So. Absolutely (to coin a non-phrase). It’s the penultimate evening before the election, and I wonder if there’s a soul in the land who isn’t weary of it. At least—on one level, which is to say the policy level—the old complaint that ‘they’re all the same’ simply isn’t true this time around. But on the level of our politicians themselves, it seems clear that many people feel that they are all the same. The level of cynicism has it appears to me broken all records, and it doesn’t really matter whether that is borne out by reality. In this regard, the relentless pursuit of Jeremy Corbyn as ‘anti-Semitic’ has paid off, and for many people there is no need to question the facts because the story fits a narrative. But to pursue such a narrative can backfire. Even though Labour won the 1997 general election with a landslide, the previous three or four years’ worth of sleaze stories which accompanied John Major to defeat tarnished all politicians, and this was capped by the expenses scandal (surprising isn’t it that Corbyn has not faced any expenses scandal accusations himself—that would have been dragged up had there been the slightest hint of him misspending taxpayers’ money on a bathplug).
Despite the polls, Labour is still in the game, although I suspect Johnson will do well. How can this be? There have been suggestions that voters are in some kind of permanent austerity mindset, which is to say they don't believe Labour’s spending commitments are affordable. Are voters like prisoners who fear freedom? Or do they simply not understand how the national economy works? A bit of both, assisted by a diet of Joseph Goebbels-like propaganda, I have no doubt. One wonders why ordinary Germans carried on fighting when it must have been obvious from any detached viewpoint late in 1944 that defeat was staring them in the face. Goebbels, like Johnson and Co. (in this reading our current day Goebbels is perhaps Dominic Cummings?) somehow managed to convince people against what must have been their better judgement that victory was still around the corner, with new secret weapons—how shall we put it—oven ready. The promise of a saviour coupled with instilling fear of the other is a potent political narrative which the Tories have employed relentlessly throughout this campaign, aided by more lies disseminated through social media than Herr Goebbels could have dreamt of with his Volksempfänger.
Beneath this sordid, dystopian democracy lies a longing for a lost world (which is the flipside of fear of the future world). In the longer view, the British version of this condition is what may be diagnosed as PISD—Post-Imperial Stress Disorder. Rees-Mogg, Farage, Johnson—they all exhibit symptoms of PISD. It is ironic therefore that they now embody the likely cause of the break-up of the United Kingdom. But perhaps they won’t win. Fingers crossed.
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