing existence of said party. So, something that many others have been trying to do for some time, but in only 8 minutes. The key line was Pat Mountain describing UKIP and the Brexit party as "other racist parties." Comedy gold.

Catherine Tate's 'Nan' character       UKIP interim leader Pat Mountain
Final helper for the Tories was probably the most vital. I said "being focused" a moment ago and this work was done by the media. It's slightly odd that public opinion is still so swayed by that of billionaire press barons, but evidently this is still the case. Possibly because public engagement with politics is flat lining, this means that simply adopting the opinion of 'everyone else' (as you are told) is easier than investigating and coming up with your own political opinion? But how can this be? Because surely we were told of the 'rising up' of the youth, that because of the internet that young people were being re-engaged into politics and talking more of an interest?

Well, although I might now start sounding like a broken record. I do not think that social media does anything positive to increase political awareness. Indeed, quite the opposite, it makes people 'gamify' this otherwise important part of their life into an 'App'. As if sending a few likes or comments is the same as engaging directly with another of the opposite opinion. I hear political conversations much less now in public as, I suggest, people are made overly concerned with the possibility of stoking division (as the press call it) and the last thing most people want is an active conflict. Certainly not one that they have to actually deal with. Now making a fuss online where there are no repercussions for what anyone might say is another matter. Consequence-free name calling is the bread and butter of online 'discourse' and puts a stop to any real debate from happening.

Thus in the build up to the general election you might have wondered, as I did, why is it so quiet online? That instead of passionate but respectful discussion happening online between friends, colleagues and family there was less of any sort of dialogue than at any time before.

Why is that?

Apologies for what follows, but it was mostly written in the previously mentioned fury and therefore the language is rather 'beyond'.

Section 1: People are cunts online.

You may not know this, but you're a cunt online. Really, you are. You may not mean to be, but that only makes it worse. It's your lack of introspection that makes it worse, your lack of nuance, your lack of physicality. What do you mean it's not your fault? You're online aren't you?

Let's try this out, think of something you care deeply about, a core principle if you'll allow the phrase. Now let's picture this idea getting shat all over by some prick that you thought were a friend. The very indignity of it all! Better get that shitebag telt.

Wait, I got ahead of myself there and this isn't a fair depiction. After all you've thought this through haven't you? And, indeed, you welcome the friendly cut-and-thrust of debate especially as you feel confidant in your knowledge of your subject area, as it's an opinion that you've researched thoroughly.

One small problem though.

Section 2.1: Your opinion is wrong.

Think you've been over all the oppositional arguments and considered every angle? No you fucking haven't you liar. You've briefly entertained the idea that you might be wrong and have then filled your craw with endless 'well done' arguments. If you really challenged your own point of view you'd be in such a dizzying state of indecision that you wouldn't know if you were coming or going.

Section 2.2: Your opinion isn't an argument.

Arguments are a detailed deconstruction of a particular point of view intended to prove the validity or otherwise of a particular position, whether that be contrary or partisan in nature. Your meme or your 'aphorism' is not that. If anything is being referenced it's normally a 'dog-whistle' to some objectionable political perspective, whether you know that or not. Retweets might not be endorsements, but they help mainstream an idea that would not otherwise get oxygen.

Section 2.3: Your opinion isn't yours.

Have you thought about were the latest viral meme has come from? Who created it and for what reason? Just so you know, "only joking" probably isn't the real reason and is normally the answer given by fucking liars anyway. Further to that, being a joke does not free one from being criticised for untruthful or hurtful allegations whether clouded by ignorance or stupidity or not.

Section 3: The end is the beginning.

So, apologies for the swearing, but there's not much to be hopeful about politically in my opinion. At least not until the culture shifts to a less awful place, most likely this will require us becoming less addicted to social media and believing obvious lies rather than willing to engage in the potentially painful process of self-examination. However, this activity takes work and time, something that could be an 'allowance' of sorts by a government that wishes their populace to engage rather be willing servants, which is instead what we've had mostly throughout history it seems.