It’s all Paxo’s fault!

15 May

It was difficult, if not impossible, for the official opposition to challenge the Coalition when the government was effectively implementing New Labour [austerity] policies. It is important to stress this fact, because as elections approach the sleepwalker segment of the electorate, desperate for something better, votes for the opposition in order to defeat the incumbent and nothing changes. (Tariq Ali, The Extreme Centre, 2015.)

Aren’t you bored, aren’t you more bored than anyone? Ain’t you been talking to [politicians] year after year, listening to their lies, their nonsense, then it’s this one gets in, that one gets in, but the problem continues? Why are we going to continue to contribute to that facade? (Russell Brand to Jeremy Paxman, 2013.)

Part of Russell Brand’s diagnosis is right, said Paxo a few days later. This went down like a bucket of cold sick ​in Westminster. ​It’s people like ​Paxman, said one ​Labour middleweight, who are responsible for young people not voting.

Have you noticed this dismal sign of the times? A sharp increase in the number of politicians and apparatchiks (the rise of the technical manager in our dying public sector paralleling that of the technocrat in our dying social democracy) who advance​ arguments so preposterous you can’t tell if they’re monumentally cynical or incredibly stupid. My holding position is they’re both. Cynicism and a self serving relationship to life beget, through such well understood psychological mechanisms as conformity and cognitive dissonance, their own forms of stupidity.

We’re lied to and spied on. We have no foreign policy beyond compliance with the most dangerous nation on earth. Our elected representatives line their pockets through expenses scams and “revolving door”. In all that most matters, parliamentary sovereignty has been ceded to The Market and Atlanticism. But no: none of these things causes “voter apathy”.  For that we must thank Paxman​!​

PS a few have asked, not always sarcastically, if I have any answers. Nope. Sometimes we have only questions and a belief that, come what may, we get nowhere by denying realities, however daunting. Biggest of these are (a) the implications for us all of capitalism with the brakes off; (b) how the world’s sole superpower will respond – the vilification of Putin a pallid foretaste of what’s to come in the Pacific – to being overtaken economically by a militarily inferior China.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *