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June 15, 2017


Douglas Fraser

this article falls into exactly the same trap as it blames others of doing. In seeking to explain the outcome of the election it looks for political subtlety whereas the truth is much simpler. A lot of people who neither know nor care about politics were induced to vote by the offer of goodies: cancellation of student loans, nationalising the confectionery industry and issuing free lollipops, etc. This was one of the most cynical and unprincipled campaigns ever - and it nearly worked. The more that the politically uninvolved are encouraged to vote, the less well informed will be the outcome. However, that is democracy and despite all it is still the best system.


I'm sorry to say you are tragically misinformed.
The manifesto was very principled (I should know).

The rich have been stealing all the lolly pops for far too long.


"Detailed statistics in the Human Development Report published last week also demonstrate that inequality has grown sharply during Conservative rule and that the poor in Britain now have to live on much the same incomes as their equivalents in Hungary and Korea.

While growing inequality might once have been a cause for congratulation - Margaret Thatcher called on us to "glory" in it - the consensus among experts in such bodies as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the rich nations' club, and even the World Bank is now moving against."

I want my lolly pops, and this is in the public interest, and good economics.


This article is more recent.

"The charity's report analysed data from Credit Suisse and found that the richest 10% of the UK population own over half of the country's total wealth, with the top 1% owning nearly a quarter (23%). The poorest 20% share just 0.8% of the UK's wealth between them.

The report said many people in the UK felt locked out of politics and economic opportunity."


Student Loans (May 2017)
"The study will be presented alongside similar research from Birkbeck, University of London and UCL Institute of Education, which shows young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be put off university due to the high levels of debt associated with it.

Universities will from September be able to increase tuition fees in line with inflation, meaning students will face costs of up to £9,250 a year from the autumn.

Including maintenance loans, students now leave university with debt of around £44,000."

Steven Clarke


And of course no Tory voter was put off by the means testing of Winter Fuel Payments or asking the wealthy to take more responsibility for paying for their care. They were purely motivated by their clear-sighted and disinterested view of the national interest.

Dave Timoney

Douglas Fraser in the first comment takes a traditional reactionary position: "The more that the politically uninvolved are encouraged to vote, the less well informed will be the outcome" (the term "uninvolved" is a 21st century euphemism for "ignorant", which in turn was a 20th century euphemism for the older idea of "interest" - i.e. only property-owners could exercise good judgement in public affairs).

One way that this elitist position has been reconciled with democracy is through the idea that while the individual voter may be an idiot (them obviously, not us), they possess a collective wisdom when massed through the ballot box. There were plenty of pundits this week who talked of the sophistication of the electorate's singular answer (not a few of whom previously bemoaned the blunt instrument of the referendum), as if we'd cunningly calculated the optimum vote split in advance.

While this can easily be dismissed as mystical nonsense, it's worth noting that more respectable versions of this thinking underpin ideas such as complex emergence, the general intellect and Hayek's system of prices, not to mention the more risible "wisdom of crowds". Hayek's eulogy of prices is apposite to the pundit process:

"The most significant fact about this system is the economy of knowledge with which it operates, or how little the individual participants need to know in order to be able to take the right action. In abbreviated form, by a kind of symbol, only the most essential information is passed on and passed on only to those concerned".

Opinion polls and focus groups (and tightly-managed debates like Question Time) are an attempt to turn complex opinions into symbols, and thereby to abbreviate democracy. What was notable about the many and various "humble pie" articles (and book-eating) this week was the admission of error - I have failed to correctly interpret the signal, or I have misjudged Corbyn - but there was little appetite for more democracy, despite the polls (sic) suggesting we'd be more than happy to have another go at the ballot box.


The election was simple. Labour promised to give you goodies, especially if you are young or poor. They played into their natural constituency. The Conservatives promised to take away your goodies if you're old or wealthy. They played against their natural constituency.
Labour got it as right, (in terms of upping their vote as they could, the Conservatives got it as wrong as they could). Had the Conservatives not attacked their natural voters, all would be relatively calm with a majority of about 50. (Would have been higher but in addition May was rubbish, as was resource allocation).


Aragon, why should you know?


@ Douglas

So education, infrastructure and jobs are frivolous goodies. Next you're going to tell us that limos, diamond necklaces and mansions are investments.


'The election was simple. Labour promised to give you goodies, especially if you are young or poor.'

Or, to put it another way, some of Labour's policies are to try and reverse shit ones the Tories and Lib Dems put through that penalised the young and attacked the poor.


I often see comments on politics like those of Douglas Fraser. I am sad that so many people are ignorant blockheads with no interest in the welfare of their own fellow citizens. or indeed in their own rational interest in public investment. A mild redistribution of the huge transfer of wealth towards the rich effected by cameron and the smirk is long overdue in the UK. And indeed is elsewhere.

I am also sad at the resort to the gutter politics of character assassination and outright lies used by the Tory party and their wealthy minions. They should be ashamed and apologize for their behaviour. If they had any decency they would. But as they do not we will be waiting a long time for the apology.

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