The battle of ideas is over, politics is now strictly insults and vibes - Alexander Brown

Politics has always been an ugly business, but away from the mud throwing there were arguments or ideas promising to change peoples lives.

But in recent times, as the purse tightens, so has the ambition, with people now voting to oppose things, rather than out of any sense of positivity. Vote Labour to stop the Tory chaos, vote Tory to stop the woke blob, vote SNP to stop being in the UK.

There may be real tangible ideas behind these, but for too long Britain’s elections have relied on negativity, rather than the politics of hope.

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For so many, being elected is not a privilege used to implement change, improving the lives of citizens, but a game, where winning is all that matters, whatever the cost. Where John McCain was happy to defend Barack Obama as a “decent family man” he disagreed with, the Prime Minister is derided as rich and out of touch, Sir Keir Starmer a North London lawyer.

Insults and slurs have become the true currency, with our elected figures happy to say anything, defend the indefensible, and stick up posters they know are false.

Electoral politics being the battle of ideas is over, we live in the era of vibes and slander.This is for several reasons, not least the EU referendum, which allowed populism to not just infect Britain, but decide its elections. MPs were happy to lie about Turkey joining the EU, warning it would see millions of people flood into Britain, experts were attacked for being experts, and balance was mistaken for printing falsehoods.It has consequences that trickle down, though never, ever economically. Politicians can say outrageous things, make dangerous allegations, and it’s dismissed with The Wire like defence of “it’s all in the game”.

This week Lee Anderson, the Tory deputy chairman best known for faking an interview, said asylum seekers, unhappy with being housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge should “f**k off back to France”, an odious statement defended and then endorsed by more senior ministers. This is the rhetoric of an uncle who gets his news from Facebook, not that of a real politician.Such conduct is not limited to the Tories. In the SNP, MSP and parliament committee convener Clare Haughey shared a tweet attacking the school department of Labour’s candidate in Rutherglen & Hamilton West, suggesting this means they were unfit to be an MP. That Michael Shanks was working in an education system the SNP have run for 14 years while failing to close the attainment gap did not seem worthy of mention. This is an irrelevant attack on an individual and the school they work at, but once again it’s seemed fair game.Boris Johnson was allowed to make smears about Sir Keir not prosecuting Jimmy Savile, something that still comes up in focus groups, Labour MPs shared graphics suggesting the Prime Minister didn’t think sex offenders should be jailed.These are hideous things, untrue things, from people who just disagree with each other.This of course all comes with a general election expected next year, and more by-elections as and when Nadine Dorries can be bothered to resign. The rhetoric has ramped up, and things are only going to get worse.



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