I think it’s really important to acknowledge that no matter if you’re left-wing, right-wing or racist, there’s a democratic party that broadly represents your beliefs in government. That’s the core principle of a democracy, right? That there’s this wide variety of representatives to present the variety of views of the public. You, as a member of the public, are asked to find the belief that best represents you through a discourse of compromises, whilst the representative has to compromise with some of their own beliefs so that they can better represent the greater whole. And by now you’re bored of having to read the word ‘represent’. Democracy has some flaws, like any political structure, but it’s pretty good. It’s not bad. It could be worse.
What shapes the cycle of politics, a situational change affecting the individual or group that then pushes to have changes made in reaction that then impact the situation, on an immediate, personal level really depends on where you are in that cycle as well as your proximity to it. The issue that the Labour leadership election is highlighting at the moment is that your position can change in as little as a few months and in some cases barely changes at all. So yes, this is a reaction to the Labour leadership election and all that that would entail: mud-slinging, dredging up of old points to try and reduce a competitor’s standing and every so often some actual political beliefs that people champion because…well, and this is one of the two reasons I wrote this.
It’s not that the general public is stupid about politics. Fact is most issues can be broken down so that even the most complicated can make a bit of sense, even if it skims some of the details. No, in reality the public doesn’t care, highlighted by the general election turn-outs. Between the bullshit in the press spouted from PR-trained ministers and staff that vocalise bullshit penned by people who know how to write their bullshit in a convincing way, why would you care when you’re not getting the truth? You can’t make politics sexy, it’s an inherently boring topic to many, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. So when the bullshit from any which way is largely the same, distance is created and that democratic compromise gets broken down.
This Labour leadership election has just been a demonstration of the purest irony in politics for a long time. The lack of a clear distinction in political leaning during the general election which pushed many away on the left away from Labour to elsewhere (the Scottish National Party, Green Party, etc.), parties that broadly speaking couldn’t afford to present too much bullshit and instead focus on the politics for the most part, is yet again reflected in the leadership election with the one person who was presented to us politics first then being chased in a race to see who could out-bullshit everyone else in order to grab that attention, completely missing the point that the attention was on the politics. It’s astonishing, really. All these people so locked into their PR structure and series of expected events that when something comes along that doesn’t fit into it, they sort of go into over-drive rather than adapt.
The other issue is that of the ‘purge of voters’ happening. Namely, people who for whatever reason are now members of the Labour party and not able to vote in the leadership election. I’m obviously happy to dismiss the people who are intentionally signing up to cause havoc and be a general nuisance, such as members of the Conservatives signing up to try and push for one candidate for no reason that makes much sense. No, my problem is with the people who, say, demonstrated on social media that they didn’t like what Labour was in the run-up to the GE and suggested voting elsewhere.
That cycle of politics? Yeah, it can change for the individual at any point for a multitude of reasons. Maybe even in a few months. Maybe it’s been a gradual change that’s suddenly happened because you’ve found yourself galvanised. So what if I had signed up to vote, would I have been rejected? I mean, I don’t count myself as voting Labour in the GE even though I technically did because what actually happened was I vote swapped for Green. I didn’t make a big thing of it on social media, at least not that I remember, but god help someone if they have to trawl through the nonsense about games and writing workshops I put up on Twitter to try and find something incriminating.
I don’t buy into being locked into a political belief, or vice-versa. I believe that I agree with a party that I share the majority of my most critical views with. Sometimes I have fewer immediate issues that I want addressing, other times it’s a sweeping movement of thought. But I’d have probably slipped through to be allowed to vote in this contest because I was quiet about my utter disdain at Labour. It’s simply nonsensical. And I can guarantee I won’t be the only one in a similar or exact-same situation.
Still, you’ve given people the opportunity to try and shape that representation. They’ve compromised what they held before, adapted it to the now and are being told “Nah.” Politics is malleable and should evolve with its populace, but instead we have a structure that’s just lagging behind and the people it should work for are just shrugging and waiting for something to happen to make them feel it’s really for them. So the bullshit comes out and that’s enough for some people to just go “Shut up, fine, I’ll vote. Eesh.” And that sucks. No-one is really happy with that.
I wonder where the public and I will be in the political cycle come the next general election, but I really hope that we’ve got things a little bit better.