Sunday 11 June 2017

Abraham Lincoln comments on the UK 2017 General Election

Some things never change and the British electorate has once again demonstrated this simple truth. The famous quote from Abraham Lincoln about the politics of 1860's America is a very apt description of what happened in the UK elections last week. Theresa May and her government chums, cheered on by a fact-free press have been found out by a younger electorate that have started to see through such arrogant foolishness. May has responded with the usual Tory trick of finding someone else to take the blame as her advisors fall on their swords but the solution of enlisting support from the DUP to prop up her minority in the House of Commons (will it be ConDUP or DUPCon?) is already floundering. Theresa May's response to the message from an increasing number of voters that the country does not want to be dragged to the right on Brexit and a whole raft of domestic issues is to cling to power via an alliance with the ultra right of Northern Ireland. That she also ignores the warnings of senior voices in her own party is the height of folly and will only result in an early demise.

The Tories campaigned with the apocryphal warning that voting for Jeremy Corbyn would result in a "Coalition of Chaos" but what we have ended up with is the "Chaos of ConDUP" They conjured up a vision akin to this painting.
Nicolas-Antoine Taunay Triumph of the Guillotine in Hell 1795 (Musee de la Ville, Musee Carnavalat, Paris)

We should not be surprised

The sheer folly of a Prime Minister calling an election when the only message she had for the electorate was, "trust me because I'm better than the other bloke who would be a disaster" had many of us shaking our heads in disbelief (and not just on the left). Trying to understand the logic of her thinking is difficult but we are left none the wiser after looking at her appearances on television and a whole slew of newspaper articles of which this piece in Premier, a Christian commentary website is typical. It reminds us of her vicarage upbringing where she obviously did not pay enough heed to her scriptures: A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences (Proverbs 22:3)

There is a way forward

What is now evident is that there is little appetite for the hard Brexit that May was proposing. That the Tory negotiation strategy was based upon the idea that the tenets of the World Trade Organisation were a reasonable alternative to the EU free market makes it obvious that they now have no idea how they will conduct themselves when confronted by the EU next week. They do however have a way out of this impasse if they take heed of what Labour's Keir Starmer (Brexit must be reset after the election result) and Yvette Cooper ( Guardian article referencing Labour ideas on how to proceed) propose. In a saner world we should expect a cross party consensus to emerge but it takes a wise leader to countenance such an idea ......... and we demonstrably do not have a wise head leading the country. Events may yet overtake us as the reality of the seriousness of the position we face sinks in during the first few days of negotiation.

Apophenia or Pareidolia

This must seem like a bit of a jump but bear with me. The working title for this post was "Apophenia"  which is the tendency to perceive patterns in random data or, as is determined by the word "pareidolia", the ability to see faces in clouds or the likeness of Jesus on a piece of toast. This is relevant because for some years we have been assailed by politicians and the media claiming that the ills of society can be blamed on the EU, the feckless poor and religious or ethnic minorities. Over many decades the fat finger of prejudice has relentlessly pointed at random skeins of data and, by suggesting spurious connections have managed to fool the majority of the people. (Do you see how artfully we have returned to Abraham Lincoln?). The significance of this 2017 general election is that a fresh generation of voters have joined those of us who have never bought in to the right wing myths such as the left is economically incompetent or that immigration has caused the housing crisis, (or the problems of the NHS  ............ or ........... well fill this in yourself). This unblinkered alliance of the objectively minded electorate has finally reached the tipping point of a majority. The subjective views of the right which promote illogical ideas of cause and effect could only muster 45% (Tory 42%, DUP 0.9%, UKIP 1.8%, plus sundry others 0.5%) whilst the so-called alliance of the left gained a 53.2% vote share (Labour 40%, SNP 3%, Lib Dem 7.4%. PC 0.5%, Green 1.6%). It is my contention that those of us on the left (and I do include Lib Dems in this as they have now learnt the lesson of supping with the devil) see the data for what it is and do not swallow the false assumptions that fuel the bias of the right.

In conclusion 

As usual BelperStuff concludes this post with a carefully chosen video that is supposed to add something to the debate. In researching for this piece I came across this delightful song by the Canadian group Tasseomancy, busking in Shoreditch with their song, Apophenia. Here is the link for those who cannot see the embedded video. If you like it just let the video run on to their track, "Diana".or sit back and enjoy another version of "Apophenia" on their album, Palm Wine Revisited.

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