The Outrage!

Falling Star Brexit
Standard

It would appear that my ‘admiration’ for Labour’s cunningly devised Brexit stance was slightly misplaced in its attribution of credit. According to Ruth Davidson today in the Telegraph, the plan was nothing to do with any Labour MPs at all, but the brainchild of a coalition of leaders from the five biggest Labour supporting Unions (Unite, Unison, the GMB, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and USDAW, the Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers).

These brave minds, who clearly know a lot more than the Labour Party itself on how it should run it’s own affairs (amazing where £6.5 million of union members’ money will get you), apparently closed themselves in a room on Monday, formulated the plan and ordered Jeremy Corbyn off to the shadow cabinet for rubber stamping on Tuesday.

As Ruth Davidson points out, this complete negation of democracy appears to have at least initially gone unreported, or at least kept quiet long enough that no-one cared enough when it did break. And, yet, had this been the Tories, all hell would have broken loose.

I completely fail to understand just how something so opaque and, while corrupt is possibly too strong a word, it can’t be that far from the mark, can happen. I can only think that Labour MPs are so against any idea of free speech or liberty, and/or so in fear of the leadership, that they accept this fait accompli against all they, in their various factions, have fought for over the past few years.

If I were more left-wing in my outlook, I’d say it was outrageous, but I’m not so I merely shrug and move on.

What’s next?

Brainstorm Ideas Questions African
Standard

Nigel Farage writes in the Telegraph today that he believes people no longer identify as left-wing or right-wing, but rather as Remainers or Leavers.

It’s an interesting stance to take, but I’m not convinced it holds much water. In the short term it does; all the time there is the chance Brexit could be stopped, conservatives (small c) that wish to keep things just as they are, will do all they can to preserve the status quo.

Mr Farage identifies these people as un-democratic, and focuses his party on ‘restoring democracy’. Obviously, this is a populist stance. It’s easy to paint the government as patently anti-Brexit, particularly with its pervading liberal authoritarian viewpoint. But Brexit is convoluted and complex. Most of the current MPs voted for Article 50; they all agreed we should leave. Since then though, they’ve become hopelessly divided over exactly how to leave. Simply reducing it down to ‘we haven’t left yet, democracy is broken’ might be a little bit disingenuous. Yes, the likes of Letwin, Cooper, etc. have tried to take control of the situation to ‘stop the process’, but they could only do that because of the division about the way forward and lack of leadership from number 10, not necessarily because the system was broken. Indeed some people went along with them as they saw it as a way to break the deadlock, particularly with the indicative votes.

This disparity of consensus is also showing up in the leadership race. Each of the 5 million candidates has a slightly different take on how to do the Brexit thing, from Hard-No-Deal Raab through to Second-Referendum Gyimah.

The thing is, ‘we haven’t left yet, democracy is broken,’ is a nice simple concept for people to wrap their heads around. It’s also emotive. It ticks all the right boxes to get the old brain chemicals firing and stir up a bit of conflict in the old grey matter.

But what happens once Brexit actually happens (and it should do, most MPs agree with that)? We’ll move on, some people will be disgruntled, others vaguely happy something got done, but maybe not so happy with the eventual compromises I think we’ll have to make (even No Deal is a sort of compromise). What does a Leaver or a Brexiteer stand for once we’ve left? These are the messages that the Brexit Party need to focus on, I think. Some of the conservative leadership candidates have cottoned on to this, like Boris with his UBI-lite school funding.

It’s about time the Brexit Party started defining more of what they would stand for post-Brexit, and show how they will unite the likes of Fox and the Widdecombe. There is plenty to talk about, I’d just like to hear it.

Cuts both ways?

Brexit Europe Britain Referendum
Standard

One of the enduring cries from those who voted for Remain in the Brexit vote (and one the government seems to have taken the line of itself, being on the whole, pro-remain – the ‘rational’ position), is that as the vote was ‘so close’, we should respect the views of the losers too, to try to find a balance between the two viewpoints. William Hague argues just such a thing in the Telegraph this morning.

I guess the whole dogmatic democracy vs. liberal democracy debate will bubble along under any democratic system, and I would hate to paint myself as a dogmatic type, but sometimes, context matters, and it does here.

If the vote in 2016 had gone as expected and remain won, what would the remainers have done in respecting the opinion of those who lost? There’s nothing they could have done, as nothing would have changed. They would have ignored calls to reform Europe, particularly after David Cameron’s failed attempts to change things.

Leavers would have continued to voice their protest – ‘It was so close, let’s have another referendum!’ These cries would certainly have fallen on deaf ears. Dogmatic democracy would have prevailed and it would have been considered reasonable.

Yet, Leave won, and because the majority of Leave voices promptly went silent after their unexpected success, liberal democracy suddenly seemed perfectly acceptable, giving rise to the ludicrous populist situation we find ourselves in now, with those ‘out in the sticks’ beyond London feeling betrayed by their ‘elite’ masters in their crumbling edifice.

Which is a shame, because Brexit was never a populist thing (more on that tomorrow), but now we find ourselves in a bit of a pickle. The Conservatives, in taking the liberal democracy approach have fluffed it up, and are now staring down the barrel of a gun they handed to the Brexit Party, which will divide their own vote and more than likely allow Labour to waltz into Downing Street.

Just goes to show, it’s not only the socialists that get hung up on rationalism to their cost.

Oh, and while I think about it, if we’d had Dominic Raab’s proposed 15% tax for the £11.5K – £45k bracket in 2017/8, it would have reduced the amount of tax by around £16 billion (down to £100.8 billion-ish from £116.8 billion-ish). Make of that what you will, but I suspect merging a few government departments wouldn’t cover it too well, although I applaud the idea of reducing tax for the lower earners.

Why the Under 25s Will (Mostly) Never Vote Tory

London Britain Union Jack
Standard

It’s generally understood that younger people (in the UK) tend to vote Labour and older people tend to vote Conservative, and given that there’s a reasonable chance of Conservative leadership bunfight in the offing, along with local and Europeans elections looming, there has been a spate of articles in recent days (James Forsyth’s in the Telegraph for one) around how the Tory party have tried and failed to woo the ‘yoof’ vote.

I think, given what I’ve been focussing on in recent days, that the under 25’s proclivity to vote Labour has a lot to do with the fact that their right-brains are fully developed while their left hemisphere is still developing. As a result, they tend not to use their pre-frontal cortex for decision making as the integrative logical functions are still not fully formed, and instead tend to use their amygdala, buried down in their limbic system.

This makes them susceptible to more emotional arguments and viewpoints that the Left tend to rely on in their campaigns. Under 25’s also tend to focus on more self-centred issues – cost of education, cost of housing, getting a job. Labour’s very clever ploy to abolish university tuition fees played directly into this. The fact that it probably would have mostly been paid for by raising corporation tax, thus threatening many small businesses and a massive chunk of the gig economy, is a logical conclusion lost in the emotional maelstrom of limbic thinking.

I certainly remember getting swept along on the tide of emotion that engulfed the UK when Tony Blair powered his way to victory in 1997. I was 24 and I had no idea what either party really stood for. I had no time for logical arguments, I just wanted the smelly old Tories out. I totally bought into the message of ‘time for a change’. I’m not sure I can, hand on heart, say that change was particularly good, but there we go.

The problem with the Conservative message is that it is often portrayed through the lens of capitalism, with no recourse to the ideas of social evolution, and the almost mystical ideas of society from which capitalism emerges (more on that soon). These are nebulous arguments, and hard to sell at the best of time to anyone. So capitalism is reduced from the natural outpouring of human activity to work together to stay alive, and focussed through the emotional lens of cruelty and greed. This is something that resonates with the limbic system and gets the old noradrenaline flowing. Capitalism is bad! Businessmen are evil and greedy! The staple output of the left. Cold hard facts that contradict these stories are ignored (the Tories tend to be better at environmentalism and social care, and ‘capitalism’ can drive up living standards for all), the developed emotional right brain filtering them out.

I guess, with my filmmaker hat on, this also explains why the key demographic for blockbuster movies is the 18-25 range, they have the time, the money and the brain skewed towards enjoying films.