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That British election, Brexit and myths about the EU. December 10, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I was off yesterday for a minor medical appointment, nothing serious, just time-consuming. Anyhow, that left me lots of time to read the Sunday papers, and two stories, well three I guess, caught my eye straight off. Susan O’Keefe in the SBP had an excellent colour story on the British election, where she noted the curious absence of political activity at ground level. In part that is due to no posters at all being displayed on lamp-posts. Bar the occasional ‘enthusiast [who] has a leaflet or poster in their garden or in a house window…it makes the election seem remote and disconnected from daily routine’. Difficult to not think this literal absence feeds into problematic aspects about democracy, even the deeply flawed first past the post system. Indeed Will Hutton in the Observer, who argued trenchantly for tactical voting and effective support for the BLP and is notably less profligate with the caveats others in those pages, and elsewhere, were making about that party noted the problems with the British voting system.

O’Keefe though, had some quotes from voters, depressing reading they made too.

Paul is having an after-work pint. ‘Corbyn has been promising one thing and then another. And he wants to nationalise things – he can’t do that – not in the EU. I voted Leave and I want to leave, even if it takes a bit longer. We can’t vote again on this – that’s mad.’

The bundle of contradictions in that paragraph alone is head melting. Is Corbyn too radical or not radical enough? And where to start on the nationalisation in the EU aspect?

Well perhaps in another report in the Observer, this time in the Business section where it notes Virgin is exiting railways in the UK.

The founding myths of private rail – of the efficiency and flair that would vanquish British Rail’s curled-up sandwiches and associated public sector failings – are still aired. Yet with the handover of West Coast, as few as 7% of domestic journeys will take place on trains operated entirely by private firms. First’s partner Trenitalia is run by the Italian state, and state-owned firms from Germany, France, the Netherlands and beyond have a hand in virtually all British franchises, bar just two operated by First alone.

Wait. What. Huh? These are state and state-owned firms? But… but…


1. CL - December 10, 2019

“Canvassers report that the coalition’s portrait of the country as a household teetering on the verge of bankruptcy has sunk deep into the souls of many voters, not least because it mirrors their personal circumstances…..
the anti-austerity movement in the UK – the chief engine of the rise of Corbynism – is the last in Europe to reach its major electoral showdown….
the chief architects of austerity have fled, and their successors are busy disowning their legacy, at least rhetorically….
Labour’s programme is the most comprehensively worked-out countermeasure to the arc of economic thinking that terminated in the post-crisis world; a resurgent left has permanently altered the party, not least in what it considers politically possible, and has set about fully transforming it.
The structure of British politics makes the Labour Party a durable electoral vehicle. Whatever the outcome on 12 December, this election marks the close of one long phase of political struggle for the British left – and opens a new one.”


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