2007 - 2020

Autopsy Aphorisms

It feels like people are staggering about after some act of extreme public violence, all offering completely different accounts of what they’ve witnessed. I am as incapable of anyone else of making any sense of it so resorting to these …

  1. The election gives renewed strength to the claims for a mandate for a Scottish referendum. But this still requires fresh tactics, strategy and thinking from the Yes movement, the SNP and the Scottish government. Nothing is easy or automatic and the political task remains to reach out to people beyond the sub-culture of the independence movement.
  2. The Scottish Labour Party has suffered an un-survivable loss. They have gone from 50 to 1 MPs in a couple of decades. Their inability to change or evolve their constitutional position has destroyed them. The fact that Richard Leonard is still in post is as astonishing as the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is.
  3. The idea spewing out of the remnants of the New Labour project that the lesson from Corbyn’s disastrous campaign is a return to Blairism and radical centralism is as stupid as the idea from the Corbynistas that they just need one last push.
  4. The problem with the “only solution is a centrist politics” argument is the huge pile of defeated centrist politicians lying before you … from Jo Swinson, to Ed Miliband, to Chuka Umunna.
  5. If you think things can’t get any worse, you are wrong. Johnson’s powerbase has expectations and political agenda is self-described as a “New Dawn”. This should be seen as a portent.
  6. Large sections of the population have been affected by Gaslight Populism. This is the lefts failure as much as the rights success.
  7. If you want to know how bad things are Felicity Buchan won Kensington for the Tories from Labour.
    Kensington is where Grenfell Tower is.
  8. The malignant role of the media in the election can’t be shrugged off, it’s a new low. But you can’t simply complain endlessly about the state of the media, you need to: build independent alternatives; rebuild public broadcasting and regulate the press. This represents a crisis for alternative media who need to inspire people to support them, but also need the public to step-up and give support.
  9. It can be both true that Corbyn was relentlessly smeared by a vicious press AND he was remarkably inept, incoherent and incapable.
  10. Corbyn’s lack of charisma was a problem, but we’ve also had a parade of charlatans with grand oratory (all men): George Galloway, Tony Blair, Tommy Sheridan that suggest that standing up a “charismatic candidate” isn’t the answer.
  11. The kind of political opoid of right-wing populism isn’t going away anytime soon. The idea that complex difficult problems can be solved with three or four word slogans: “Take Back Control” – “Get Brexit Done” – “Make America Great Again” – is electorally successful, even if it is socially useless. They’re called Glittering Generalities [thanks to @NorthernCynic3]. But the solution doesn’t rely on replicating these forms but by addressing the fact that individuals are exhausted, stressed, vulnerable, and badly informed.
  12. The use of completely meaningless phrases like “Get Brexit Done” is important. Their complete emptiness is their strength not their weakness. It’s as mundane as “lets have a cup of tea” and that’s why they’ve been created.
  13. As the right creates less and less content (neither the Brexit Party nor the Conservative Party had manifestos that really said anything at all) – the left and the Yes movement creates screeds of papers and huge thick detailed documents. Mimicking the right isn’t the answer but generating content that’s suited to a tl:dr society probably is.
  14. Beware false unity. Division is real.
  15. Whatever the political question or issue, Hugh Grant and Andrew Neil are not the answer.
  16. The very real differences between the political cultures of Scotland and England can’t be ignored, but they shouldn’t be over-exaggerated either.
  17. Anti-semitism is real and is part of a spectrum of bigotry and racism. The fact that it’s been weaponised against criticism of Israel doesn’t mean that it isn’t very real.
  18. The role of embedded senior journalists with the UK government is dangerously unsustainable. The complete breakdown of trust with the mainstream media is not benefitting progressive forces in our society.
  19. Othering Brexit forces as racist morons isn’t going to work.
  20. Boris Johnson is a racist liar. Nobody really cares.

Comments (61)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I really cannot argue with any of that.

    The old mantra of talking to people, explaining to them what we want and the problems that are hidden behind the propaganda, holds true.

    We must not blame or berate others for being taken in by the populist message and the empty slogans as described above; we must talk, quietly and calmly, to as many as will listen, and explain that there is another way.

  2. Robert says:

    21. Nobody should be in any doubt that the same weapons (dark money funded Facebook ads chief among them) that were used to win this election will be deployed to their maximum extent in a future Indyref. Unless Indy supporters understand these weapons and how to defend against them, we’ll lose that one as well.
    22. Left and centre parties’ unconditional support for self-ID and relentless smears of “transphobia” against anyone who dares to question it, were definitely a factor in this election.

  3. Joe Erasmus says:

    Much to digest, indeed. One additional thought…

    A former colleague of mine was doing some research on the relationship between literacy skills and political competence. The connection is obvious but one interesting thing to emerge from the research was that having poor literacy skills impedes a person’s ability to grasp and understand ‘irony’. This simple observation has political implications because people who do not ‘get’ irony are susceptible to the kind of sloganeering that accompanies right-wing populism. The research also shows that they struggle to separate fact from fiction. When I was discussing the implications of this with some liberal friends, they took offence. Some sections of society (I would say many, if not most, in the media) want to decouple the link between literacy and political competence. The middle-class liberals who occupy the mainstream media want us to believe that everyone’s opinion is as valuable (as valued) as everyone else’s. They go on to make the claim that saying that some opinions are better informed than others, is itself ‘elitist’. Herein lies the problem with the superficial nature of liberal thought. We are not all equal. We are very unequal. This includes areas such as education and political competence. Certain political systems (and ideologies) seek to augment the levels of inequality and some seek to diminish them. A large swathe of the professorial class in today’s university sector are the children of the well-read communists who emerged from Britain’s working class towns and mining communities in the 1950s and 60s. I for one would like to see some kind of worker’s education programme set up where lectures in a wide range of subjects are delivered free of charge to diverse communities.

    1. Fearghas MacCoisichear says:

      Hi Joe,

      This is really insightful research. Is it published anywhere? I’d love to read it.

      This is something I have been discussing for a while with different people but never seen it expressed so clearly. Just listening to public phone-ins or reading comments on much of social media shows a general lack of political literacy, and it seems a far cry from the political mobilisation of working class socialsm of 20s, 30s, maybe post war too; whether you agree with the political viewpoints reached or not people were attending frequent lectures and discussions on political matters (as far as i understand not having witnessed those years myself). I think we had a similar mobilisation with the 2014 indyref with the most open and frank everyday political discussions between sides that I have seen but that energy seems distant now. It might start to come back; we have already had RIC return but we need to engage people from outwith that sub-culture. How I’m not sure. Perhaps round the topic of climate action – a hitherto open and positive protest movement and with large public backing. It’s just been eclipsed by right wing populism, but we have to have hope in its rising up over the top of all the toxic slurry of brexit. If enough thinkers get involved, or enough people get involved in thinking, hopefully we can shift opinion enough for some positive outcomes nexr.time round…?

  4. Arboreal Agenda says:

    ‘Get Brexit done’ is not meaningless at all though. It is simplistic but it is far from meaningless and so that is a crucial misunderstanding. Beyond Brexit itself it means let’s put this stuff to bed, finally, and believe me, that is a very real desire of many in England because the shenanigans and utter stalemate in Westminster had got to the point of being unbearable no matter what one’s views on Brexit are. It means the impasse must be broken and Johnson was right on that, much as I support remain and loathe his politics (I voted Labour). Maybe the view from Scotland is different but clearly his main base is south of the border.

    In terms of Scottish independence one of the lessons here would be don’t take your voters for granted.

    1. Joe Erasmus says:

      These slogans are all meaningless. Take Obama’s winning formula “Yes We Can”. Yes we can what? This is so vacuous as to be completely devoid of anything. It’s a meaningless generalised meme designed to illicit an emotion, rather than an intellectual debate. Trump’s “Make America Great Again”. When was it last Great? Great, in what sense? More nonsense. “Get Brexit Done” is no more meaningful. How? Get Brexit done how? Impose a No Deal Crash-out and rip up the economy so that 5 hedge funds can carve up the spoils in the biggest example of accumulation by dispossession in the UK’s history? “Get Brexit Done” is false certainty. Again, its a generalised meme designed to illicit feelings of progress, of purpose, of certainty in an uncertain world. In short, its a scam. An empty, hollowed out, meaningless, politically damaging scam. The point (I think) that Mike is making is not that we should be only critical of slogans, we should realise what they are, how they work and even think about how to incorporate them into our own programme for change.

      1. Bilco says:

        You contradict yourself Joe – the slogan isn’t meaningless. It evokes an emotional response which contains meaning. It has no complexity, but for all of us the most significant aspects and moments of life are rooted in emotional meaning rather than rational thought. The slogan speaks to us at a deeper level, hence its power. A push for independence needs to speak at this deep, subconscious level. You can try to persuade people on currency and all the other details, but it’s what they feel in their gut that will ultimately influence their decision. To see people as primarily rational agents is a mistake. Braveheart worked because it spoke to the emotions, regardless of historical accuracy. The push for independence needs to speak to people at this level. The rest of the fine details are mere window dressing that people will retrospectively use to justify an emotional decision.

        1. Ive been told they’re called “Glittering Generalities”.

          I dont feel very comfortable using propaganda technique to win indy.

          1. Alex K says:

            Uncomfortable using propaganda techniques to win Indy?

            Do whatever it takes, use propaganda methods but stay comfortable.

            The problem is not necessarily propaganda but the selective dissemination of untruth and distorted partial truth by the mainstream media,

            Other than that I agree with almost all you say. I think we have only minor disagreements

        2. Arboreal Agenda says:

          This is spot on. People make the mistake of either ignoring or downgrading, even belittling emotional ‘knowledge’. Feeling something is a type of knowledge and of a powerful sort. In politics, you ignore this at your peril.

          Even I now feel a sense of relative calm with this election result, due to years of debilitating chaos that was driving people mad. All serious politicians need emotional intelligence and though I hate to say it, it seems Johnson has it.

          Of course there is a difference between empty slogans (Brexit means Brexit) and vague but meaningful slogans (Let’s Get Brexit Done) but to think the latter the same as the former it simply wrong.

      2. Me Bungo Pony says:

        “YES WE CAN GET INDEPENDENCE DONE AND MAKE SCOTLAND GREAT AGAIN”

        It’s a triple whammy that can’t possibly fail. A bit wordy maybe, but still ….

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @Me Bungo Pony, or just “Let my people go”?

          1. Hillary Sillitto says:

            “Let my people go” is a key one.

    2. Joe Erasmus says:

      Actually the best example of a completely meaningless slogan for the superficial age of the meme is Barnardos “Believe in Children”. I mean, WTF? Who doesn’t believe in Children? No one disbelieves them (as in – I don’t believe in Santa or God) and there certainly wouldn’t be any future if we didn’t believe that it is always and at all times in the hands of our children (who we need to believe in to take it forward). So the slogan has been designed to illicit a gut response, to stir an ‘innate’ feeling without having to think about it. Johnathan Haidt’s work is good for understanding this https://moralfoundations.org/ particularly his book the Righteous Mind

      1. Wul says:

        “I don’t feel very comfortable using propaganda technique to win indy.”

        I’m totally OK with it. As long as the memes are true. If we are not prepared to use short, sharp messages and simple visual aids to get across the benefits of independence then we are screwed. Everybody else will be using them. Because they work.

        It’s something that bothers me about e.g. Common Weal. Lots of brilliant, workable policy papers that leftist thinkers can debate, but which leave the rest of us thinking “so what?”

        We need to get this message into our heads: Most people don’t like reading political stuff. Many people think in pictures, not words. Some people think in movements and actions ( kinaesthesia), attention spans are short. Most people find politics very, very boring.

        I really learned this lesson when I was building my house; I often left written instructions for tradesmen, explaining details of the build and they were totally, universally, completely ignored. Discarded as soon as my back was turned.
        These were intelligent, skilled, problem solving artisans. But they didn’t think in words or use words to communicate ideas; they would show each other what was needed, draw sketches or give examples (“same as we did on that Edinburgh job, remember?”). They were men who hated school and hated anything that stank of school.

        So much of our world is biased in favour of wordy patter merchants with good memories for what they read. It’s a very over-rated skill. Almost every piece of useful, practical infrastructure around you was built & installed by someone who failed their English exams.

        Three-word slogans work. ” Independence is Normal” “Scotland is Rich” “Small is Successful” “Scotland Welcomes You”
        “Let’s Work Together” “No More Cringe” “Immigrants Bring Wealth” “Self Rule Now”

        No more Mr Nice Scotland. Let’s fucking win one for a change.

        1. That’s why I said: “Mimicking the right isn’t the answer but generating content that’s suited to a tl:dr society probably is.”

          But mimicking the new right isnt a great idea.

          Means and ends matter.
          Means and ends matter.

          1. Wul says:

            “Means and ends matter.”

            Ach, I know they do. If we win, we need to be able to turn round and look at our path with a clear conscience and have the goodwill of as many citizens as possible.

            It has just been so, so frustrating, these last few years.

          2. It really has … but one of the lessons from the Brexit fiasco is that to engage with brutal propaganda techniques may have short-term benefits but pollutes the waters of public discourse and contaminates your own politics.

          3. Hillary Sillitto says:

            As I said in the wrong place:

            There is a continuous spectrum from gentle marketing to full military grade psy-ops fully informed by modern psychological understanding. Corbyn’s lot didn’t even get to the former. Cummings does the latter, and he or is like will most likely do it again for Indyref 2.

            The slogans that ‘cut through’ symbolise and encapsulate the vision and direction of travel in a way that gives psychological ‘certainty’ (or at least comfort) in an increasingly uncertain and confusing world.

            It is absolutely ethical to use these techniques in moderation and with integrity if they are grounded in good policies, because otherwise you can’t persuade people to support and vote for the good policies.

            It is absolutely unethical to use these methods to persuade people to act against their own and their community’s best interests.

            The techniques are neutral, the ethics are in your purpose for using them.

      2. Arboreal Agenda says:

        But please not ‘Best wee country in the world’

  5. Condor says:

    Nice summary

  6. James McCarthy says:

    Entering my 84h year, I have long been a supporter for Scottish independence. I am also a convinced European, (and global citizen) but I am challenged by friends who say that I am being inconsistent in wishing to remain in the European Union while supporting ‘self-determination’ (as I now call it). My answer is that we would at least have an equitable seat at the table, while imperial Westminster has consistently marginalised Scotland when it comes to the crunch eg. on a second referendum. I would welcome comments on this apparent dilemma…

    1. Doug M. says:

      It’s not a dilemma, as the arguments for remaining in the EU are very persuasive. Simply, that a small to medium sized economy, even one the size of the UK, has insufficient clout within trade and other transnational agreements. So while Scotland has the resources, most of the infrastructure and skills to be a successful and thriving small North European country, being part of a greater transnational entity that doesn’t preclude us making our own decisions on our tax, economy, social legislation, armed forces etc, makes a good deal of sense.

      Put it this way, if the Union and the EU were either/or choices right now, which makes more sense? To give up a little autonomy for significant returns in the case of the EU, or give up virtually all autonomy and be compelled to hand over all choices of war and peace, austerity and nationalisation, reform/debility, to a neighbour who demonstrably ignores our interests? Who has had a seat at the table in Brexit, Scotland as part of the Union, or Ireland as part of theirs?

      Funnily enough I have an uncle who shares your name and age. Could it be.. ?

      1. Indy all my life says:

        Rubbish

        Never read so much guff.

        Liberal fairy tale neoliberal clap trap.

        Clearly no idea what the EU has become.

    2. Carole Ross says:

      The difference between being a member nation of the UK and a member nation of the EU is that we would not have to ask permission to leave the EU … (OK there are the negotiations but the principle stands).

  7. Bob Costello says:

    I can’t for the life of me see an actual helpful purpose in that

  8. Malcolm Beaton says:

    I wonder if Brexit is done-31 Jan 2020 -what the situation would be for Scottish Independence?
    Will Scottish voters really chose to leave “Britain “ without being in the EU-ie to be alone in the big bad world ?
    xxd09

  9. Hamish100 says:

    You would think we would be upbeat on a great success story. The FM and the snp, played it well you would think. However on another blog some are still complaining!some still want Nicola Sturgeon to go. What twats. Still for me the most satisfying aspect was to see the Tory vote go down. They fought the election on a no Independence mandate. They lost.
    So let’s wait and see what monies promised by the tories are forgotten about, what trade deals sell out fishing. Personally, at worst I would hold an indicative referendum asking the people’s opinion (inc 16 & 17 year olds) re Independence. If the Unionists choose not to vote so be it. It will still keep the pressure on.

  10. Daniel Raphael says:

    …suited to a tl:dr society probably is.

    Please, what does that mean?

    1. Hi Daniel tl:dr is internet shorthand for “too long didn’t read” …

      1. Alan Stewart says:

        Or, in this case; “too long;didn’t rite”

  11. Alex K says:

    “The election gives renewed strength to the claims for a mandate for a Scottish referendum. ”

    I think what has happened is that the tory-unionist-remain vote has gone to the liberals, and the Labour-independence-remain vote has gone to the SNP, but this needs verification, somehow.

    The Tory vote on Thursday is unionist-leave. The liberal votes are unionist-remain. Labour got the unionist-don’t care vote.

    In any case I do not think we should take this as a mandate for either Independence or a referendum on independence. We have not seen a Brexit bounce or an anti-Boris Bounce yet. Changes in support for independence seem to be the result purely of demographic changes.

    I personally want Independence as soon as possible but I do not want it lost by over optimism

  12. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Will someone please tell me, what is to stop us from seeking the help of the UN under Article 3, I think it is, for the right of a people to decide their own destiny?

    1. MBC says:

      There’s no right of secession in international law from a unitary state. It applies to 19th colonialism only.

      But is the UK a unitary state?

    2. Wul says:

      “What is to stop us…”

      Well one problem would be the fact that, when last asked, 55% of Scottish voters wanted to stay in the UK. They might be a bit pissed off at being dragged out of the UK against their will. No?

      1. Petra says:

        “What is to stop us?”

        Jonathan Cook’s article is well worth a read on answering that one.

        http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2019-12-13/corbyns-defeat-slayed-the-lefts-last-illusion/

        1. Wul says:

          Good article, thanks.

          I wonder what the pro-Corbyn vote would have been, had this not been a ‘Brexit Election”, and had 50% of the media backed him?

  13. William Ross says:

    Mike

    Given your hard left worldview, I think that your autopsy is admirably thoughtful and balanced. You will be getting a bad name soon for being balanced.

    Let a Brexit supporting rightwinger make a few points.

    1. You are quite wrong to argue that ” Get Brexit Done!” is meaningless. There is a very powerful and definite idea behind the slogan ( and also “Take Back Control!”). With the Boris majority we will be leaving the EU at the end of January. Let us put aside the arguments over the trade negotiation. We will be out of EU institutions by 1 Feb 2020. That means “Remain” is now dead. “Rejoin” is no doubt being forged and some day it may happen, though I doubt it very much, at least at the UK level. That is massive.

    2. I think you have more of a point with ” Make America Great Again!” but then that is not my slogan.

    3. For years this mostly articulate left wing site has tried to upturn the result of a great democratic referendum and many authors have characterised Leavers as being bigoted racists. One writer even equated Brexit with fascism! This was a phenomenal mistake. And your efforts were spent defending a centre- right oligarchy which would never give your ideas the time of day. The English working class is now Tory!

    4. The SNP has had a great night but Nicola is over-playing her hand. Boris has every mandate to take the whole UK out of the EU as the EU member is the UK, the 2016 electorate was UK based and the question related to the UK. The old chestnut of “equal partner in the Union” has also made a quick re-appearance. ( Sturgeon, Brown and Hendry in one day — you gotta admire the synchronization!) We have never been, are not and never will be an equal partner in the Union becuase if we were, Scotalnd and England would have the same number of MPs. These are fake arguments. Not very encouraging really.

    5. However, Johnson is playing a very dangerous game himself. The “once in a generation” argument has no constitutional or legal basis. By long constitutional precedent Scotland has the right to leave the Union. The 2014 referendum is based on the precedent that a manifesto- mandated majority in the Scottish Parliament has the right to demand an Indyref. I predict that 2020 will see a stand-off on Indy but the results in 2021 will be definitive. “Union” Jack got this right even if no other Tory did. If Brexit is entirely over by then, as I hope and believe, we will be into an entirely new political era and everything will be up for grabs.

    6. Think the unthinkable. Break the consensus.

    Merry Christmas

    William

    1. Wul says:

      “Hard Left” being things like: a nationalised rail & transport network, a nationalised health service, a state-run medicine production industry, representation for employees and a real living wage?

      Does it seem OK that I can make an unearned income from a Durham child’s need for a cancer drug?

      The things we can’t do without; transport to work, water, health care, education, affordable housing, electricity etc. should be provided by the state, funded from taxes. The rest can be happily privatised and still leave a vibrant, thriving marketplace.

      The Dutch Goverment’s state-owned “Nederlandse Spoorwegen” is running the trains in Scotland and Germany. Are The Netherland’s a “Far-Left” state?

  14. w.b. robertson says:

    Nicola and the SNP should be careful what they demand (and wish for). By my arithmetic, the party`s winning “mandate” in total votes was less than those votes cast for all the other parties combined. This would suggest that in the present political climate a second referendum might prove untimely.

    1. Daniel Raphael says:

      An interesting and relevant observation. Anyone else have a view on this?

      1. Cruachan says:

        Worth remembring that 16 and 17 year olds, and EU citizens are not permitted (by UK Govt.) to vote in UKGE.

      2. Jo says:

        I was interested to hear someone claim a mandate for Johnson – at 42% – yet deny a mandate to the SNP at 45% of the vote.

        It’s important too that we remember Scotland didn’t just invent the phrase, “equal partner” in the Union. This was how Scotland was described by UK government figures!

        Johnson’s speech yesterday spoke of representing people from……and went on to mention towns only from England and Wales!

    2. Petra says:

      Don’t forget that was a GE and that although 40% of labour supporters want to live in an independent Scotland many of them would have voted for their struggling leader and to keep Johnston out. And what will the 60% do now that they realise that they’ll be living in an out of the EU Tory run UK for the next 5 to 10 years? Will some of them vote for independence too, as could be the case with some Libdems (who want to remain in the EU) or Tories for that matter. Indyref2 will also include 16/17 year olds and EU nationals. In other words the outcome of that GE isn’t an indication of how well we could do in an independence referendum, IMO.

  15. Indy all my life says:

    It is very simple.

    Do not treat people as fools just because they can see through your Group Think.

    Never ask them to vote again.

    If you had honoured the brexit result 3 years ago. Labour would have won this one.

    Now just go and try and win Indy with your heart of Europe nonsense. I dare you.

    1. Wul says:

      Are you Derek?

  16. Alex K says:

    Point 13 in the article

    In software engineering you can either a) make things so simple they are obviously no problems or b) make things so complex there are no obvious problems.

    Option (b) is much easier

    When creating documents you can either (1) create detailed screeds or (2) create shorter documents that can be proven right.

    (2) is harder and falls down because people are swayed by emotion not logic. But it is still a better path to take: make your proposal, mention problems, show a solution. Then cut the number of words by 50%. Leave it 24 hours then start revising and proofreading.

    I agree that a 100 page detailed document is useful, to most people, only as a cure for insomnia.

    1. There’s certainly an argument for brevity and clarity.

      I’m not sure everything can be reduced to simplicity. Some issues or problems or solutions are complex and adults need to be made aware of that complexity.

      1. john burrows says:

        Actually it is rather simple – a decade or more of right wing f**kwittery and insulting condescension, or independence. There is no contest with such a choice. We can also count on a significant portion of English emigres who will champion the cause themselves.

  17. Malcolm Beaton says:

    An electorate who after voting for retention of the union then continues to put mostly SNP candidates into Holyrood and Westminster has mastered the art of tactical voting
    Presumably they want the strength (money) of the Union but feel that “Scottish “ MSP,s/MP,s would be the ones with Scotland,s interests most at heart
    The SNP have a competent politician at the moment in Nicola Sturgeon but she has been there a long time and had lots of chances to do radical things-if another competent performer appears like Ruth Davidson -(is she returning?) things could change very quickly

  18. Douglas Wilson says:

    First and foremost, another incredible victory by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP…

    In three General Elections, Sturgeon’s SNP have won 139 seats out of a total of 177 seats, or 78% of seats contested. It’s an astonishing achievement and speaks volumes of the people who run the SNP.

    It makes the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon the most successful political force in the whole of Western Democracy in modern times as far as I can see…

    They deserve great credit for that, and if Sturgeon was English, we can imagine the headlines those three combined results would have been making…

    1. Lordmac says:

      If brexiteers and ukip could afforded the cost to stand for elections ,why has the SNP not stood in england as a party say UK party controlled in Westminster by Nicola with a policy for independence for all could have been a game changer

      1. Arboreal Agenda says:

        You never know, if the SNP had done that a few years back we may now be looking at the abolition of England altogether with Scotland simply replacing it under an SNP government. No need for independence than at all.

  19. Lordmac says:

    The Tory party had the grip on labour, from the onset, they offered nothing, will explain nothing ,and when they have done all that ,there beef will be if you don’t take these low paid fruit picking jobs, or zero hour work you will only get a voucher for the food bank, there will never be a job for fruit pickers a t£ 30,000 a year home helper or servants ,but there will be loads of training as like a new YTS and if you don’t conform . don’t come greeting to us, as we are Tory’s and you voted for it. And we have to claw back our Euro subsidies short fall from someone, to pay the farmers who grow no crops and fishermen. Who catch no fish,and should you loose her job within the next 5 years ,we will all meet up in the food bank cue.

  20. Hillary Sillitto says:

    I’ve been thinking about this.

    There is a continuous spectrum from gentle marketing to full military grade psy-ops fully informed by modern psychological understanding. Corbyn’s lot didn’t even get to the former. Cummings does the latter, and he or is like will most likely do it again for Indyref 2.

    The slogans that ‘cut through’ symbolise and encapsulate the vision and direction of travel in a way that gives psychological ‘certainty’ (or at least comfort) in an increasingly uncertain and confusing world.

    It is absolutely ethical to use these techniques in moderation and with integrity if they are grounded in good policies, because otherwise you can’t persuade people to support and vote for the

    It is absolutely unethical to use these methods to persuade people to act against their own and their community’s best interests.

    The techniques are neutral, the ethics are in your purpose for using them.

  21. Wul says:

    “But you can’t simply complain endlessly about the state of the media, you need to: build independent alternatives; rebuild public broadcasting and regulate the press. ”

    I’m getting by on much less than the UK average wage, but I’m happy to support truly independent media like Bella.

    Would it be possible to build an real “public” broadcaster from the ground up? If every “Yes” voting Scot chipped in £1/month it would raise £19 million/year. Quite a useful sum. Enough to run some decent internet advertising at least.

  22. SleepingDog says:

    While I was watching The Worlds of Ursula K Le Guin (a couple of days left on BBC iPlayer), the points that the science-fiction/fantasy writer (described as an accomplished world-builder) made seem relevant, in that imagining alternate worlds was not escapism (you can treat it that way, but you’re missing the point) but challenges to the idea that the existing world was unquestionable. Le Guin created some thought experiments like The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas
    Essentially, political literacy (politics being how we arrange to live in groups large enough to contain strangers) is about thinking of such systems in the abstract, and considering questions such as “Is this fair?” or “Would I like to live here even if I could not choose which status in society I would occupy?”.

    If asked to create a model of their own society, what would members of the UK electorate come up with? What persons, objects and relationships might they represent? What functions might they identify? And if they were asked to build a model of a better world, what changes might they make? We might look at what tools are helpful for such a project. My guess, poetry and dance are not suitable. Games, yes: because you can ask of a game “is this fair?”. Science fiction is in some respects the political wing of modern culture. You can find a relevant treatment in, say, Iain M Banks’ novel Player of Games. But even Marvel’s Civil War stories have more political punch than much of mainstream output, it seems. The problem is if such stories are told from the perspective of privileged insiders; Le Guin knew perfectly well that you have to tell such stories from the viewpoint of outsiders, who cannot by their position trust those in authority.

    1. Wul says:

      “Would I like to live here even if I could not choose which status in society I would occupy?”.

      That is a very useful and profound question to ask. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Wul, yes, the idea of “original position” comes from philosopher John Rawls’ thought experiment on setting up a fair (just) society. So in (collectively) designing a fair-just society, we should place ourselves under a ‘veil of ignorance’ about our personal characteristics, so that we are not designing a society just to suit ourselves:
        https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/original-position/

  23. Graham Ennis says:

    will the last socialist to leave England please turn out the lights. Because what happens now is a decade of darkness, evil and horror. The right have run, and only major external forces and impacts, such as major wars in the middle east cutting oil supplies and bankrupting most of Eurpose, will have enough impact to topple the new regime in England. Note I say England. Scotland is leaving, (and taking the oil with it) and Northern Ireland is leaving and reunifying. Wales will be squeezed by events into a desperate attempt to leave as well. What will be left is a semi-fascist, authoritarian Regime with destruction of civil liberties and Human Rights, political and cultural repression, and ever closed links of bondage to the USA. Inevitably, the UK will be forced into endless wars, as Amerika struggles to avoid falling to the bottom of the international order. In this, it will fail. It will go under, internally divide, and will suffer internal collapse. Happy Xmas everyone. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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