We should be concerned about the possibility that the UK is about to have its last real general election for some time.
Let’s speak plainly. This UK election is a farce. Theresa May’s campaign consists of three words. Labour are only campaigning to save seats. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are treading water because May’s timing is perfect. The Brexit catastrophe hasn’t hit and the pain hasn’t been felt.
There is no groundswell of pro-EU support. People are still considering voting Labour as if they’re any better than the Tories on Brexit. People such as Ian Dunt have pointed out the similarity of Labour policy on Brexit to the Tories, so I won’t dwell on it. But if anyone is voting Labour to protect the country from the enormous damage Brexit is about to wreak, they’re ignoring reality.
So, instead, let’s talk about the media. I know some people object to that as a catch-all term. But can we please agree it’s justified right now?
Theresa May is saying time and again that she intends to use the majority she wins at this election as a mandate for Brexit negotiations. So far, the might of the UK lobby has failed to extract any kind of candour or honesty by May on any aspect of those negotiations. That’s because they aren’t asking. Their ‘coverage’ involves waiting for policy announcements while pointing out awkward campaign incidents.
Unlike many I don’t believe that this is conspiratorial. The UK news media is about entertainment, just like the US media. And just like the US media, it means the important stories aren’t being covered, while froth and bullshit top the ratings.
The result will be a general election held in the dark with citizens lacking the information they truly need to make informed decisions. And yet this is so much better than where we are likely to end up.
I’ve written sufficiently on the threat posed by Theresa May to our country. You can see that here: https://twitter.com/tallgeekychap/status/855344386086973440 My point is that she *is* about to be given free rein. She is abusing her power even during this campaign: https://twitter.com/tallgeekychap/status/859403567203004417
The combination of news organizations gagging to do May’s bidding for access and influence (most of them) and creeping repression of the others will lead to an even more lopsided political media than we have now. And it’s already basically heavily weighted in the Tories’ favour.
The Tories have regularly shown since 2010 they are willing to game the system in their favour. With their newly minted 150+ majority, they will push through boundary reform exacerbating their in-built electoral advantage under FPTP. They are also likely to revisit attempts to cut opposition funding, originally introduced in November 2015: https://www.theguardian.com/…/osborne-accused-of-despicable…
We should all watch out for anything related to ‘cutting the cost of politics’. This is code for ‘giving the government more power’. And we should all be aware that Parliament is unlikely to lift a finger to oppose any of it. It didn’t when given an unexpected chance to redeem itself on Article 50, so why would it when it’s stacked to the gills with Tory lackeys?
To sum up: May will have no Parliamentary opposition. She’ll have no media opposition. Institutional opposition (courts) is limited at best. If what’s happening in the US is any guide, it’s time to start thinking about worst-case scenarios, and preparing for them. And it’s also worth noting that all the worst-case predictions in the US have been covered in barely four months.
So think bigger. Look at how Putin and Erdogan have operated. Don’t look at previous experience from within the UK. It’s insufficient.
Five years is an awfully long time. 2022 is an awfully long way away. The UK is going to look awfully different.
This was also published on Twitter here and on Facebook here.