Is this 2017 all over again?

The spiked team discuss the election campaign so far.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Why have the Tories made such a dog’s dinner of their campaign launch? Can Labour’s Brexit position survive the next four weeks? Is Dominic Cummings a Russian asset? Tom Slater, Ella Whelan and Tim Black discuss, on this week’s spiked podcast.

Picture by: Getty.

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Marvin Jones

15th November 2019 at 5:26 pm

Reading these comments below and learning about this subtle and complicated in so many more ways through some wise thinking from intelligent people. I am going to come across as a Kami Kaze fanatic. If the Tories win the election without TBP’s help, then Nigel will not be totally ruined, but he will be badly damaged. I think Boris will need their help when the going gets real tough. So, if I was Nigel, I would call this narcissists arrogant bluff, and fight in every constituent as he threatened to do. Regardless of what destruction to the country this would cause with the Commies in charge. Destroy the country, the Tories, Boris and himself. Unless Boris offers Nigel a coalition and a big part in the movie. What more has he got to lose, and how big is Johnson’s kebabs?

Jim Lawrie

9th November 2019 at 12:27 pm

The vitriol against Dominic Cummings is an offshoot of the sore loser streak in Remain. Cummings took them on and beat them. That they cannot stomach.
They know he is a lot more capable than them, and are afraid of provoking him into the fray.

In Negative

9th November 2019 at 10:57 am

Not a hope my area will return Tory. No chance.

It’s not helped by the fact Boris presents like a kind of crank-handled bubble-machine, all his swollen messages floating up into the sky like so much disassembled hot air. The guy can barely string a sentence together and one does suspect he doesn’t fully understand the deal he’s pedalling.

The parties themselves feel more like they are manipulating dead signs. They all posess an image of themselves and each other, but these images connect to nothing real. Hence Boris thinks connecting Corbyn to Stalin will have traction or McDonnel thinking workers across the north will rise up every time he says ‘solidarity’. Does the word ‘solidarity’ mean anything to anyone anymore? It looks like play-acting more than persuasion or representation. They pretend to be a grass-roots movement with no grass-roots to move from.

On Brexit, I’m still undecided as to whether it’s a real event or if everyone’s just LARPing and it’s got a bit out of hand. I’m pretty sure the political parties are LARPing in every other respect. JRM playing 19th century Conservative gentleman; Corbyn playing Tony Benn; McDonnel playing that lizard alien woman from that 80s TV series V.

We will see.

Mike Ellwood

9th November 2019 at 10:26 pm

I thought McDonnell was playing Trotsky to Corbyn’s Stalin.

(Only kidding).

(But thanks for reminding me about the series “V”).

Jim Lawrie

9th November 2019 at 10:55 am

Despite the media and judicial onslaught against them, The Conservatives are climbing steadily in the polls. If they see their usual 2/3 point bounce in the election itself, they win.

Comparisons with 2017 are relevant in so far as a small majority leaves them vulnerable to their remain MP’s stabbing them in the back again, in the name of conscience and what is best for us. And of course, seeing their own names up in lights. By retaining these people, Boris has failed as a leader of his Party. He had plenty of time to have them deselected, and replaced with candidates who are known locally. He has failed to address the question of trust on behalf of the nation. His Party’s response to media dishonesty is cowering and bleating.

People can see that the Jacob Rees Mogg “furore” was totally twisted and manufactured. The campaign so far has been one of zero substance, and heaps of invective, caterwauling and misrepresentation.

Labour have taken back the support that LibDem won as an outright Remain Party by becoming that themselves.

I suspect that the pollsters are having difficulty finding working class people to participate, because they expect to be misrepresented.

Marvin Jones

15th November 2019 at 4:51 pm

Yes, for sure Boris is not at all what he is trying to portray himself to be. He did not even take the opportunity to fill his cabinet with leavers for solidarity, his true liberal defects will not take too long to show if he remains PM, and his heart is not for leaving hook line and sinker. He is a phoney, but the best we have.

A Game

8th November 2019 at 8:11 pm

People versus parliament hinged on Boris being a usurper of the status quo. He reverted to establishment, from his back slapping success in Brussels, with that Treaty, and ever since. That they have kept talking up about who gets the whip back… that was a massive mistake. Those Tories demanding that, behind the scenes, needed to be told to park it and wait till after the election. Its been a dreadful message that the Tories still love those MPs who were happy to sell the people down the river, from the protection of parliament. The Tories sided with their oppressors.
Labour… reverted to their favourite tropes. That Labour voters are soaking it up, proof that they are still loved… when will they open their eyes and really look at that party, their conduct, their attitudes… Labour talking up their green project… surely, by now, most Labour voters know that mad green policies are against their working interests? That Labour will forever undermine whatever plans they have for the NHS by mass immigration. You can never truly fund/cater for something like the NHS with a population bulging more and more, every year. Die hard labour supporters refuse to connect the dots or refuse to let go of their Tory hatred. (Deserved, historically, but Thatcher and Major are a long time ago. Labour has dined out on that legacy, long enough.)
Labour wanting to ignore Brexit is also the sign of how little they think about the deep problems of the EU and where its going, what its about. But then, perhaps that is what they want to avoid. They don’t want to be questioned about eurozone, etc.

Yes, the Tories handling of the Labour angle of attack… it is… stale, inaccurate. “Veneer of radicalism”. It is handing it to them. Good insight.
Johnson’s tin ear. Another good observation. This is where he is not cutting through. He seems incapable of pulling it apart, as it needs to be done. The obvious case is that globalisation has made economies vulnerable to crackpot governments. But to pull it apart would require the care, the desire for people to know more. Boris is proving to be very establishment in most certainly not wanting to go there.

Cracking show!

Marvin Jones

15th November 2019 at 5:01 pm

All of what you have mentioned is why to me Boris is a phoney and will prove to be the biggest betrayer of all. Would you still keep the dog as a pet which has just savaged your child? so, why would he give the whip back to these traitors of their country, democracy, voters who selected them and the corrupt Parliament where they are protected from any accountability, and to drain the trough with their evolved trunks that used to be known as a nose.

A Game

8th November 2019 at 7:48 pm

Re Tom Watson… and wasn’t there a Labour MP, from one of the grooming scandal electorates, who was stood down from the front bench, for wanting to get the crimes onto the national agenda… did Tom ever apologise for that, and fight to get her reinstalled? His dreadful faux pas that wasn’t on the side of truth, and the other MP, who was proven correct, one was rewarded, one was punished.

Its is a tedious thing that they have used the same tactic of left/right, good/bad being applied to remain/leave. Unimaginative hacks. But effective. How people are addicted to the lure of being a “good person”.

Swinson… if only she kept it to “party leaders” rather than the girly exclusion. Thank god they are blocking her… she is so dull in her set pieces… but then… exposure is her worst enemy… let her in, let her in! Be cool if Farage was allowed into the mix, too…

Yes, its a dead interesting election. For many voters, the Lib Dems or Labour can be a nightmare, they are wanting to overturn the ref, wanting to remain, so they are assured of a level of support completely separated from the party itself and what they otherwise believe. So the traditional left/right is completely out the window. 2017… they were all going to support the result, but this election, the masks have to be off.

Tories… Boris set off, as new PM, with all guns blazing. He was taking on the establishment, he was the freedom fighter in that remain parliament, leave voters rose up and supported him, he became the man of the people. Then it all started going downhill. They never had the substance to back up the style. And the backlash is there. And the Brexit is a limp, damaged version.

The party faithful… always frustrating when you are trying to overthrow the establishment.
The media have pushed the Brexit Party/Tory narrative, which means the Tory domestic policies have been sidelined, whereas Labour has had more room to talk about their Trump fantasies. Boris has been trying to make it about his NHS building and more coppers etc… media not bothering too much, and also, he announced most of it in parliament with the budget.

Because the BP, to differentiate from Mr Get Brexit Done, they have been forced into talking about the details of the BRINO Treaty. Otherwise they are just splitting the leave vote and the Tories are the party of Brexit. So the BP do have that work to do… no one else is at all interested in going into the details, especially the Tories.
The fear campaign against the BP, perpetuated by Tories and media, of splitting the vote, it has put them on the defensive of having to explain why they are still standing. Some anti Labour folk are sh**ting their pants about the leave vote being split.

Boris betrayed the working class leavers with his BRINO. Being a Tory, those voters were waiting for it. That is an aspect that was not considered when Boris was promising to die in a ditch. Those leave voters were with him, willing him on… and he turned all establishment and Tory protector. They were the wrong voters to do that to.
Also, Boris’s forte was fighting against the tyrants in parliament. Obviously he needs a good foe to shine. But his manner, fast speaking, the favoured platitudes… its not the right note, not at this point in time, this moment in history. Brexit was made so personal, especially for those who voted leave. Asking Labour voters to reject their party, on Brexit alone, when Boris wants to just “get it done” and go back to being a traditional Tory… nup. He’s liked… but its incredibly simplistic to think that in this election, after the debacle of 2017, would be enough.

A Game

8th November 2019 at 7:23 pm

The Tories have allowed themselves to be sidetracked and possibly been exposed as naïve that the media wouldn’t be coming for them, like this.
Lol, no need to edit Starmer. Got that right.
The Tory BRINO, perhaps by its very nature, the subterfuge, is what has made them vulnerable to their message being lost. A good percentage of it is deliberately being glossed over.

I dont’ think it should ever be conflated the class/race aspects to why they were living in a death trap, and it being about class/race once the tower was ablaze. To bring up common sense… is that going straight to a class/race thing? Everyone, when picturing themselves in that situation, think, “I would have run for my life”. We all have that luxury. Like JRM. And E Whelan is right when she says its political suicide to say anything about Grenfell… that is the problem with this storyline. That tragedy and victims of government ineptitude, corruption or indifference has always existed… and Grenfell have the visibility of their tragedy, there, undeniable. Their fight against the system is that bit easier for that. Governments, historically, are guilty of these… oversights. That Grenfell is a political football, with everyone fighting over who gets to capitalise the most from it… how does that differ from the bureaucrats/politicians who thought it was okay to neglect council housing because politically it was expedient/viable to do so?

Steve Roberts

8th November 2019 at 4:59 pm

Whelan is both right and slightly wrong here, despite the historical and now present betrayals of the Labour Party there will be sections of that traditional vote that does not shift, however , and i have witnessed this on the streets campaigning, there is a very significant previous labour vote that has shifted completely away from labour,and likely not to shift back, enough is enough is the cry, never again, the anger and sense of deep betrayal is very real.
But Whelan is absolutely correct, and many commentators do not seem to grasp this, TBP vascillating and offering pacts with the conservatives who have just tried to force through a remain treaty is extremely damaging to the leave vote. It is sending completely mixed messages to voters, on one hand proclaiming it is the only leave party and on the other offering pacts with a remain party. The words seem principled but the deeds quite the opposite, so Whelan is correct, the only way, nationally for TBP to be successful is to give form to its words , stop all talk of pacts, differentiate itself in words and deeds, get back to basics , this is about defending democracy and the denial of the referendum result, changing politics for good, not the nuances of trade deals. I fear compromise rearing its ugly head, i hear the phones are open and “..we need the strongest brexit possible..” People used as a stage army in a political machine again ? I hope not.

A Game

8th November 2019 at 8:34 pm

S Roberts:
I agree, the BP have too early, blinked. But look at the circumstances. They had to sit on the sidelines whilst Boris forged his path as man of the people, became the face of Brexit, Leave voters were his support base, defending his humbug, etc, and the promise of going nuclear if necessary. So with a good deal of that momentum, the election campaign began, and the BP were having to rain on the parade.
They were, straight away, under attack from the media, the Tories and a good percentage of Leave voters who are either trad Tory votes or leave voters who can live with the compromise or Boris lovers willing him on to win. Then it got mixed in with the anti Corbyn crowd, who don’t care that much about Brexit compared to keeping Labour out of Government. And they were under attack for being nitpickers, for being purists, extremists, that there is no Brexit that would make them happy. Farage under personal attack – his ego, he just won’t accept the deal because it means the end of the road, etc etc. So it put the BP on the defensive, straight away.
They are also the only party that has the duty/role of pulling apart why the Treaty is BRINO, and why its truly unacceptable for a sovereign nation to sign off on it. So they have a complicated role, almost a burdensome role, with no launchpad from the parliamentary shenanigans, as a small, new party fighting the establishment. Never an easy position.
So I agree that the most recent compromise offer – the non aggression pact was always fine, if they are both parties of Leave, then don’t take each other out, but that fails in the face of the Tories desperately wanting to own Brexit and wanting people to believe that Treaty is the real thing – was the wrong move at the wrong time. Too early.

But Leave voters have a duty to understand the position the BP is in. They are against the Tory machine. They are the minority party. They don’t have the numbers, the support to get into government. That is their biggest weakness and what makes them vulnerable to be the party to compromise. But the Tories aren’t offering a decent Brexit. So they are caught. Leave voters have to understand this and at this early stage, not hold too much against them. They are not a traditional party, like the others. They want Brexit. They don’t have to lie or pretend. There is no point to their existence if they want to sign off on a bad Brexit. They may as well go home.
There role is to keep the Tories honest.
In Australia, the Australian Democrats for years, could only get into the senate. So that became their thing, to make sure they got good numbers in the senate, even if they couldn’t get anyone in the lower house. And their favourite campaign slogan for being the umpire party in the senate was “keep the bastards honest”. (Until they sided with the Howard government over a GST… they don’t really exist anymore. The Greens have taken their votes, now.)
I think the BP have that role. They can’t overtake Tory seats, but their role is to be in the house, on the spot, keeping on eye on Brexit all the way. Even better if the TOries need them to govern. That would be perfect. But for that to happen, the Tories need to man up and realise they just haven’t done the work to deserve those labour votes and their Brexit isn’t true enough.
This is by default. If Labour was the party of Leave, then the BP’s role would be the same, with them. The BPs policies, you can see, are quite centrist and some of them are excellent in principle.
Labour leave voters don’t have the luxury regular Tory voters have. A soft Brexit and their favourite party doing their thing. But Labour leave voters have to sacrifice their traditional interests if they want Brexit. Or, they have to sacrifice Brexit for their traditional interests. Its of course typical that its the working classes that have to make that choice, that sacrifice, but I think Brexit needs to be their priority, because as you’d well know (documented, actually, I’ve read a few of your articles)… the EU is not the working classes’ friend and into the future, its not going to work out well.

So I think the BP need to have some slack cut for them, especially this early into the election. That Banks (who thinks he’s been promised a knighthood or something?) and a few others have come out against Farage, that hasn’t helped. But they, early on, have to do the work of pointing out why that Treaty is BRINO and not Brexit. No one is willing to take their word for it, and if they don’t, then no one understands why they are still running. The media, you can see, are completely hands off wanting to go into the details of that deal. And when Farage starts going into it, they want to cut him off as though he’s on a campaign monologue, as opposed to pointing out what’s wrong with the Treaty. The modern media have no palate for details. Just after gotcha moments. Its also what’s made the election rather ho hum.
Hopefully the BP can get into their stride when the dust settles. And hopefully the dopey Tories will realise they haven’t built the foundations for them to sweep into power on the backs of Labour heartland seats.

Steve Roberts

9th November 2019 at 5:20 pm

A Game, there is a distinct difference in our approaches, yours tends towards parliamentary arithmetics of the moment, so while i have no wish to unpick your post it is inevitable you will see the situation in terms of tactics, timings etc.
My approach is different, it is based upon an acceptance that if the referendum result and the democratic content of it is to be defended it can only be done so by the removal of the antidemocrats in the HOC and the new candidates for election who also fit that category, i.e. not prepared to defend the decision to leave unequivocally.
The truth, as unpalatable as it is, is that until these people are removed from public life, we will not leave and democracy will be severely damaged, that was the role TBP promised to play, not compromise or make a pact with these people, it was to change politics for good and defend democracy, that is why it has received the support it has across the political spectrum, until now.
If it strays away from those principles it is simply just one more party machine playing machine politics with the people as a stage army, if that transpires , pacts are made, its “purpose” is over, one could even say people will have been betrayed again, early days but forewarned etc etc.

Jerry Owen

8th November 2019 at 3:01 pm

I’ll listen to the podcast later, one big difference is that this time we are seeing the exodus of so many destructive cowards and traitors. That can only be good.

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