Thursday, May 22, 2014

The League Cup Of UK Politics

So with the polls closing, some final observations about the European Parliament election campaign:

- The Euro elections are a bit like the English League Cup - nobody really cares that much, except for a few cranks and obsessives, and outfits full of hideous, ignorant mutants usually perform quite well in it.

When it comes to a serious competition though, the mutants finish in the outer arse-end of nowhere and the big four divide the spoils between themselves.

The Euros have long since devolved into a carnival of rank stupidity in which the same small section of the English electorate* rushes out to vote again and again for the ugliest, meanest, nastiest shower of pantomime villains that they can find, in a dipshit protest against whatever phantom horrors are biting their arses this year...

...And the candidates they elect then vanish off to Brussels to pick up fat paycheques for intentionally avoiding as much work as they can get away with.  For all the wails and screeches this last couple of weeks, this isn't exactly the Black Death we're talking about here, folks. 

- Despite the obvious, throbbing Farageophilia that has passed for a "national conversation" during these elections, I have to note that a lot of hard work and effort has gone into "exposing" the cretinous bigotry at the heart of the UKIP project.  Plenty of hacks and internet activists have got all hot and bothered about this bovine inanity or that cringeworthy statement, and yet the Kippers' support seems to be unaffected.

This seems to astound a lot of folk, although it shouldn't.  Every Euro election demonstrates that there's a small but vocal political tribe in the UK that respects belligerent stupidity; that admires viciousness, that applauds and rewards the most ridiculous, small-minded pettiness.

They're not going to change their minds about e.g. Nigel Farage** if you prove to them that he's a twat and an ignoramus - they're voting for him specifically because he's a twat and an ignoramus, out of spite, just to get it right up everyone else. 

- I've enjoyed watching the dawning realisation in the right wing press that they've created a small but unpredictable, spiteful little monster.  The Telegraph in particular, watching the nasty wee beastie yowl and spit at the Conservative Party, has suddenly noticed that its own Farage-fluffery may just have catastrophically split the spite vote for the next election.  So for the last few days, they've been parroting Tory claims about Nige and his buds threatening the free market.

It's too late to worry about responsible voting now, boys and girls!  Most humans grasp by the age of two that, if they shit their nappies, they're going to have to sit in it for a while.  It looks like certain newspaper owners are going to have to learn this lesson the hard way.

- Elsewhere, the Sun has been awesome, suddenly denouncing Farage as a horrid racist out of nowhere.

No doubt that'll go over well with the thin section of their readership that takes their politics output seriously, given that the Sun has spent much of the last fifteen years angrily shouting that e.g. making racist statements isn't racist, or that promoting racist policies isn't racist, and that being racist isn't racist. 

- And all this back-tracking is happening because the aim here isn't to boost UKIP, although that's certainly a side-effect.  It's all about pushing British politics generally in an ever-more idiotic direction, then quickly sprinting back to ostensible centrism in time for the General Election.

Example - how many MPs do UKIP or the BNP usually end up with after pulling off a good result in the Euros?

None, of course.  And one of the main reasons why they get zero MPs is because they don't have the zoomer press pimping their idiocies, since they all back the Tories in elections that matter. 

- If UKIP aren't around at the next Euro election, the press will prop up whatever fraud it can cram into an ill-fitting real-human-being costume and film making inflammatory comments in front of a microphone, for no other reason than shoving the mainstream parties rightwards.

A new English Fuck-Everyone Party, the Ebola virus in a barber jacket, Kilroy-Silk - it doesn't matter who it actually is.  The sole qualification for representing the rampant id of Middle England is a willingness to be as cuntish as humanly possible about absolutely everything, and there's never a shortage of that type of candidate around.

- Elsewhere, I've also enjoyed the ever-popular cries of "Oh no, calling UKIP stupid or racist is counterproductive and disrespectful to ordinary, decent voters".  

But if we're being really honest, politicians can cheerfully call UKIP voters whatever they like - reactionary zombies, coffin-dodging dribblers, closet autoerotic asphyxiators - because within twenty years, around half of them are going to be either too infirm or too dead to vote, and few of us who are still going to the polls in 2034 will care one way or the other whether or not the gays can get married.

If this all strikes you as contemptuous and dismissive, well, it's meant to be.  But you'll notice that we only ever hear this Please Do Not Offend The Cretins stuff about the far-right parties, and those folk don't strike me as particularly deserving of some extraordinarily sensitive and tender treatment that the rest of us never get.

Nobody gives a damn about offending people who vote for parties that aren't filled with furious xenophobes, and I see no reason why this section of the electorate should be treated differently to everybody else.

Because in the end, that's what's been at the heart of all of this nonsense - the really histrionic, weepy section of the UK electorate demanding respect and affection in a great red-faced strop, stamping their little feet, shouting nursery cursewords and flinging their toys across the room.

Now, you might think differently, but I'd suggest that picking the delicate little flowers up, tickling their wee chins and singing them to sleep with a sweet, sweet lullaby probably isn't the best way to respond to this kind of tantrum.

*Okay, and maybe the Welsh as well.

**Or, previously, Nick Griffin.


gregorach said...

It's all fun and games until somebody burns down a synagogue...

"one of the main reasons why they get zero MPs is because they don't have the zoomer press pimping their idiocies"

I'm not entirely sure this is completely accurate. It's part of it, certainly, but in the 2010 GE, they polled 3.1%, which is significantly more than the SNP's 1.7% (6 MPS) or the Greens' 1.0% (1 MP). It's just that their support is distributed in such as way that they're particularly disadvantaged by the FPTP system, whilst the SNP and the Greens have their support concentrated in specific areas. In a perfectly proportional system, they'd have 20 MPs, even if we assume that the voting pattern didn't change at all. (Not a good assumption, since I'm pretty sure that a lot of people who would vote UKIP in such a system know perfectly well how the FPTP system works and vote Tory instead on purely tactical grounds.)

Igor Belanov said...

Also, given that the strength of hate is a motivating factor dragging UKIP supporters to the polling station, they do better in elections where turnout is lower.

ejh said...

Your view of the League Cup is not widely shared in Oxford.

Bruschettaboy said...

Couldn't agree more. Even the very ebst case you could possibly make for "very real concerns" of UKIP - say, the one that John Harris is clearly going to do when he's got a minute - is going to be "blah blah community, heritage, changing very fast, social bonds etc".

In other words, the exact case made by people who wanted to keep coal mines open. And all you can really do is exactly what we ended up saying to the miners, which is something along the lines of "we sympathise with your points, albeit that the past way of life you are nostalgic for was in fact in many ways incredibly shitty, but the fact is that the world's moved on and there is just no way at all in which it is viable or desirable to be doing that any more".

And that's the very best version of the UKIP case, the one you would have to engage with if they weren't generally arseholes. And the sensible response is still basically a version of "sorry, nope". Given that the chances of any desirable policy having any element of compromise with them at all is zero, the onerous chore of strenuously ignoring the fact that there are so many horrendous people there seems totally not worth the effort.

Igor Belanov said...

As least coal mines actually existed and were hastened to their end by openly political means.
UKIP's ideology is based almost wholly on myth and a completely invented sense of conspiracy.

Bruschettaboy said...

were hastened to their end by openly political means.

TBH, when something is economically unviable without constant taxpayer subsidy and which produces a product that has a strong probability of being responsible for the literal extinction of humanity (my own industry only has one of these problems), political means are the means that you'd expect it to be hastened to its end.

flyingrodent said...

In other words, the exact case made by people who wanted to keep coal mines open.

Not sure your best-case scenario is all that helpful here, given that you're comparing

- Entire towns and regions intentionally screwed over and closed down, with little or nothing to keep them ticking over, and

- A disparate shower of bams voting for wacky yahoos, for a variety of reasons - some of which could be seen as kind of, maybe understandable, but most of which definitely aren't.

I mean, if your best case assumes that Ukip's core vote is e.g. older people who have been left behind by the modern economy because their trades are defunct, then the comparison might hold tenuously.

OTOH, in my experience, people who sympathise with Nige tend not to come from this group. Usually, they're just annoying twerps who actively seek out things to be offended by and immediately believe and reinforce whatever they find.

These are generally reasonably well-off people who are no more badly treated, alienated or disadvantaged than anyone else from their social groups, but who really quite enjoy feeling victimised and pissed-off and are quite happy to seek out things to be pissed off by, and suspend all disbelief about.

(Facebook is a minor but pretty useful tool for keeping up with this kind of thing: a window into a world of never-ending, fantastical chain letters and invented articles along the lines of I-was-in-a-pub-and-they-barred-a-soldier/My-kid-can't-sing-Baa-Baa-Black-Sheep etc.).

Still, the miners point does raise one useful comparison, in that it's probably worth comparing what the mining towns got with what the Kippers' have.

One group basically got a paramilitary assault and scorched-earth economic warfare, justified by an orchestrated hate campaign.

The other... didn't. In fact, it has half the nation's press commanding us not to upset them.

gregorach said...

As I recall, the case for keeping the mines open wasn't so much "blah blah community, heritage, changing very fast, social bonds etc", as "you'll be throwing tens if not hundreds of thousands of people onto the dole with basically no hope of re-employment". Not quite the same thing.

organic cheeseboard said...

I know political hacks etc have to make their moeny following this kind of result but ffs UKIP always do well in the euro elections and always do badly in almost all others, especially general elections. They've done a bit better than usual in this one, with its pitiful turnouts, so might do a bit better next year as well, but probably not much.

A sizeable chunk of the English population dislike Europe in general as a kneejerk response, without really thinking about it very hard, and that's why these Euro elections are the place we see a lot of anti-EU voting. I doubt one in ten voters could identify anything that'd happened, EVER, in the assembly they're voting for. (David Cameron's 'renegotiation' bollocks might be just that, but there's a reason it'd be the PM doing it and not our reps in Brussels).

And so UKIP might win a seat or two in the general election, almost certainly tory seats - probably Thanet south, where in fact their policies (if you can call them that) do actually represent the opinions of a good deal of the population - but nothing more than that, and once they actually have jobs they'll be held accountable in, with a lot of local scrutiny, they'll undoubtedly fuck up a hell of a lot and bury the brand (or, alternatively, do fairly well and so split the Tory vote further).

It's canny for Labour to pay lip service to them as a result - because either way, UKIP doing well, and representing an 'anti-establishment' vote, is pretty good for them - it gives the Tories two things to fight, meaning they'll have to focus less on Miliband personally than they were plannign to, and it means that Europe will remain part of, if not central to, the GE discussions, meaning again that Cameron's 'renegotiate (ahem) then referendum' thing will come unstuck fairly quickly, since it is after all a patched together load of nothing.

Incidentally on that Cameron thing - given how dreadful he seems to be at negotiation (Syria, if nothing else), it's surely unwise for him to pin so much on it.