Friday, 2 December 2016
Good job Richmond, good job!
The question on my lips this morning was "who the hell is Sarah Olney?". Now I know. She is the Lib Dem MP for Richmond. She is a well spoken, politically presentable accountant. But also extraordinarily thick. And while I have absolutely no time for Julia Hartley Brewer, she has done us all a favour in exposing her as a risible person and a political lightweight. But then that goes with being a Lib Dem I suppose.
She is one who thinks that the public did not know what they were voting for in June. In this one can only assume that these snobby liberals don't actually get to meet any actual working class people. Though it's not exactly a wide sample, I had a brief conversation with a bloke in the pub last night. And though the "bloke in pub" summons up images of a ranty ukipper, this particular chap, remarked that he would be perfectly happy if the EU were just a marketplace but he voted to leave the political union.
I happened to be having a pint with the local ex-Ukip candidate and we both turned to look at each other in surprise. Typically you wouldn't expect to hear that point being made, nor would I have expected to have such a high brow conversation in a Bradley Stoke pub. After taking to Ukip twitterers for an entire year my expectations have lowered somewhat. The shoutiest tend to be the stupidest.
It turns out that I really do need to get out more because ordinary people, and this chap couldn't have been more ordinary, actually do have a very well developed sense of what they voted for. For sure he had some pretty tedious remarks to make about Muslims and I really couldn't be bothered to argue but he had grasped the one point that seems to escape liberal, affluent west London.
It turns out the average voter doesn't care about roaming charges or the convenience of popping off to the continent. This average man voted on a point of principle. And this lies at the root of Brexit and the revolt against the powers that be. When you have Owen Jones, Polly Toynbee, Ian Dunt and all the other wet lettuce forelock-tuggers speaking in your name over what is best for you, the two fingered salute is entirely rational. Having some air-headed liberal patronising you and second guessing your vote is quite offensive.
The point of principle on which we voted, is that Britain should not be subordinate to a European supreme government. This is something they are quite adamant about. The Ukipper objection to the single market option is that they believe that the ECJ still has jurisdiction. It doesn't but that is how the Norway Option has been described by many in the media on both sides of the argument.
While sovereignty is fluid concept and there must always be compromises, what leavers absolutely do not want is the EU having supreme authority over the UK. In this they have been told that there are major economic consequences. Just about every prestigious institution made their dire warnings. Yet they were ignored. And why is this?
The snobby liberal believes that the working class are too stupid to understand and have been brainwashed by the right wing media. Except that if you actually talk to an average voter, they know there will be economic consequences. Most believe that in the long run they will be better off for it, and while you can argue that this will not necessarily be the case, that is the gamble voters are willing to take on the basis that the status quo is not delivering for them.
You could argue that leaving the EU is a bit drastic and that it is not the fault of the EU, but there is no other alternative at the ballot box. At the last election we had the blandess of Ed Miliband and his dismal unambitious centrism or the blandness of David Cameron and his dismal unambitious centrism. The third options were even worse.
And in this, for all their faux concern for the working class, they are now more likely to vote Tory than ever before. That should come as no surprise. At the last election Ed Miliband ran on a platform of snobby paternalism. We were told that Britain is suffering under grinding austerity and the working classes were in need of rescue by their betters. Risible. The picture of Britain painted by those on the left, one of Dickensian poverty, simply does not exist. The existence of food banks is not a sign we are in terminal poverty. It is a sign of a healthy society in which voluntarism and charity delivers for the poor.
It would be wrong to say that extreme poverty does not exist but it exists in clusters for a number of nuanced reasons to which the answer of "more welfare" simply isn't the solution. Times are tough and the economy is more stagnant than figures suggest and voters want to see that cycle broken but that is not a cry for more handouts. They want jobs and a return to prosperity. They want manufacturing jobs. This is what they tell me when I talk to people.
Whether or not Brexit can bring this about is debatable and I would suggest not for the time being, but if you really do know Brits then you won't have any trouble understanding what is happening in politics right now. Brits are aspirational and proud people. They know they don't want hand outs and they know they don't want to answer to Brussels.
There isn't a far right backlash nor is Britain becoming more intolerant. Brits just have this curious notion that the government should act with consent and do as instructed. Liberals see it the other way around. The liberal bubble dwellers think that anything to the right of their dismal right-on narrative is extremism. There is a massive gulf between their reality and the one the rest of us inhabit. For as long as the left continue to view ordinary voters as stupid and extreme, they will continue to be wiped out.
Far from being the beginnings of a fightback, Olney is a blip. If the Tories had fielded just about anyone other than Goldsmith they would have retained the seat. Goldsmith is an odious, useless creature and Richmond is well rid of him. To see his political career brought to a humiliating end is most gratifying. If anything Olney is another nail in the coffin of centrist liberalism. Having this hapless moron telling us plebs that we didn't know what we voted for and should go back and think again is Christmas come early. So thank you Richmond. Nice one. You're the ones who are stuck with her though. Tough break!