The recurring theme of the #GE2017 is of an elite scared of any dissent, whether its the Thurrock Lies footage, the censorship of Mr Ethical at the Rye hustings, the fear in the PM’s face as she stammers out ‘Are you a journalist ….?’ at a factory visit, the repression of the Captain Ska’s anti-Tory song Liar Liar (which they then added insult to injury by asking him not to “go too hard on the Tories”), the multiple media refusals by Theresa May, or the Scottish press’s inability to report on an Edinburgh film-maker who produced a film predicting the Corbyn phenomenon weeks before it happened (and subsequently was locked out of all of his social media platforms – despite achieving a million views) – only The Canary covered it.  When Bella put it to two well known Scottish journalists they treated us with complete contempt and refused even to watch it.

The overwhelming theme we’ve seen day after day is fear. Fear of the public, fear of ordinary people, fear of the most plaintive easy questioning, fear of having to defend their track record in office, fear of the world outside their gothic pallisade.

As the PM comes to Leith (allegedly) the Tories love of carefully choreographed “public” events looks more and more bizarre.

As writer Peter Geoghegan notes:

“The prime minister’s preference for stage-managed public events with almost no unscripted public involvement looks presidential when you are 20 points ahead in the polls. When that gap narrows to five it appears as if the leader is avoiding the people.”

This country has changed utterly in the past twenty years.

Does anyone remember the ‘man in the white suit”?

“In 1997, twenty-four days before that year’s British General Election, Martin Bell announced that he was leaving the BBC to stand as an independent candidate in the Tatton constituency in Cheshire. Tatton was one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, where the sitting Conservative Member of Parliament, Neil Hamilton, was embroiled in “sleaze” allegations. The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties withdrew their candidates in Bell’s favour in a plan masterminded by Alastair CampbellTony Blair‘s press secretary. Hamilton was trounced, and Bell was elected an MP with a majority of 11,077 votes – overturning a Conservative majority of over 22,000 – and thus became the first successful independent parliamentary candidate since 1951.”

We are a long way from Martin Bell.

You can view the Tory MP for South East Cornwall trying to get the chair at a hustings to call the police because people speak out against her at a public meeting here:

You can view the Home Secretary trying to shut down Nicholas Wilson, an independent anti-corruption candidate standing in Rye here:

 

 

These are both politicians in a state of fear, both unable to engage in public discussion, both hiding behind threats or censorship, both colluded with by timid chairs in supposed democratic public events.

Both of these simple examples are an absolute affront to democracy.

Many on the left point out the inadequacy of parliamentary politics, how its stage-managed, framed and filtered from beginning to end. But if this election proves anything it is that social media makes there less space for candidates to hide.

Mr Ethical is today’s man in a white suit, but instead of being celebrated he’s smeared and ridiculed.

This is Project Fear eating itself, live.

As someone in Kent erects a huge version of Theresa May – equal parts Little Britain – Boadicea  – and The Wicker Man – giving the whole of Europe the V sign from the White Cliffs of Dover, this General Election has an air of un-reality about it.

Maybe it’s the hot-weather the screeching tone or the uncomfortable shifting as Theresa May and her Home Secretary squirm under the mildest scrutiny, the colour draining out of their faces. Maybe it’s the madness of Katie Hopkins on US television with ‘Person of Interest’ Nigel Farage talking about how we “should round up the Muslims”.

There’s fear too in the Telegraph declaring Colonel Ruth the Queen of Scots and working themselves up to declaring a landslide defeat as a magnificent victory.

Is this actually happening?

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