5 things the General Election has told us so far

  1. Lots of people don’t like democracy all that much. The immediate aftermath of the election being called showed some worrying anti-democratic instincts, including among those nominally on the Left. From Umunna’s insane tweeting to viral videos of irate Bristolians, there’s an anti-political sentiment that has carried over to ‘not more bloody voting’-ism.
  2. It’s Corbynism or babarism, with barbarism the favourite. As @alex__1789 put it, the best result would be a massive, crushing victory for Labour, and the implementation of a radical (at least for British politics) Corbo-Futurist platform — and the next best result would be the electoral destruction of the Labour Party, which might allow a structurally democratic socialist party to emerge. The most likely result is also the worst: a victory by the Tories (or even an unlikely, narrow Labour victory). Anything that allows the Labour Party to continue infighting rather than radically democratize, with the Right of the party crafting increasingly inane and implausible political platforms with dire cardboard frontmen, is a major roadblock to anyone who wants a genuine socialist alternative to the travesty of a society we have now.
  3. Labour still hasn’t had anything to say about Brexit. Despite good policies elsewhere, Labour has lacked a vision of what Brexit could be. Labour missed the historical opportunity to articulate why Brexit is progressive, but there are institutional reasons why they were never realistically going to do that (see for instance Richard Seymour’s great little book on Corbyn for the many ways the Labour Party favours its Right institutionally).
  4. Politics is still presented again and again as a personality contest, but between candidates who have no personalities. This is perhaps not a novel or original point. “Can’t stand Corbyn” has become a political position, one which fails on its own grounds of course, but which is utterly reinforced by the Labour party seemingly playing a game that is entirely focused in Westminster, in large part against their own party. As a personality contest, it’s just awful: a tedious battle between psychologically deranged elite freakshows putting in their four-yearly performance of normality and cringingly pathetic authentocrat losers. The withdrawal of the popular element of democracy provides the material base for the pure but boring ideology of the ‘campaign’.
  5. There’s still an idea that Brexit has to be explained. Brexit is still seen as something “wrong” that political scientists are trying to explain. It’s something that earnest and well-meaning, if ultimately somewhat patronising, journalists are journeying around the country to gain insight into. Labour supporters, and the party, is still ambivalent (at best) towards Brexit. Labour still seems oriented towards ‘solving’ the ‘causes’ of this mistaken vote.