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Pete Lawrence - 27 May 2019


It’s odd and faintly amusing to think of the LibDems as extremist politics but isn’t that exactly what their view on Brexiteers is?

I can totally understand why the Tories lost almost everything in these elections. That they conceded so much of it to a party only a few weeks old shows how people are knee-jerk responding to direct messages or ‘clarity’ as the BBC described it last night.

But ‘clarity’ is a double-edged sword and can often disguise a deep prejudice against something or someone.

Labour’s attempts to try to include all, to find a middle way that involves compromise has just not been grasped by many people, perhaps only by those who abhor the extremes in this toxic argument. And they’ve been heavily punished for not coming down on one side.

So where to now when consensus seems so far away?

What is deeply depressing is that the two biggest parties (Brexit and LibDem) are literally sticking two fingers up to half the population (F***** or the ‘Bollocks to Brexit' messages’) which is only causing deeper division, as would another referendum.

If Labour were to come out firmly for another referendum, they might get back some of the LibDem floating protest vote back on side but equally lose some northern / midlands heartland support.

I am extremely heartened by the massive pick up for the Greens - not only the largest party in two very important 'taste-shaping' urban centres, Bristol and Brighton but also scoring high in unlikely places - ie beating the Tories in the West Midlands! Who would have thunk it…

Whilst the Greens are embracing a ‘remain’ position, they are able to do it without the huge splits that would best Labour if they were to try such a manoeuvre as many of their party might wish.

What the Greens are offering also (not to be under estimated) is an agenda that is much more plugged into an environmental and eco-consciousness, an issue that many would argue makes an irrelevance of Brexit. The movement to Greens should not be underestimated or dismissed as a protest vote.

But these elections have been purely about Brexit and anything else has been seen largely as an irrelevance.

It’s probably worth pondering what this country would look like if a general election was suddenly called next week. In many ways, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Unless Labour was to change their position decisively. But that would piss off a chunk of the party.

Deep listening, broadening of outlook to take on board others opinions and working towards consensus rather than accentuating differences are the qualities we need more than ever, but right now, those very ideas seem so pie-in-the-sky as to be unbelievable and any sort of coalition seems so far removed from what is possible – just imagine how Brexit and LibDems would work things out together! It’s odd and faintly amusing to think of the LibDems as extremist politics but isn’t that exactly what their view on Brexiteers is?

Unfortunately, compromise isn’t in the air at the moment, subtlety and nuance are submerged by strident rhetoric or ‘clarity’. Politics is changing almost beyond recognition and very quickly. We will have to go through a degree of chaos and darkness for something better to emerge.

We are seeing those processes in motion. Hold tight.




Chris Miller

A couple of points stand out about the election. It would be interesting to count just how many pictures of Farage appeared in the print press in the past few weeks; how many media appearances and interviews? I will look to Media Lens et-al for answers to that, and the orchestrated demise of UKIP, so feared a little while ago.

The turnout for the EU election across the continent was about 50% - slightly up on last time apparently. The UK turnout was 36% so the non-voters won by a landslide, and after (or perhaps because of) an endless media blitz. The combined Remain vote would seem to be well above the Leave - especially if the hopelessly split Tories and Labour are discounted. So perhaps this is what persuaded Jeremy Corbyn to move to a second referendum position.

I think Corbyn would be a 'socialist Refoundation' supporter if that movement had come into being in any concrete way and he is popular amongst the social-democratic and left parties in the EU, but without the solid backing of his party he is unlikely to be a figurehead for that position.

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