Thursday 4 April 2019

Why are people so keen for another roll of the dice in a rigged game?

I'm about as Brexit-sceptic as it's possible to be, having argued from the beginning that a "make it up as we go along" Tory Brexit would end up in chaos. However this doesn't prevent me from identifying problems with the campaign to stay within the EU, especially when it comes to strategy.

People on the Remain side of the national Brexit division that the Tories created in 2016 by exploding their internal party squabble onto the entire nation have poured a vast amount of political energy into demands for another referendum, and they've been successful to the point that 37% of people see Brexit getting revoked after Remain win another referendum as their preferred option.

The problem of course is that just because you personally want the dice to roll one way, doesn't mean that they are guaranteed to fall the way you want them to, especially if you know perfectly well that the game is rigged against you.

We know that an absolute bombardment of targeted social media dark ads helped Leave win the 2016 referendum, and we know that the Electoral Commission has done literally nothing to regulate online campaigning in the last three years.

We know that Brexiteers lied through their teeth and financially cheated in order to get the Leave outcome they wanted, and we know that the Electoral Commission has done literally nothing to bring in proper punishments (bars from public office, significant fines, jail time) for political liars and cheats.

We know that the almost complete lack of political opposition to ruinous Tory austerity policies in 2015 (wage repression, public service cuts, vandalism of the social safety net, catastrophic under-investment in infrastructure spending) that were trashing our living standards ended up creating the huge wave of public anger that drove the Brexit vote marginally over the winning line in 2016, and we know that Tory austerity fanaticism is still trashing people's living standards, and that many on the Remain side of the debate are still vocal austerity advocates!

And now thanks to Facebook's decision to bring in their own bespoke political accountability rules and the Guardian's sifting through the data, we know that a network of shady fake-grassroots hard-Brexit outfits have spent £1 million on targeted Facebook propaganda promoting "no deal" Brexit.

To put this fake grassroots "no deal" spending in perspective, it's more than the Facebook spending of every single political party in the UK combined in the same period.

There is absolutely no evidence to support the assumption that another referendum would be conducted any more fairly than the last one, and in fact we've got irrefutable evidence that shady "no deal" enthusiasts are already spending vast amounts of money on campaigning for a ruinous hard-right Brexit before the confirmatory referendum has even been announced.

Yet a significant proportion of the political class, and 37% of people in general choose to believe that the best way out of this Brexit farce is another roll of the dice in the rigged game, with virtually no consideration of the risk that the loss of another referendum would definitely end up creating an inescapable double-mandate for a ruinous hard-right Tory-administered Brexit.

I can understand the principle that the issue should be put back to the British people so they can decide the final outcome, I've got no problem with the principle of a confirmatory vote.

What I've got a problem with is the naive optimism and lack of practical action from those who have decided that another roll of the dice is the best solution to this farcical Tory Brexit mess.

If this really is the best solution they can come up with, how is it possible that so little effort has been expended on pushing for electoral reforms to ensure that the same electoral cheats, liars, and dark ad propagandists don't prosper just as much in the next referendum as they did in the last one?

If another referendum is really the best solution then why has so little effort been expended on explaining to people in left-behind communities that it was ruinous Tory austerity policies that trashed their living standards, not immigrants and the EU?

Compare the minuscule amount of real practical effort expended on ensuring the cheats don't prosper again, and on outreach to left-behind communities with the vast tides of bile, and vitriol, and outright lies that have been spewed by militant Remainers all over social media (especially by #FBPE echo-chamber dwellers on Twitter) and the catastrophic misdirection of political energy is obvious.

The practical course of action would have been to work hard to ensure a more level playing field, and to repeatedly unpick the central lie of the 2016 leave campaign (that immigrants and the EU were to blame for the dire consequences of Tory austerity policies).

But the chosen course of action by an awful lot of militant Remain campaigners has been screeching at, patronising, and insulting the very demographics that they desperately need to convince to support Remain in the next referendum (2016 Leave voters, the left, the working class, people from left-behind communities ...)!

The desperate lack of pressure to reform the outdated electoral laws that allowed the last referendum to degenerate into such a cesspit of misinformation, fear-mongering, deception, false promises, dodgy online ads, lies, and outright cheating suggests that a lot of another referendum campaigners have simply accepted that the next one is going to be just as much of a shit-show as the last one.

And all the hyper-partisan shrieking, and vitriol, and lies from the militant Remainers suggest that a significant proportion of Remainers see adoption of the same grotesque tactics that Leavers used to win in 2016 as their only hope.

The problem of course is that the hard-right have way more practice at this kind of dishonest partisan politics than social progressives and the left. They know who they need to direct the hate, and blame, and abuse at in order to secure the outcome they want. A lot of militant Remainers are so strategically clueless that they've spent the last few years spitting hate, and blame, and derision at the very people they need to convince in order to avoid another referendum defeat!

If the behaviour of militant Remainers is so toxic that it's putting off their Brexit-sceptic allies like me, just imagine how it plays with people who are suspicious of their pro-EU message?

Like I said before, I can see the idealistic desire for the people to have another say before our Brexit fate is sealed, but consideration of the practical issues, like the total inaction on electoral reform, the continuation of living standards-wrecking Tory austerity fanaticism, and the strategically inept and blatantly counter-productive rhetoric of so many on the Remain side, all add up to a serious concern that Leave are highly likely to win again.

Pushing for another roll of the dice when you know the game is still rigged against you, and that nothing has been done to unpick the central blame-shifting lie of your opponents, and that your side are woefully inept at utilising the kind of hyper-partisan political rhetoric your opponents won with last time, and that failure this time around will absolutely cement the kind of ruinous hard-right Brexit you oppose so much, obviously makes your strategy a huge gamble.

In fact it's easily just as much of a gamble as David Cameron took back in 2016 based on the arrogant assumption that he simply couldn't lose isn't it?

A lot of the politicians and campaigners pushing for this gamble are so arrogant and self-righteous that they refuse to even entertain the possibility that they could lose again, and there's absolutely no doubt that if they do, they'll immediately cast around for other people to pin the blame on (Jeremy Corbyn, lefties, the working class, people from deprived areas, and maybe even the Tories who created this Brexit mess in the first place this time around!).

But the real blame will lie with them for focusing so much of their energy on getting another gamble in a blatantly rigged game, when they should have spent so much more of their energy on combating the actual root causes of Brexit.

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Unknown said...

Absolutely spot on.

Unknown said...

It's not a democracy, anyone knocking your door checking your paperwork..IE TV licence, council tax, nosey census, electoral register.. these things are normal in North Korea..and the old East Germany..corporations are now our new masters..start detatching yourself from this system and claim common law, stay out of their maratime law games, you will lose all the time..

Pal said...

I'm a strong supporter of another peoples vote, but you do make some good points. Personally I would think now that the porkies told by the leave camp are now out in the open, it'll be harder for them to deceive. Maybe I'm being naive.

Of course it quite right to point out that it could still go against us. We may never find out the way things are going.

Simon J Broome said...

Then we need solutions, action. People on the Ground need to organise, get the real truth out. After all, with the millions spent in the last "snap" election, AAV was still more Popular.

Jimmy Bost said...

Good points. Our side (remainers) would do well to listen to you. I still feel that we're left with few other options that to take the chance of another roll of the dice all the same though - any form of brexit itself actually happening makes it all the harder to address the root causes, in a somewhat circular fashion. If we manage to win this rigged game (hopefully more groundwork in educating people and winning hearts and minds has already been done than you think), then we can focus more on the rest... If we don't... Well, for once, I'd prefer for you not to be proven right...

Unknown said...

Hey your RSS feed is broken. How are we meant to follow you and not have to worry about all our data on what we like/dislike and that of our friends being used for psychological warfare?

Anonymous said...

The main Remain campaigns reak of "liberal establishment" and the status quo.

The sort of people who agree with Friedmanite style economics - high house prices, such as privatisation of the railways, offshoring jobs to Poland, outsourcing public services, PFI and zero hour contracts, whilst being ridiculously right on with diversity and humourlessly politically correct, whilst thinking that the loss of Erasmus is a far greater issue than Universal Credit. The sort who cheer on Macron's thuggery against France's equivalents of the patriotic right and the socialist left - protestors, farmers, rail workers, teachers, students and the yellow jackets.

It's interesting that Remainers who may not be necessarily of the Labour left, but still side with ordinary people (e.g. Dan Jarvis, Hilary Benn, Andy Burnham and so on) and could be described as moderate are simply ignored in favour of the Pro Saudi privatisers in TIG, deserters like David Miliband and Nick Clegg, or staunch Eurofederalists who actually back the Euro.

Basically they are the polar opposite to Rees-Mogg and Grayling representing Leave.

Anonymous said...

I see another problem. If by a miracle the outcome of the talks between Jeremy Corbyn's team and Theresa May's is an agreement to include customs union, dynamic alignment with the Single Market etc. i.e. Labour's five (or six) points in the deal with the EU - and then put this deal to the public in a "confirmatory referendum" against Remain in the EU - how would the Labour Party campaign? And how could Jeremy Corbyn campaign in any other way than for his hard fought deal? But I could never vote for any leave deal against remain. My family is mixed Swedish, British, German - absolutely value the freedom that comes from membership of the EU, let alone all the economic advantages to the country.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I have not met a single "Leaver" that has complained that they were "lied to" in the referendum - other than by the "establishment". The establishment (the then Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Chancellor, Bank of England, Treasury, IMF, CBI, BBC, etc) ... all presented the view that the UK would suffer dire economic consequences - just for voting Leave, let alone actually Leaving.

The reality is that the UK, on the whole, has done better than the EU, on the whole, over the last 3 years. The warnings of the loss of 500k jobs in the aftermath of the result turned out to be 500k jobs created. Industrial confidence is higher in the UK than in Germany.

If there is another referendum then, like Thomas, I do not think the result is a formality.

If, by some route, we ended up "Remaining" or in some sort of "Brino" then, in my view, all of the current major parties will suffer in the next GE. There will be the Brexit Party and UKIP competing (maybe together) and they will seriously affect the status quo in my view. The prospect of all sorts of weird coalition governments then looms.

The country is split and Parliament is split. I actually cannot see an end to this.