We get the government we deserve. On a long enough timeline, in a Democracy, we are, collectively, all responsible for where we are. But, for a variety of reasons, under the umbrellas of, say, Time and Inclination, this deservedness is not so straightforward.
Still, if your information, choices and references come from a repetitive half-hour news cycle, carefully crafted and selected soundbites, utopianists and the newspaper headlines of an agenda-driven press, whether by choice or accessibility, you really cannot claim to understand or even properly know what is going on in this country or the wider world. You are living in a bubble of gloss.
And this bubble is about to burst for a great many voters who crossed the Conservative Party box in the last General Election and now feel naive or betrayed, as exemplified by the much-highlighted cry of audience member, Michelle Dorrell, in the recent BBC Question Time programme. (Dover, you were magnificent, by the way.) I must admit, dear Reader, to a wry flash of a smile. At last! I thought. To myself.
Many, who consider themselves left of the status quo are seeing this event as an opportunity to reach out, enlighten and invite solidarity and co-operation. Theirs is a sense of relief and optimism that a very dark and oppressive veil is finally being lifted. They perceive the quickening of a shift in mainstream consciousness and potential for momentum in emergent narratives. After all, such Tory voters as Michelle Dorrell must, surely, now ask: if I was tricked over the tax credits (work penalty), then where else and over what else, have I been duped or deceived myself?
But the Public’s response to her new victimhood has been rather mixed, as reading Twitter the next day showed. I know: social media, right? But social media is just the human condition, reflected in all its glory, expressed online. It’s still representative, or at least indicative, if you step out of confirmation bias timelines. Anyway, no matter: it was the negative reactions of so many people (and not restricted to social media) by which I have been most struck.
They appear to see Michelle’s recent voting preference as a wholly unforgivable act. Her plight, now, they say, is simply her just reward and she must take responsibility for it. Like she doesn’t know, already! They express their own and very real victimhood as though it were all delivered by her betraying hand, not just of them but of the whole country. She is being projected as the Face for an entire demographic of electoral traitors.
Anyone who sees the myriad dangers that this Neo-Conservative government presents is justified in their anger at the motivations of, particularly, Tory voters and/or confusion as to there actually being sufficient of them to vote the Tories back in but, even so, it is wiser, kinder, more appropriate and strategically much more astute to cast the blame at the Government of the Day than at individual, private, fellow-citizens.
Calling out elected and/or appointed politicos, public moralisers, stenographic and perfidious journalism is the consequence of critical thinking and a vital ingredient of Democracy. It’s the purpose of satire and a righteous good use of free speech. As is questioning and criticism about how a Society behaves and its sections, thereof. But, singling out private, power-of-one individuals that you don’t even know, just to cathartically project public condemnation and vitriol, is another matter, entirely. It says more about you. It says that you are mean-spirited, intransigent, tribal before Reason and that you risk becoming the bigger hindrance to progress and the longer-lasting problem to Society.
We’re all trying to navigate a dirty, choppy sea of poll-pushing obsessives, propagandising MPs and opportunist journalicians. They’re our real problem. If you keep beating up on and slagging off private citizens then you are mostly helping The Powers That Be to maintain Divide and Rule. We are all infuriating fools to someone and making admittedly gullible voters the enemy – our fellow citizens; our neighbours – is scapegoating and the beginning of a road to civil war.
Our real socio-economic foes are those with the political power over Law, policy and public information; those who distort facts and invent or omit others; those who deliberately manipulate our emotions and toy with our heads in order to control outcomes. To control us.
Know your enemy. It is a spinning entity; a fable machine. That’s what needs calling out and bringing down. Not we, each other.