The Victors

Of course it’s a great victory for Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, and for the spirit of Machiavelli hovering over their heads. It’s also a triumph for our Right-wing press, perhaps the least ‘free’ and fair in Europe; and for Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, both of whom were backing Boris for national reasons of their own. Lastly, because one of its effects is likely to be the continued onward march of unfettered Anglo-American capitalism, it could be said to bear out those Marxists who hold that capitalism cannot be reformed (a la Corbyn) but must be allowed to go on to self-destruction before it can be replaced. That, after all, is the main trend just now all over Europe, in the strange guise of ‘populism’, and taking on quasi-fascistic forms. Britain can’t, it seems, escape the grand imperative of history, any more than any other nation. In her particular case, Brexit is the horse her ultra-Right have ridden to their victory.

Just as in a ‘Khaki’ election, so here Brexit was used to override (or ‘trump’) every other issue. First it was the issue itself, albeit with Europe serving as a scapegoat for other concerns; then the time it was taking to settle it, which was inevitable in view of its complexities, but which Johnson blamed on Parliamentary ‘obstruction’, which enabled him to mount a ‘people versus Parliament’ campaign. ‘Get Brexit done’ was virtually his only appeal to the voters. Well, now perhaps it will be done; although most authorities believe that, with detailed trade negotiations to follow, there’s a long way to go yet.

What the election result can’t do is to ‘bring people together again’. For a start, the Scots will be even more determined to break away from a Union whose policy towards Europe doesn’t represent their democratic wish at all. Then the Northern Irish won’t be too pleased with Johnson’s arrangements for them. In England the 48% who originally voted for Brexit – it would almost certainly be more if the referendum were taken today – won’t rest content with a result largely achieved by lying and fraud. That spells years more angry division. Corbyn’s strategy might have healed our wounds. But that’s out of the window now.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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11 Responses to The Victors

  1. Pingback: Another Victor | Porter’s Pensées

  2. Tony says:

    Labour is in a similar position to 1983 (almost the same number of MP’s although a worse vote share) not 1935 as suggested by some commentators for then it was still recovering from the debacle of 1931. However, Johnson will probably try to be another Baldwin and is already mouthing National government type nostrums about a government for all the people, while of course being nothing of the sort. Ah well, back to the 1930’s then. Hopefully, catastrophe for Labour will take less than the fourteen years it took until 1997 to regain power. A new leader needs to form an alliance of all anti-Tory forces and make Labour once again a broad-based coalition for progressives, and that doesn’t mean ditching all of the Corbyn agenda as a great deal of it will have appeal in a post Brexit world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate says:

    Damn good article below –

    “…the Corbynite machine at the top of Labour kept doubling down on this dubious bet. Seumas Milne, Andrew Murray, Len McCluskey, Jon Lansman – old tankies with fat salaries or monied families – formed a praetorian guard to protect the man from whose leadership they drew such influence.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think there is a failure of the entire pundit class in corporate and BBC media. The belief all along was that Remain was far stronger than Leave. If that was true, then Jo Swinson and the LibDems should have vastly outperformed expectations and Corbyn only winning a right to form a coalition with the LibDems and perhaps the SNP and other parties. Instead, Leave won big. This also means Corbyn’s attempted strategy of trying to find a compromise was correct, but the corporate and BBC media failed him by presenting Corbyn as a ditherer. One thing I find most Anglo-American voters do not want is a ditherer. They want resoluteness. The Conservative message, built on a lie, as usual, was still one of resoluteness. “We’ll get Brexit done!” Without saying just what that is. The Blairites have no basis to say anything against Corbyn and in fact bear most of the blame for undermining their party’s leadership. It sure didn’t help Jo Swinson and the LibDems–again–and Swinson lost as did the Blairites who defected from Labour to run as LibDems. I also underestimated myself, here in the States, how much different Corbyn is viewed in the UK compared to Sanders in the US. Sanders is the most popular politician in the nation, and it is his resoluteness and his consistency that gives people a positive feeling about him. Corbyn was made into a pariah, and as he attempted to hold Remain and Leave voters together, again with the constant attacks in media in the UK, it seems those attacks had their effect. I just wonder where the youth vote went, and if they did, after all, stay home, thinking they were outnumbered. Finally, there are two ironies in this election: First, the voters who jumped on board with the Conservative Party in those coal mining and other towns just jumped on board with the very people who did them in 30 years ago under Thatcher. And the Conservatives have not changed in their hostility to worker unions, hostility to the entire Beveridge project and hostility to the NHS. This leads to the second irony, which makes this a Twilight Zone election, meaning voters strongly demanded something, have now gotten it, and will one day realize they will not get happiness, but what they “deserve,” which is disaster. Getting Brexit “done” will mean more economic ruin and the undermining of the NHS, especially in those more rural areas in Wales and Midlands and the coal and other mining areas. The Fascist International is definitely on the rise, and the Weimar Republic politicians in the US and UK have been, as in the 1920s and early 1930s, the handmaidens for fascism, preaching “moderation” at a time of pain and recrimination on the part of voters who feel betrayed and left behind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The behaviour of the right-wing press is entirely predictable. Someone who takes on the role of Labour leader must either have a workable strategy to deal with this parameter and/or possess charisma to counteract Labour’s inherent disadvantage. This is especially true if the Opposition leader is trying to sell policies that can be construed as radical. If, in the course of the leader’s period as Labour leader, they are gaining no traction with the public, are well behind in the polls, and almost certain defeat looms, the option of resigning and letting someone else have a go should be considered. Corbyn had no viable strategy for coping with the right-wing press and he was uncharismatic; however, his vanity remained rock solid, and if he entertained the idea of resigning to save the party, this remained a well-kept secret.

    In many ways, Labour’s demise was a duplicate of Australia’s May election this year where the deficiencies of Labor’s leader, Shorten, were evident for years leading up to the disaster. In that case too, a less vain man would have recognised that he was a threat to the progressive agenda he represented and stood aside. Interestingly, in politics the practice of voluntarily relinquishing power in the interests of the party appears never to happen. Leadership by the ultra-vain seems to be an iron law of party politics.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. No mention here or the earlier post that Jeremy Corbyn and his weaknesses as a leader might have been implicated in the result.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course his real weaknesses, perceived vulnerabilities and consequent monstering by the press had a lot to do with it. Ever since he was elected leader I’ve regretted that he wasn’t more conventionally ‘charismatic’, and expressed the hope that he might be replaced once he had swung the party over to the Left. But who was there to replace him? Certainly not that even less charismatic Welshman who challenged him for the leadership a couple of years ago. I supported Corbyn for his policies, which inspired not only me but all those youngsters that followed him; sadly ineffectively, as it now turns out. But I can’t put most of the blame on him. The Right-wing press will find ways of hounding any radical Labour leader. Look what happened to Ed Miliband.
      There were other, broader factors at work here. If we concentrate on Corbyn’s part we are in danger of missing the real origins of our woes.


      • Kate says:

        Even with the worse defeat since the ’80s Corbyn his clan can’t seem to bring themselves to take responsibility for the path they chose. Perhaps it’s the fault of the electorate – they just didn’t try hard enough to understand the Labour leadership.
        People consistently warning about Corbyn’s lack of popularity get dismissed as Blairites, this is the result.
        As for who will replace Corbyn? Jess Phillips or Angela Rayner for a start. Infinitely more talented, hardworking and better at connecting with those outside of their bubble. Jess Philips has been vocal about wanting to be the leader. But Corbyn had to step out of the way first. The impact of his dogged insistence not to do so lands on his and his supporters’ shoulders.

        Liked by 2 people

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