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May 09, 2019

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e

I think you're being a little unfair here “that the press doesn't matter much” is becoming widely appreciated precisely because the conversation has changed. Restricted by brexit mania for sure, but considerable work has gone into highlighting our Forth Estate's dependence on corporate finances, and the degree to which, unquestioned, this obscures an understanding of how stuff works.

Dipper

so, lets just say that the Wren-Lewis argument is correct and the press massively influences elections to the point of making it impossible for left wing governments to get elected, so the press needs to be sufficiently controlled in order that the populations, suitably now informed, will elect a left-wing government.

Under that scenario, what is the point of having elections? If the electorate are simply a mirror for the opinion that is blasted at them and have no agency of their own, then their vote means nothing. So surely the logical end of this argument is for the left to seize power and abolish elections. Have I got that right?

Scratch

"So surely the logical end of this argument is for the left to seize power and abolish elections. Have I got that right?"

Probably not given the current autonomist trend (ineptly demonised as populism) across the advanced world.

There's clearly a movement amongst bourgeois liberals intent on neutering democracy and/or outflanking it through administrative capture - largely backed by the press., Gratifyingly however both they and their cheerleaders appear to have quite exhausted their reserves of trustworthiness hence the (hopefully futile) turn to increasingly crude and obvious forms of repression.

From Arse To Elbow

Leaving aside his reductio ad absurdum, Dipper frames the question of what the left can do in terms of imposing control, but this gets the issue the wrong way round. The problem with the "free press" is that it is already controlled.

It is no coincidence that the press itself has displayed an antipathy towards social media and unconventional online journalism. It is also no coincidence that it is supposedly progressive elements of the press, like the Guardian, who have been most vocal in their criticism of new media.

Dipper

@ FromArsetToElbow how is that reductio ad absurdum? It is just taking an argument to its logical conclusion. If people are simply vehicles for passing through received opinions without any independent ability to process them then what value do they add?

georgesdelatour

“…anti-migrant sentiment tends to be strongest in areas which have low immigration”.

Or to put it the other way round, pro-migrant sentiment tends to be strongest in areas where migrants and their descendants have come to make up a very high percentage of voters. It’s almost as if migrants are voting for more migration.

The 2011 Census revealed a London that was 55% non-White, with 35% of its population born outside the UK. It also found that 600,000 Whites had left the capital since the 2001 Census.

This BBC report is interesting:

https://www.bbc.com/news/education-33409111

It reveals that, even though just 26% of school pupils in London are White, they go disproportionately to schools where Whites form a majority. This ethnic distribution of pupils cannot be explained by the ethnic distribution of individual boroughs. It seems that White parents are gaming the system to avoid sending their children to schools where they’ll be a minority.

Is this a “revealed preference”?

Blissex

«important questions get ignored – such as the causes of stagnant real wages or of inequality.»

Many voters reckon those are rather less important questions than how to get rents and house prices to increase faster, and only secondarily worry how to ensure that the help's wages fall and inequality increases.
Politics matter, and it is a common leftoid delusion that everybody thinks or should think that "stagnant real wages and inequality" are top issues.

As I haven't tired of repeating yet the political challenge is how to cope with the new large class of pension and property rentiers that the socialdemocratic policies of the 1960s and 1970s have created, rather than wringing hands and tut-tutting about "stagnant real wages and inequality" which is a minor consequence of that.

Blissex

«If the electorate are simply a mirror for the opinion that is blasted at them and have no agency of their own, then their vote means nothing.»

"Dipper" here shows his assumption that "hoi polloi" are genetically inferior and thus are fundamentally unable to make decisions. The logical consequence of that is Spencerism, and to make the vast majority of the population into slaves, ruled over by superior being like B Johnson.

But there is a rather better "left-wing" answer to the people (usually lesser types of elitists) who complain that "hoi polloi" are too easily swayed by wall-to-wall far-right propaganda: help "hoi polloi" educate themselves with a wider range of opinions, provide alternative narratives to the wall-to-wall far-right propaganda that defines the "Overton window", and trust better prepared "hoi polloi" to make their own decisions.

That's the tradition of Labour, the socialist/methodist tradition of night schools, reading clubs, debating meetings, pamphlets, magazines, it is about empowering those people that right-wingers like you seem to regard as animal-like "commoners".

Consider for example the "Another Angry Voice" blog: it reaches more people than some newspapers, despite it having been "algorithmically" penalized by Google and Facebook.

J

On your point about some anti-immigration feeling being curious because it was in areas with low levels of immigration - the LSE chaps you referenced looked at this and proposed that it was the *rate of change* in these low immigrant population areas that was significant, rather than overall numbers. So when you look at it that way the sentiment can then make sense independent of newspaper reporting (much as both the sentiment and the newspaper articles sadden me).

Here's their paper (found within the blog link you posted):
http://www.demos.co.uk/files/Changing_places_-_web.pdf?1411989188

Blissex

«proposed that it was the *rate of change* in these low immigrant population areas that was significant, rather than overall numbers.»

* Some of those areas are rich, and most residents are english supremacists, and they are outraged that some insolent foreigners claim the right to immigrate without having to beg for permission, and cannot be just thrown out at whim, and behave as if they were english expats.

* Some of those areas are poor, and tend to have very few jobs, so any increase in the competition is resented, plus those are also areas from which there is emigration to the south, and competition for jobs and housing there is also resented.

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