Happy Independence Day weekend! (That’s America’s Independence Day, not the newfangled UK version.) Enjoy a LinkSwarm to tide you over for the weekend:
Posts Tagged ‘Elections’
It’s a big story, and the reverberations continue to sound around the world:
The utter incomprehension of some colleagues at the result would be comical were it not so injurious to the sub-constitutional role played by the Fourth Estate.
There is a sense of indignation that a majority of voters did not cleave to the group-think. The whiff of class-hatred hangs heavy in the air. This morning I risked pariah-status in the canteen queue by suggesting it was patronising to ascribe the working class with prejudices we could neither test nor vouch for. Dismissing their opinions as motivated by xenophobia precludes any notion that those uneducated poor folk might actually have a coherent view on sovereignty or national self-determination.
This democratic deficit has been well ventilated over the weekend. Janice Turner, in particular, wrote beautifully and wisely in Saturday’s Times about the folly of denigrating “retired miners who now drive taxi cabs”. It is no surprise that contrarians like the brilliant Julie Birchill, who has written at length about the demonisation of white-working class ‘chavs’, came out for Brexit.
Part of the seething fury felt by some of my co-workers lies in that feeling of being hoodwinked, of not being as smart, as omniscient as they, hitherto, imagined. Their self-esteem is bruised. Nobody likes to find out that the world they thought existed turns out to have been built on miopia and wishful thinking.
There’s a growing sense, not only in Great Britain, but in the US as well, that the elites, or the political class, or whatever you’d like to call them, are incompetent and have been leading us astray. And the response from elites is to call those criticisms illegitimate. Those doing the carping are assumed to be racists or nationalists, both of which, of course, are unpleasant, dirty types of people. Both the UK’s Leavers and the US’s Trumpers share some commonalities. Among them are skepticism over free trade and free immigration; concerns that elites dismiss as foolish and uneducated. And, of course racist.
I think we’re about to watch the elites start paying a price for their incompetence, inattention and contempt. Euroskepticism is on the rise elsewhere in Europe. If EU membership were put to a popular vote in the Netherlands, Spain, or Sweden, there is a good chance that Leave would win there, too. Indeed, it’s possible that a vote to leave the EU might even win in France, the nation for whom creating and strengthening the EU has been the primary policy goal for 60 years.
Perhaps the “Vote Remain, you virulent racist!” PR campaign for staying in the EU needs a bit more thought.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
After Brexit’s passage, Labour MPs decided to take their frustrations out on their own leader:
A motion of no confidence in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been passed by the party’s MPs.
The 172-40 vote, which is not binding, follows resignations from the shadow cabinet and calls on Mr Corbyn to quit.
Mr Corbyn said the ballot had “no constitutional legitimacy” and said he would not “betray” the members who voted for him by resigning.
So the purpose of the vote was, what, essentially? To shame him into resigning? To push him out with having their fingerprints on the knife in his back?
“Dave Sparks, a councillor in Dudley and a former chair of the Local Government Association, warned that if Mr Corbyn stays, Labour will be wiped out.”
Maybe so, but barring a Tory no confidence vote (which, with Cameron’s resignation and an absolute parliamentary majority, would not be in the Tories’ interests) the next general election will not be until 2020, by which standard this leadership move is about three years premature.
It seems to have been a dry run for an actual leadership challenge, but I suspect that Corbyn, in all his loony left glory, is far more popular with Labour voters than anyone the MPs could replace him with.
“The [Scottish National Party], meanwhile, is to ask the Speaker to declare it the official opposition at Westminster, claiming their Westminster leader Angus Robertson has more support than Mr Corbyn.”
In essence, Corbyn is the victim of three things:
- Labour’s rage at losing the Brexit vote. It seems that Corbyn is being penalized for not clapping loud enough to keep Tinkerbell alive.
- Long-simmering resentment of Corbyn being elected head by the party’s Tony Blair faction. (Some have suggested that it’s meant to distract from the imminent release of the Chilcot Report on the Iraq War. Which would make Corbyn’s attempted ouster an odd “distraction” to launch an entire week before…)
- Corbyn has always been more popular with the party’s rank and file than with their MPs.
As disorienting as it is for me to sound like I’m actually defending Corbyn, he isn’t the source of Labour’s ills, and booting him isn’t going to solve them.
Among the more interesting storylines to emerge after the Brexit vote was how Labour blew it. Despite having a leadership far more Europhilic and in favor of transnational statist government than even Tory insiders, Labour’s support of Remain was markedly tepid, starting right at the top with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
Less than a month before the historic EU referendum, the team assembled by Cameron to keep Britain in the European Union was worried about wavering Labour voters and frustrated by the opposition leader’s lukewarm support. Remain campaign operatives floated a plan to convince Corbyn to make a public gesture of cross-party unity by appearing in public with the prime minister. Polling showed this would be the “number one” play to reach Labour voters.
Senior staff from the campaign “begged” Corbyn to do a rally with the prime minister, according to a senior source who was close to the Remain campaign. Corbyn wanted nothing to do with the Tory leader, no matter what was at stake. Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister whom Cameron vanquished in 2010, was sent to plead with Corbyn to change his mind. Corbyn wouldn’t. Senior figures in the Remain camp, who included Cameron’s trusted communications chief Craig Oliver and Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign guru, were furious.
So to Corbyn, a vote many in Labour leadership regarded as the most important in their lifetime took a backseat to his bitter hatred of even appearing with the Tories. “An old school socialist, the Labour leader had in the past attacked the EU as an undemocratic, corporatist conspiracy that threatened workers’ rights. He never looked the part to save Cameron in a referendum the Conservative leader brought on himself.”
From the same piece:
Hardened by close-run contests in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and last year’s general election, the strategists running Stronger In decided to follow the playbook that worked in those campaigns, particularly the 2015 Conservative sweep, and focus mainly on economic security.
It failed spectacularly. The depth of public anger over the influx of workers from other EU countries, and more broadly the rejection of political and business elites, was more significant than they had anticipated.
Internal polling found just weeks before June 23 one in five Labour voters did not know the party’s position in the referendum. As party aides canvassed voters around the country, they discovered a deep well of concern about immigration.
Labour leadership no doubt found it quite shocking that so many traditional Labour strongholds voted in favor of Brexit. There were also a small but notable number of Labour MPs who supported Brexit. Some hail from those same hinterland locales that voted for Brexit, and thus could be said to actually represent the wishes of their constituents (try to contain your shock).
But Labour MP Kate Hoey represents a constituency smack dab against the south bank of the Themes in central London, an area that voted heavily to Remain. Yet Hoey was an early and notable voice for Brexit:
I’m tired of people thinking that only those on the right of politics are Eurosceptic. This is far from true.
The reputation of the EU has fallen sharply among many on the Left. The sight of the EU establishment imposing unprecedented levels of austerity on Greece was a real wake-up call. This was not a benign political institution guaranteeing social protection and international solidarity, but an unaccountable force bringing crippling pain on a people who cannot hope to repay the loans that are recapitalising their banks.
Meanwhile, the EU is willing to require ever-greater sacrifice to living standards in order to keep the Euro and the wider European “Project” moving forwards. Ever closer Union is what is on the tin – and even if the words are removed to satisfy the Prime Minister, the contents will still be the same.
The Labour Party has traditionally had a sceptical view of the European institutions. From Attlee to Foot, and until the late 1980s, Labour was predominantly Eurosceptic – but then, following three Thatcher victories, many on the Left looked desperately to Europe to block her policies. Wise Labour voices like Peter Shore and Tony Benn, however, argued that democratic faith in the wisdom of the public was a better guarantor than the benevolence of transitory political elites. They have been proved right as the EU is no longer motivated by Jacques Delors’ ‘Social Europe’, but is increasingly out of touch with the needs of its people.
Familiar voices try to scare us into believing that leaving the EU would ruin the UK, but these are the same people who told us that we had to join the Euro or face disaster. We stayed out of the Euro and have therefore been spared much of the chaos of that unsustainable currency – but we still give £7.3 billion net a year of our money to the EU.
How can we protect civil liberties when the EU forces on us unaccountable extraditions through the European Arrest Warrant? How can we ensure the jobs and growth that we need when vital contracts for work go to preferred bidders on the continent and not to British firms? How can we preserve and improve our public services when the Services Directives help force the privatisation of the Royal Mail and EU rules against state aid will make it almost impossible to renationalise the railways? TTIP is a gift to the multi-national corporations. I don’t trust the EU to negotiate on our behalf, and I certainly don’t trust it to be on the side of small businesses or Trade Unions.
The Labour Party is looking at radical policies to tackle the problems in our country. We need to take back real control from the unelected and unaccountable European Commission if we are to have a chance of implementing any of these.
My politics are very far indeed from those of Hoey, but she’s not wrong. Greece’s government may have brought upon the crisis by spending radically more money than they took in even after it became apparent they were going broke, but the EU responded in exactly the way described. It was born as an undemocratic organization, a fact the Euro crisis finally made apparent even to the those on the left, with the decisions of democratically elected officials overruled by unelected bureaucratic elites. And the self-serving agendas of those elites tend to be at odds with the goals of both left and right.
The question isn’t why Hoey supported Brexit, but why so many Labour MPs didn’t.
Other Brexit News:
The inability of those elites to grapple with the rich world’s populist moment was in full display on social media last night. Journalists and academics seemed to feel that they had not made it sufficiently clear that people who oppose open borders are a bunch of racist rubes who couldn’t count to 20 with their shoes on, and hence will believe any daft thing they’re told. Given how badly this strategy had just failed, this seemed a strange time to be doubling down. But perhaps, like the fellow I once saw lose a packet by betting on 17 for 20 straight turns of the roulette wheel, they reasoned that the recent loss actually makes a subsequent victory more likely, since the number has to come up sometime.
Or perhaps they were just unable to grasp what I noted in a column last week: that nationalism and place still matter, and that elites forget this at their peril. A lot people do not view their country the way some elites do: as though the nation were something like a rental apartment — a nice place to live, but if there are problems, or you just fancy a change, you’ll happily swap it for a new one.
In many ways, members of the global professional class have started to identify more with each other than they have with the fellow residents of their own countries. Witness the emotional meltdown many American journalists have been having over Brexit….
A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia.
I’m always up for a good Morlock reference. And if you haven’t read H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine (which you should, because it’s a great novel), that analogy is more apt than you know. In Wells’ novel, the Morlocks were the underground race that actually ran things, the ones that maintain the machinery the Eloi depended on to live. Just like those inbred redneck freaks from JesusLand (or, to use a UK analogy, those Northern monkeys), the Morlocks are the essential population that keep things running, not the beautiful, useless Eloi.
It’s shaping up to be an interesting day:
I would say the panic selling is largely unwarranted; there’s no reason that UK can’t negotiate an orderly exit from the EU and continue to participate in the European Economic Area the way that Norway and Switzerland do now. There was talk before the Brexit vote that the EU wouldn’t go along with this out of spite, but if the endless Greece crisis has shown, Eurocrats negotiate their non-negotiable demands all the time, and I doubt even Angela Merkel is willing to put Europe through a deep recession (which is to say, deeper even than the current one the Euro seems to have engendered in perpetuity) just to “teach the UK a lesson.”
BBC News just called the election for Brexit. “UK votes to leave European Union with 309 out of 382 results declared.”
No time to do instant-analysis tonight, but markets will undoubtedly be in panic-rollercoaster mode tomorrow. This will pass, but there’s a real risk this is the event that pishes the world into the cyclical recession that’s been looming for years now. Let’s hope not.
Short answer: Yes.
Medium Answer: Answer cloudy, ask again later.
Early tidings were that “Remain” was polling ahead, enough so that even UKIP head Nigel Farage said it looked likely that Remain would pull out a win. But the “Leave” vote seems to be outperforming in areas where “Remain” was expected to be strong, and I’m not seeing any areas where the reverse is true.
Looks like its going to be a long night for global market watchers…
This week’s roundup of Clinton Corruption is being headlined by Guccifer 2.0 revelations. The stuff released so far is interesting, but (and I say this as someone who thinks Hillary Clinton should be in prison) pretty weak sauce.
There are dozens of Clinton shoes (especially from Hillary’s own email server and the Clinton Foundation) still to drop…
Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft.
She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.
Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than 2 years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public.
Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001.
They totally own her, and that will never change.
In case you hadn’t noticed with all the jihad shooting and Hillary corruption and the GLAVEN, the UK is voting next week on whether or not to leave the EU. Here Pat Condell makes the case for Brexit.
“[The EU’s] primary purpose is to eliminate the need for democratic consent, to empower politicians at people’s expense, and to make them our rulers, not our servants.”
“If you can’t remove the people who govern you, you live in a dictatorship, however many fancy labels and buttons and bows they dress it all up in. We cannot remove the people who run the European Union, no matter what they do, so they do what they want.”
“Do we want to live in a strong, free, independent country governed by laws to which the people have consented, or do we want to be a province of a federal dictatorship where we do what we’re told by unelected bureaucrats? When you sweep away all the speculation and verbiage, that is the choice.”
Don’t agree with his view on Ukraine, but the rest seems pretty solid. Also includes a fine slam on Obama.
The Brexit vote occurs June 23.
With a helpful nudge from her lackeys in the media, who declared her the Democratic candidate before she had enough elected delegates to clinch, Hillary Clinton actually did manage to clinch the Democratic nomination Tuesday, winning California, New Jersey, South Dakota and New Mexico.
Has there ever been such a prohibitive favorite who still managed to win do it in a less-convincing fashion? Hillary 2016 combines the excitement of Mondale 1984 with the outsider enthusiasm of Humphrey 1968 and the sincerity of Edwards 2008.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is vowing to take the fight to the convention, though it’s hard to see how he wins the nomination at this point short of an FBI indictment or a incapacitating health event on the part of Clinton.