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Pete Lawrence - 23 May 2019


Campfire may be firmly independent politically these days, but today's elections will be interesting as a marker of how people are feeling and responding to politics in this country at the moment and I offer a few personal observations here. 

A quick overview of friends' timelines this morning: 

One that stuck out was my friend Suzy Browning's comment about our politics moving to the right and this trend towards the LibDems for Labour voters “The only people who should vote Lib Dem are Tories. The far right are shifting the political spectrum to the right. Don't engage with it by voting Lib Dem to keep them out or you're complicit in that process.”

For me any party that can adopt the childish and bellicose mantra 'Bollocks to Brexit" is essentially sticking two fingers up at half the population and is at its heart divisive. That is surely as good a reason as any to give them a swerve, never mind any other recent history and support for neoliberal ideology.

Directly linked to that is Jeremy Corbyn's sage pronouncement (or was it Attilla the Stockbroker's?)that also appeared on a friend's wall today "Labour will never be the party of the 52% or the 48%. We are the party of the great majority who reject the politics of smear and scapegoating’

Commentators are telling us that Labour will be punished for their fence-sitting, for their 'indecisiveness' when in reality that approach is largely dictated by the arithmetic of what is possible in our broken political system but it also represents a wider view that all opinions count. 

We should hold that thought as we go into the latest chapter of rollercoaster political pantomime today. And just to confound that, BBC's political shitshow, Question Time is live from just down the road from me in Frome this this evening. More car crash TV in the offing or will the good people of Frome offer something different?

There will no doubt be a good deal of protest voting and tactical voting today, much of it mindful of maths and geography. Around here, the Greens are strong growing and with the realisation that climate breakdown transcends 'Brexit bollocks' in the greater scheme of things, their star is very much in the ascendant, despite the fact that we deep in heart of Rees Mogg and Fox territory. But something fundamental is beginning to shift...

The emotive language around words such as 'betrayal' used by F***** and his Brexit party crew will resonant with those who see politics as a single issue. In truth, their agenda may be wider and far more threatening than single-issue politics so should be countered at all costs. 

But I remain a fan of Jeremy Corbyn's project, its attempts to modernise what was an outmoded Labour party and its pledge to support the many over the few and devolve power. In many ways, a vote for Labour is a duty, as George Monbiot - himself a political 'neutral' recently said - "We're seeing "the stirrings of mass mobilisation" now from the Labour Party who are bringing about a "radical devolution of power" via their grassroots. 

Until we can start to heal and bring people together, devolve power at local level and look at widespread reform of our political system in way that doesn't empower far-right populists, our politics is entrenched in the mud and the country divided - as Ken Clark said on the radio yesterday - a third massively anti-Remain , a third massively anti-Leave and a third completely disillusioned with everything happening in politics. 

We have to keep hold of hope. Out of the chaos will come inspiration and, more importantly, new models and new ways. This is what our work in Campfire Convention is about, and with it, new ways of doing social media.

So, please, whatever your political persuasion, vote wisely today and VOTE CAMPFIRE and help us reach our crowdfund target in a week's time!




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