kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
This is not terribly clearly articulated (i.e. I pieced it together while mostly asleep on a car journey back up from very-nearly-the-farthest-reaches-of-Cornwall) and I'm absolutely certain it's not original, but nonetheless here's a thought on UK politics relevant to the general election campaign in which we find ourselves mired, sparked by reflection on Theresa May's emphasis on strong and stable government.

It seems to me that the Tories (and EU referendum, and the PR referendum) are winning on soundbites about certainty: this will happen, we will do this, we will do whatever -- whatever -- it takes to achieve our stated goals, collateral damage be damned.

(I know that strongly-stated goals are a routine part of election manifestoes and are in point of fact featured in Jeremy Corbyn's ten pledges; I still think there's something about "we will", without any of the how, and the way these pledges get reported on, that is potentially of interest here.)

So. This kind of absolute certainty about the future (I'm also reading Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark finally, does it show): it feels to me like it requires authoritarianism, and a lack of acknowledgement of nuance or complexity or openness to shifting priorities. I am groping toward something like: Labour and the Lib Dems (and the Greens) are reported as inconsistent and untrustworthy and unpredictable even when there very much are entirely coherent reasons for the decisions that are made. So we're ending up trending toward a political climate where politicians and political parties are actively punished for discussing nuance and complexity (because people are exhausted and scared?), in which the people who are most willing to ignore evidence in favour of simplicity and emphatically-stated certainties are handed power regardless of how tangential their statements are to reality.

Maybe?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-06 12:04 am (UTC)
fascination: 'Hyperbole is the WORST EVER.' (Hyperbole is the WORST EVER.)
From: [personal profile] fascination
...yes, I think that makes perfect sense. Authoritarians come to power because they come over as though they're being perfectly sensible in a chaotic world, and that fits the Tories all too well, as well as other right-wing parties that use similar framing. *cough Trump cough*

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-06 04:52 pm (UTC)
the_quorum: A psychadelic landscape. A bad description, sorry. (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_quorum
This makes me remember that Labour squit last election who had his election pledges carved in a massive marble monolith (including "tuff on immigration", of course).

I think it's a symptom of the media seeing any acknowledgement of nuance as a sign of weakness, especially at heated times like this- They're usually used in tactical retreats, after all ("We tried our level best to do X, however there were many conflicting factors at play that..").

It's definitely authoritarian in bent, but I think it's been the norm for a while- People have always, to my understanding, responded best to narratives. Narratives where there are clear-cut problems, baddies, goodies and solutions are the ones that appeal the most to the most people.

The current (global) political climate and representative democracy in general only exaggerates this trend- You have to prove that not only are your arguments sound, but that you personally are Strong Of Character and Bold of Conviction and all that, or, as you mentioned, be even more at risk of the media ripping you to shreds for being "wishy washy" and "inconsistent".

That's my 2p, anyway.
Edited Date: 2017-05-06 04:54 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-06 06:04 pm (UTC)
ext_57867: (Default)
From: [identity profile] mair-aw.livejournal.com
also on my dw page on the same day, idk if you overlap? http://miss-s-b.dreamwidth.org/1836468.html "People grab at authoritarianism in times of uncertainty"

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-06 06:58 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
I think that's fair. When people see their world as nothing more than a series of insurmountable problems, people who commit claiming they have a solution and it's one that you can understand, it has a lot of appeal.

As QI has shown us many, many times, questions often have an answer that is simple, elegant, and completely wrong.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-06 08:11 pm (UTC)
hairyears: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
One of the problems with authoritarian regimes is that they tend to grow from the insecurities of a weak leader - it is the end state of control-freakery and micromanagement and intolerance.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-09 07:05 am (UTC)
zasu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zasu
Absolutely. Explains what's going on in the US, and the Philippines, and many other countries right now. Thank goodness the French saw through it, at least.

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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