Friday 1 July 2016

Post-Brexit abreactions


I had intended to do a few posts on post-Brexit reactions, but now I realise it should be abreactions. Large quantities of stupefying substances must be in circulation, leading people to gabble out their innermost thoughts whilst dribbling profusely. I cannot follow the plot at the moment. Something to do with rivalry, tribalism, fear and loathing, I think. I recall the wry saying (privately given to me by the partner of a political figure) that politics is no business to be in if you want to have friends.

The story goes back to a Mr Heseltine, who ran for the Conservative leadership against Mrs Thatcher. The Tory tribe did not thank him for toppling their notable leader, though they all felt she had become a liability, and instead went for an amiable man who, against expectation, won the next election by being likeable and saying, after the divisive achievements of Thatcher, that “the nation needs to be at ease with itself”. He lost the following election by being himself, and because of Tory infighting about Europe, and because the Labour Party, guided by Peter Mandelson, elected an electable leader in the person of Tony Blair. British elections are determined by voters deciding who will best manage their conservatism. Now Boris Johnson has advertently or inadvertently dethroned David Cameron, winner of two Conservative elections against the general leftwards national trend, (a fall which has reduced the still alive Heseltine to tears). The successful are to be punished.

Therefore Boris was the front runner, as Heseltine was in his day, but has now been dumped, or has dumped himself for unknown reasons, probably related to an internal “anyone but Boris” campaign. Boris (no surname required) is the best known and electorally most successful Conservative challenger since Heseltine, with the highest name and image recognition bar none. Boris won Red London against Red Ken Livingstone, overturning the natural urban, and also large immigrant left-leaning vote by being an entertaining blond. He could defuse most tricky situations by quoting some Latin and making a joke, the sort of skills which can save your life in out of the way places. He would most probably have won the Conservatives the next election.

Speaking of political partners, this could all be seen as due to the advice or machinations of political wives. I do not know any of them, so am betraying no confidences, but here is a possible scenario.

Mrs Cameron may have told her husband: your friends are not your friends, they have shafted you and I am sick of the lot of them, and I have taken up smoking again, and the children are all upset and I have had enough of this, and we could have a normal life and live happily, not among this savage band of treacherous scum. I have toned it down a bit, but you get the drift.

Mrs Gove may have told her husband: all I hear about is Boris, Boris, Boris; but you, my dear husband, with my help, won the Brexit election, and I don’t want to see you as a lapdog to Boris, who is a scatter-brain whereas you are a man of principle, and don’t screw around so far as I know, so why don’t you stand for the leadership, on the basis of the following points which I will write down for you, because you only got a 2.1 in English. I may have toned that up a bit, but you get the drift.

Mrs Johnson may have told her husband: my dear, I am so sorry that you won’t be Prime Minister, but we are rich because of your journalism, and young enough to fight another day, and as for Mrs Gove don’t get me started. There may have been some other bits about living a happier life together, but you get the drift.

Teresa May took very little part in the great Brexit debate. She backed Remain, feebly, so will probably end up Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, in the Labour camp, the rank and file have overwhelmingly elected a leader who most accurately champions the views of activists, but who least commands the confidence of members of Parliament, who have to look past activists to the general public for their votes. Also, they doubt his abilities, because he can only win by preaching to the unconverted, and did not manage that during the Brexit debate. Every political act is a compromise between what you want and what you can get, guided by your core voters, but determined by those yet to be convinced. Politics is the art of the possible in search of the desirable. 

Does psychology have anything to say about politics?


  1. Can we have a more cheerful subject, please?

    How about suicide rates?

    1. Farm worker suicide high in UK as well, as far as I recall

  2. Though I suppose you could argue that watching every bien pensant Violet-Elizabeth-Botting like mad is quite cheering.

  3. To revert to an earlier Brexit post of yours: "the English voted the wrong way, and are no more" might well be replaced by "the English voted the right way, and are no more because it was all too late".

  4. I found this interesting:Independant on post-Brexit polls The big surprise there was 7 in 10 for Leave said the referendum didn’t matter that much, while more that 3/4 of the Remain voters “thought the wrong vote would have disastrous consequences”.

    Not quite sure what to make of that, but it’s a bigger difference than between Labour and Consevative, which were only about 2/3 on either side, and the “sky is falling” set had a bigger margin for Remain than did feminists, globalists, or environmentalists.

    There is suspicion in some circles (well, from conspiracy news aggregator Michael Rivero at least) that there was a good deal of pro-Remain vote fraud, similar to the Austrian presidential election that was just overturned, but that they didn't steal enough votes because so many Leave voters had fibbed to the pollsters. Perhaps this fibbing was in part due to the over-representation of young women among phone poll takers. The use of pencils for voting and the lack of exit polls did seem suspicious to me the day of the vote.

    Bloomingdale's CEO's son James Traub in Foreign Policy magazine captures the mood: "It’s Time for the Elites to Rise Up Against the Ignorant Masses"

    Meanwhile it looks like a hung parliament in Australia. "Hanged" would be better, but give it time.

    1. "The use of pencils for voting": standard, surely?

      "a good deal of pro-Remain vote fraud": it was to allow that sort of thing that Blair introduced his changes to the voting system. Classically we didn't expect much fraud except in constituencies with a lot of Irish voters, or in Trade Union elections.

    2. Can you give us a link, please, to the vote fraud allegation?

    3. The Brexit vote fraud is not well supported by direct evidence, OTOH the Austrian election was just overturned because of postal vote irregularities.

      Here's a video of a poll worker erasing something:

      Police question woman for offering pens.

      "But in one polling station in Chichester police stopped a member of the public from lending pens to all voters, claiming a Remain campaigner called the officers."

      Michael Rivero's take (YouTube audio)

      There was widespread suspicion going into the vote:

      "Forty-six per cent of all Leave voters think it's "probably true" that the vote on Thursday will be altered by the authorities, according to the YouGov poll for LBC.

      This compares to just 11% of Remain voters. Overall 28% of all voters believe the vote will be fixed."

      The petition for a second referendum has massive fraud:

      "Some 39,411 residents of Vatican City, home to Pope Francis, appeared to have signed the petition by Sunday morning, despite the tiny city state having a total population of just 800."

      Me, I don't believe in conspiracy theories, I mean who would believe that powerful people would act together to keep and expand their power? It would amount to disbelieving the media. Crazy talk. Besides, it seems to lead to a propensity for committing suicide with two or three bullets to the back of the head while having an accident in a small flying boat. Working out seems healthier.

      Or maybe not, considering the recent death of former President of the United Nations General Assembly John Ashe, who was reported by U.N. officials to have died of a heart attack. He was scheduled in court on a tax fraud case with co-defendant Ng Lap Seng, from whom he reportedly received over a million dollars in bribes during his term as president of the U.N. General Assembly. Seng also illegally donated several hundred thousand dollars to the Democrat National Committee during the Clinton presidency and had been photographed several times with the Clintons. Contradicting the UN, local police said Ashe had his throat crushed during a workout.

      Honest confusion on the UN's part, no doubt. The last few were probably heart attacks, how were they to know there was going to be a variation in the standard procedure? As yet, the hundreds of millions of foreign donations to the Clinton foundation have no proven links to any of this. For some reason there seems to be a reluctance of witnesses to come forward.

  5. Heseltine and Boris were there at the start in another way, too. When Boris was Spectator editor he interviewed Heseltine and asked him how he saw Britain's future in Europe. Reply :

    "Who now remembers or cares about Wessex and the kingdoms of the Heptarchy ?"

    Mr Johnson paraphrased Mr Heseltine's view as saying that "one day Britain will be to Europe as Wessex is to Britain: just folded in, forgotten, a fossilised relic of a former division, nothing but the quaintly named province of a single state."