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Saturday, 17 June 2017

We don’t know where we’re going

I've appreciated Gary Younge's recent reflections on the Election result in The Guardian (click here and here). The following quotes align with my reflections following the result:

The Brexit vote revealed a fundamental division within our nation and the Election result shows that we remain a divided nation and don't know how to address that reality - 'When Big Ben called time on Thursday night, we saw clear evidence of a political realignment that the media and the political establishment had dismissed with hostility, and now regarded with confusion. We saw a polity that has lost touch with its people; a political culture unmoored from the electorate, and a mainstream media that drifted along with it. The election did not create that dislocation; it was merely the clearest and least deniable manifestation of it so far. We are in new territory. And we don’t know where we’re going.'

Brexit unleashed a wave of self-centred isolationism which is not representative of the majority within our nation and the Election result indicated a corrective to this - 'During the EU referendum, much of what was wrong with Britain was blamed on foreigners – either the faceless bureaucrats in Brussels who took our money at the expense of the NHS, or immigrants, who, it was claimed, took our jobs and plundered our benefits. But this time round, there was no one else to blame. There was a concern in that room in Wembley that Britain had become too harsh and unforgiving. One woman said she thought things had swung too far the wrong way, and that it was time to “make things fairer”. Another agreed. “We need to show people we care about them,” she said.'

'For far too long, cynicism has been the dominant force in British electoral politics, willing failure at every turn. When they saw large, engaged crowds, the political class and its stenographers in the media dismissed them. They did not appeal to people’s better nature because they assumed people did not have one. Mistaking morality for naivety, they presumed that people were motivated solely by self-interest – in the narrowest and most venal sense – and could not be moved by principle.'

'One of the most important lessons, and one that goes beyond our borders, from this result is that there is a response to the multiple pathologies of xenophobia, racism and rabid nationalism, bequeathed by globalisation, that does not demand pandering to bigotry.'

We are seeing a backlash to the unfairness of austerity cuts which have targeted those already poor whilst allowing those already rich to continue to make money - 'After the 2010 election, the Conservatives insisted on a period of austerity, claiming that it was necessary to repair public finances in the wake of the global banking crisis. The poor and the public sector have borne the brunt of these cuts – but after seven years, the pain of austerity has spread well beyond the very poorest ... As this sense of precariousness broadened to touch those who had never felt it before, and the desperation felt by an ever-widening cross-section of society deepened even further, we should not be surprised that there was an electoral backlash.'

'The print media are losing their influence in part because people receive much more information online nowadays but also because the right-wing press stopped try to report news objectively and began reporting news polemically (and, as a result, can no longer be trusted as an accurate source of news) - 'But while it was possible to see how most voters had formed their first impressions of Corbyn and May from the image presented by the media, what became clear to me while I was covering the campaign was that the impact of Fleet Street was not decisive. Thanks to the proliferation of online media sources, the decline in newspaper readership and weakening loyalties to established brands, the press does not have the same electoral clout it once did.'


Deacon Blue - The Believers.

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