Nothing very “centrist” about that.

Laissez-faire
Less fair
Fewer fare
Welfare

Nothing very “centrist” about that. I remember when the common complaint of the Left was that Labour had moved to the right; that it was ‘Blue Labour’ and I remember how the Conservatives had the nerve to claim that they held the Centre when it had clearly shifted the country to the Right. Those were the days when the idea of a middle/the centre, though politically subjective, was understood to be relative; a moveable feast, eagerly sought and fought for – when to be moderate was not condemned as wishy-washy and most certainly was not used as a euphemism for ‘neoliberal’.

I wrote loads, here and on twitter, about the centre and the middle. Some of it was creative mischief or naive reactionary hyperbole, of course (just scroll up and type “middle” or “centre” into the search box) but the connective thread through my arguments was not and the topic was ripe in the Press and on social media. Back then, I was tweeting such sentiments as: “Labour stop fuss-assing with this insipid centre ground tosh. Take us Left & call it “The Centre” like Thatcher & Blair taught us 😉 #bbcsp” [April, 2013]

Those were the days when the middle/the centre was a desirable direction for those who are now calling anti-Brexit and not-keen-on-Corbyn people “centrists”, as though to hold such a position were right-wing and, therefore, anathema to Reason and decency. They forget that, like austerity, moderation is more than just a socio-economic philosophy. It is also an attitude; a reflection of an inner worldview response, mindful of extremism and hysteria, constantly taking responsibility for checking itself. There is nothing Thatcherite, neoliberal, Blairite or any other lazy labelling about that. There is little about our current political climate that is.

A party that…

For as long as neither Labour nor the Conservatives speak for me and are unlikely to, any time soon and, since no politicians I like seem about to join the Liberal Democrats, I think I’d rather like to see a new party emerge. Not easy to pull off, certainly but exciting to think about, nonetheless.

A party that attracts from all existing parties and beyond. A party that grasps the best of both Left and Right philosophies because it is intelligent enough to recognise merit and unafraid to support it. A party that is capable of putting its country and her citizens above and before itself. A party that understands how stupidly catastrophic Brexit is. A Remain party, obviously.

A party that believes public service to be noble and high office to be a privilege. A party that values both the liberty of individuals and the strength of the collective. Not a party of naive romantics and incompetent utopians but a party of imaginative thinkers with moderate dispositions. Not a party that is so pragmatic as to border on cruelty and authoritarianism but a party that employs practical wisdom in the pursuit of commonly discerned ideals. A party that respects Law, Constitution and Democracy and understands that all are of more import than as expedient vehicles for narrow ideologies.

A party whose worldview is not small and petty but humane and intellectually curious. A party that leads its country, not as a pompous, self-entitled yappy dog but as already being part of a global family, ever seeking positive, progressive and honourable relationships. A party that considers its nearest geographic neighbours as well-matched members of that family. A party that reveres our planet and respects its finite resources and our environmental impact on its integrity. A party that does not reach for success through exploitation, neither at the expense of its own citizens nor those of other nations.

A party that does not promote holier-than-thou messaging; that does not induce paranoia nor polarise and oppress with lazy scapegoating and policies that further segregation. A party that does not look to inhibit or advance demographic status according to popular whim and its own ideological contempt. A party that can make the local comfortable and sustainable within the pressures and opportunities of modern global connectivity. A party that understands how much stronger a country’s economy is when its citizens are healthy, secure and well-educated; autonomous rather than automated. A party that believes that an economy should work for its Society, not the other way around. A party that recognises how Brexit imperils any such model. A party that understands how Life needs to be worth living and endeavours to not be an agent of indignity, misery and hardship. And completely unnecessary risks. Like Brexit.

Call it “centrist” if you must‬. Or “liberal”. “Patriotic”, even…😉

Which party?

Brexit aside, which party is more malleable: a party led by a seemingly unassailable yesteryear ideologue or a party caught out and haunted by the overt flaws in its libertarian mindset? Which is more palatable: a party that seeks social justice by means of a chippy levelling down or a party that is so admonished and exposed that it may yet have social justice thrust upon it by sheer necessity and command?

One party merely seeks to scapegoat different demographics; the other is seeing its scapegoats bite back. One is on the upturn of the wheel of self-righteousness; the other is coming down. Which is likely to be the most adaptive: the one coming up on hubris and rose-tinted zeal or the one that is increasingly pulled down by its rich certainties and chastened by the consequences of its overreach?

Now add Brexit. Which party accepts that Brexit is, irrespective of current official positions, the priority that will determine the viability of the whole United Kingdom and the well-being of every individual on these isles? Which party is most likely to listen and learn and accommodate realities and new information? Which party’s approach might be more readily altered by sensible persuasion? Which party seems more sensitive to the scrutiny and pressure of the wider public and the Media? Which party looks as though it can be more easily called out and reined in by its own?

What a horrible state of affairs.

Austerity is

Austerity is
Not just a long-term economic plan
But a ritual state of mind

A thin-lipped severity
My way the highway
And Protestant hot

Rites shot right through
With a missionary zeal
The taint of antiquated glue

*~*

Dinosaurs need for the Earth to be flat
Lest a curve or a slope puts them onto their backs
So their lumbering carcasses bury their heads
Which is why they don’t know they are already dead

Labour is, at least, a doorway to better alternatives

Jeremy Corbyn is having a pretty good campaign. Of course, this is the bit he does best so I imagine that, for all that I have criticised Jeremy Corbyn, I shall continue to do so. Still, he and his party have much reason to be pleased with this interactive media performance and the national resonance with his general narrative. Away from his truly dreadful social media fan base, his campaign has been warm, sporting, humorous, relevant and refreshing. It’s good to see some unapologetic confidence without the arrogance of the Tory disposition.

I haven’t changed my mind about what I like and don’t like about him and his team but I still hope for a Labour government. I’m really angry about his lacklustre EU referendum campaign effort and his blind alignment with the government. I worry about his ‘pacifist’ record: I wonder who he would confront and how far he would appease in international matters. I really dislike his us and them-framed punishment populism. I have a natural suspicion of all utopianists. I think there are some massive flaws in some his socio-economic intentions. I’d be anxious about his dithering managerial style and some of the people and advice with which he surrounds himself. But. But, but, but

I could live with Corbyn as the PM (for little while, anyway) because, 1) this binary choice is relative, isn’t it? And Theresa May is having a laugh: she makes Jeremy Corbyn look almost statesmanlike, let alone competent. And 2) as him winning would take a miracle in the first place, I am reassured that his administration would be tempered by the parliamentary make-up of other parties’ numbers.

What Conservatives like to describe as a “coalition of chaos” looks, to me, like several parties who, potentially, have much more in common than divides them. I’d much rather a potentially malleable Labour minority government, bolstered by a load of softBrexit/remainer parties than Theresa May’s Cons.

And if this miracle does not come to pass? I would hope for a hung parliament in which every party but Conservative/UKIP held the weight. Failing that, then May being returned with the smallest possible majority and facing a mighty, multiparty opposition.

As regular readers know, I hate Brexit and I can’t stand this tory government. They also know that, contrary to what’s being framed as popular opinion, I think that having a second referendum reflects my personal sovereignty and is a democratic right. Things I thought Brexit said it wanted more of.

I’m in the south-west and I shall be voting Liberal Democrat – even though I dislike the candidate – because I’m a remainer, wanting a second referendum and it is the best, probably only way that I can do my bit to rid a marginal seat of a Con man, whom I like, even less. If I lived in a different marginal, I’d vote for any party except UKIP that stood the best chance of defeating the Conservatives.

All domestic agendas are hopium until the shape of Brexit is known and in effect. Tories and right-wing press pretending otherwise is insulting and irresponsible and, for all the infuriating muddle-headedness of Labour, at least, even if Corbyn is indifferent, his Brexit team does seem to get the complexity and the potential for harm in a Toryfied deal/no deal.

Anyway, we can’t achieve or sustain a strong economy with an insecure, impoverished, paranoid and divided population and May would continue to inflict damage on the country whether Brexit was happening or not. She and her party have to go. Labour is, now, at least a doorway to better alternatives.

 

Ergot ergo…

Greased slopes
Long rope
Peak poise: ergot
And enough is enough, right?
Vote human, not bot.

 

Nuance of a hinge

Muse:
The hallowed husk
Of platitudes
The crucible
Of old disquieting views

Political androids
Source of Good News
Pop-ups
Say one; mean two
Speak
Easy nothing

She is emptiness
A husk of blue
Playing truthiness
He is too full of know-it red
A work of doubt
In progress

Choose your equivocating quicksand:
Badly programmed robot
Human hologram