Maybe Icarus can land with a glide

“The Liberal Democrats misread the political mood. Yet perhaps not all is lost”, writes Martin Kettle.

Three conclusions follow. The first is that Brexit has not reshaped the electoral battle as comprehensively as some believe. That is not to belittle the fact that Brexit has done much to recast British electoral politics. This is still a Brexit election, because its results could mark a point of no return on this most all pervasive of current issues. But it is not year zero. The idea that the Lib Dems, by being clear on the biggest issue of the day, will automatically attract all remain voters en masse to their cause is being proved false. It’s as false as Labour’s equivalent fantasy that, by being clear on the need for a radical post-austerity political economy, it will automatically attract all the votes of those who agree with that policy. In both cases, belief in practicality and trust in the leader are crucial to making the sale.

I would add to that final point about trust something that Martin Kettle almost certainly would not. It is a line from an article published yesterday by Mr Kettle’s Guardian colleague John Harris: “Labour’s ‘red wall’ is looking shaky. But the problems started decades ago”.

Mr Harris writes,

Running through a great deal of what I heard was a point voiced time and again by all kinds of people: in the absence of Brexit being delivered, why should they trust politicians to do anything else?

Updated: 4th December 2019 — 7:33 pm


  1. You read a lot of leftist shite Natalie–it won’t do your brain any good. If good ie Brexit wins this election then we have the chance for a real war with the scum of the left. And that includes Blojo as well as fucking ZaNu.

    The time is coming when we must stop them for good or they will finish us.

  2. Mr. Harris: “… why should they trust politicians to do anything else?”

    Are there really still people out there who trust politicians? It is a serious question, and it long predates Boris’s BRINO Saga.

    FDR campaigned for election on the promise to keep the US out of WWII — while working furiously behind the scenes to get the US into the war. An erudite gentleman like Niall K. can undoubtedly quote examples of Roman & Greek politicians who lied to their voters.

    Why would anyone ever trust a politician?

  3. Politicians will say whatever they need to say to get elected, it’s as simple as that and only a moron would say otherwise. The “principled” politicians who refuse to play the game just get beaten because the other guy is prepared to do the necessary to con the votes out of people.

    There is an upper limit to the “promising everything from the magic money tree” as Corbyn is finding out at the moment (it seems to come as a surprise to every Labour leader hoping to be PM) since their spending promises are so huge that both the tax base and the tax rises required to support them without a deficit would simply break the economy. Cue lots of rich people and businesses moving elsewhere until Labour are ousted.

    Maybe the youngsters today need to learn the lessons that we boomers and Generation X’ers learned during the power cuts and strikes of the 1970’s, Labour always screws the economy by excessive spending and taxation. Always.

    I’ll be wearing a peg on my nose and voting Tory next Thursday, not because I like them or BoJo the clown, but simply because they are the least worst option for achieving BRExit and keeping Labour out of Downing Street.

    I would like to vote BXP, but quite frankly, I can’t afford the luxury of doing so (especially in a constituency where the BXP candidate – Stuart Powell will probably lose his deposit)

    Quite simply, voting anything other than Tory is an indulgence the country cannot afford at the moment.

  4. Mr Ecks (5th December 2019 at 3:37 am), firstly Natalie reads the Guardian so we don’t have to: – someone needs to keep an eye on what the other side is doing and thinking. Secondly, one of our most powerful advantages is that the PC think it a sign of virtue never to know more than their side’s propaganda caricatures of what we are doing and thinking.

    Gavin Longmuir (5th December 2019 at 4:23 pm), Brexit is an unusually powerful litmus test for “… why should they trust politicians to do anything else?” When socialism fails to deliver the economic prosperity promised, there are always lost of excuses for why it just hasn’t happened yet. Brexit – specifically promised on a specific timescale by huge majorities of MPs for a referendum and then for an election, , wholly within political control and obviously able to be delivered by quite literally doing nothing – has a specificity that exceeds most political promises. It’s the difference between promising to love, honour and cherish as against promising to turn up on the day and say ‘I do’.

  5. Niall — What you seem to be saying is that Brexit has been an unusually clear example of politicians lying — which is certainly the case. But it does not gainsay the larger point that politicians routinely lie — whether about Brexit or about the Bridge to Ireland, whether Tory or Labour, Democrat or Republican, German or French. It behooves us citizens to remember not to trust politicians.

    Politicians lie, secure in the knowledge that they can count on the loyalty of their Tribe to get away with it. That is where we citizens fall down on our job.

    It is a fairly good bet that, assuming Boris the Unreliable is the next Prime Minister, he will deliver a watered-down BRINO which effectively leaves the UK as a non-voting junior member of the EU. And the Tribe will slap each other on the back and say — Good old Boris gave us Brexit!

  6. ” It’s the difference between promising to love, honour and cherish as against promising to turn up on the day and say ‘I do’.”

    But having been told in no uncertain terms that saying ‘I do’ isn’t enough, he tells you he’s changing his ways and will indeed love, honour, and cherish. And now you tell him you don’t believe him, and that’s not enough, and now you want things he can’t possibly deliver. And he responds “So it wasn’t actually the failure to promise to love, honour, and cherish that led to the rejection? You lied about that?”

    Although as it turns out, virtually all of the Brexit vote has indeed melted away in love for Boris’s deal. It’s only her sour-sister friends still saying “Don’t trust him! All men are liars!”

    “It is a fairly good bet that, assuming Boris the Unreliable is the next Prime Minister, he will deliver a watered-down BRINO which effectively leaves the UK as a non-voting junior member of the EU.”

    In what way was he unreliable? Everyone said a deal with the EU was impossible, and he got that. It wasn’t him who voted against passing it. As far as Brexit goes, he’s about as reliable and one-track single-minded uncompromisingly determined on the subject as you can get. “Get Brexit Done!” appears in every paragraph he says.

    And why would he not deliver the deal he spent so much time and effort negotiating? Why would he overturn the campaign victory he’s spent several years of his political life fighting for? What possible advantage could he gain by switching to a BRINO?

    I mean, yes, politicians often lie when it comes to doing what *they* want to do rather than what they promised the electorate, but this *is* what he wants to do!

    And only us voters now can stop him.

  7. For once I agree with NiV. Longshanks is just over here playing with himself. The outcome makes no difference to him.

  8. It is always good to find areas of agreement, Mr. Exks. There was even a time I agreed with you. But I must respectfully disagree that the outcome of the UK’s current controversy makes no difference to anyone outside the UK.

    Although Brits may have been too focused on their own issues to notice, Brexit is part of a larger push-back in the Western world against an intrusive (and often incompetent) supra-national Political Class. Whether that push-back will be effective remains to be seen.

    In the US, the entire Democrat Party, much of the Republican Party, and most of the bureaucracy are trying to unseat an elected outsider President. In France, Macron’s administration has ignored a year-long series of demonstrations by disappointed voters. Farmers in the Netherlands are blocking cities in exasperation. The Spanish branch of the Political Class has gone so far as to jail democratically-elected leaders in Catalonia — with zero objections from other European politicians.

    A successful Brexit could break the log-jam and get things moving in a positive direction throughout the West. But if the UK Political Class slides through BRINO instead of Brexit and former Brexiteers start chanting “Two legs better”, global hopes will take a tumble.

  9. ” . . . Brexit is part of a larger push-back in the Western world against an intrusive (and often incompetent) supra-national Political Class.”

    Amen. And each leg of that pushback is critical to all of the others. If the yellowshirts give up – if the Dutch farmers quietly go home – if Brexit turns into some slightly less overt form of eternal junior-associateship – if Trump gets quieted – any one of these affects all of the others’ attempts.

    It’s like a global fight to push back globality.

  10. The Lib Dems leader, Jo Swinson, is nothing more than a Brexit Bunny Boiler. They have to disappear up Guy Verhofstadt’s throne trumpet is there is to be any justice in this world, and be followed by the Greater Islington branch of the Labour Party (Marxist-Leninist), and then the wet Conservatives can replace them.

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