A tough call
What a laugh, listening to Stephen Dorrell on BBC 4’s PM programme this evening. After 49 years in the Tory party, supporting Thatcher and austerity without complaint, he now finds himself in the ‘funny tinge’ ‘Change UK’ party, which like Farage’s Brexit party has become a repository of has-been wannabes seeking to discover the ‘new’ politics that will lead the UK out of its Tory-induced Brexit shambles. Am I behind the curve, I wonder, in not quite understanding that Brexit has changed all the rules? These allegedly ‘new politics’ parties have more in common than meets the eye. In other words, their shared newness does not seek to delve into any of the underlying issues that brought the Brexit vote about, they only express a wish for what each side considers a long standing normal, where longstanding either means the last 40 years or the last 400 years. Both versions of the ‘new’ politics are as outmoded as they could possibly be – but like New Labour, their media hype will tickle some nerve in a long suffering electorate, and should the Euro elections take place, the established parties will receive a good kicking. I’m in no doubt that once the protest vote is out of the way, there will be a lingering, deepened dissatisfaction with the two main parties – who of course will pledge themselves to listen. But who (or what) should they be listening to?
Perhaps they should listen to the science of climate change. If there were ever, possibly, a ‘new’ politics to take root, it might for once be evidence based. It might for once consider the possibility that as somebody once said (I paraphrase) ‘popular wisdom is the sum of the collective ignorance of individuals.’ Dorrell tonight gave a vague nod towards Extinction Rebellion (without mentioning their name) but like those (his Wikipedia entry makes interesting reading) whose main concern is the conservation of their personal economic advantage he has no credibility. The real, ‘new’ politics will depend on the party that tackles climate change getting elected into government. One hopes Jeremy Corbyn understands that this is the new politics. The only impediment is ‘popular wisdom.’ It’s a tough call.
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