We need to accept this: that the Right are cleverer than we are. By the ‘Right’, I don’t mean those who voted for Brexit and Johnson necessarily, but those who so successfully manipulated them. And I’m not sure that they really are so ‘clever’, rather than simply unprincipled. You can get an awful long way in this world by following the advice (or were they warnings?) of Niccolo Machiavelli, and reaching Faustian compacts with the Devil. (Or with Dominic Cummings, as he’s known today.)
Anyone could see – especially after ‘social media’ revealed the true depravity of people’s thinking – that the British electorate wasn’t deeply interested in politics, except as a game. And that it could be easily seduced by superficialities, propaganda, lies, and pandering to its prejudices; at a time of general discontent; with the Press on your side; and with the help of a few clever tricks to divert all this into channels that suited the manipulators. It didn’t need Cummings’s great brain to work this out; only a willingness to put all morality aside in the interests of ‘winning’. Rightists, it seems, can do this. For moral Leftists – which I like to think describes most of us – it somehow goes against the grain. Is that why we’re destined always to lose?
Prof, I was talking with someone at work about this very thing. His conclusion was that the Left had to toughen up and be prepared to win by any means. The idea is that there is no point being right – whether factually or morally – if you don’t have power to put your truths into effect. My argument, with which I only half-heartedly agree, was that here is no point getting power if you’re going to internalise the other side’s moral failings – might as well let them win and at least get the blame for the resulting disaster. I guess it comes down to whether you can separate the policy from the strategy. My friend believes you can, and that you can gain power using bad methods and still do good things. Moreover, because you *can* do that, you *should*. Against that, I argued (and half-believe) that poison eats your soul and the soul of the country, and that I’d rather lose in honour than win in dis-, and anything else is irrelevant. Well, I don’t know the answer. All I know is that many more conversations like that and I’ll be welcoming Alistair Campbell back, and that’s scary.
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I’m on your side; but in the hope that some more ‘moral’ tricks can be found.
Thanks. I think for myself I too shall continue to argue morality against expediency, if only because there’ll be so many on the “expediency” side, it’ll win out anyway and my small opinion will have no effect at all. But I ain’t half cross with the British voters for rejecting the only indisputably honest candidate in a generation, and with him the chance of doing away with such questions.
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