choose death

Absolutely brought down to rock bottom by this election result. Sandy Martin being out as MP for Ipswich actually feels worse than the national outcome. We were too depressed even to rant on the radio show this morning.

Train station, two well dressed older guys agreeing with each other:

“… think it was the best result you could have hoped for … didn’t want to leave Europe … voted Remain … but obviously …  Johnson spoke very well … young people don’t understand … when we were young … used to lose power for days at a time … “

Behind me in the train, young to middling woman speaking:

“ … it’s not Conservative and Labour anymore, it’s the people, and the people have said what they want …” 

Next to me, a young Black woman anxiously watching the news on her phone, and not, I think, with optimistic anticipation for the new government.

The press today was triumphalist, with the exception of the Guardian and the Mirror. The Star and Sun tried to have it both ways.

Whereas from my point of view, voters were offered cake or death, and chose death.

But perhaps in their view, they were choosing cake. Perhaps in the form of siding with a winner and hoping to get some spoils. It is very different for someone from the governing party to promise to deliver this or that, to someone from the opposition saying they will work and argue for this or that, when disbursement decisions are made by just one party, the other one. (And Sandy was a dogged worker and arguer on behalf of his constituents, especially the more vulnerable. I have not seen a local rep like him since the sainted Larry Alexander in 1983.) Centralization and winner-take-all government mean vassalage and sucking up seem like your best hope. I’ve seen it on a smaller scale as well.

The other way in which voters may have thought they were choosing cake was if, as one commentator said, Brexit is fundamentally a reaction against globalization (that is, a principled reaction against as movement of capital, rather than a xenophobia reaction against people like me). A constructive and productive anti-globalization programme would however require actions like: making multinationals pay taxes, investing in industry and industrial training, unpicking (or taxing) cross-border mergers, discouraging (or taxing) offshoring, slowing down (or taxing) automation, and perhaps nationalizing companies. I don’t see any such plans.

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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