Wednesday, 31 May 2017

BBC debate: the cupboard is bare

I don't have a television. I'm not happy to finance the BBC and I really can't cope with TV adverts. It is not necessary to have a television and when for news you have Newsnight, Laura Kuenssberg, Robert Peston, Andrew Neil, Evan Davis and all the other insufferable beeboid worms, there is no way I am going to be less informed for not having one.

This though puts me at a slight disadvantage. My timeline on Facebook is full of eminently sensible people writing posts about how terrorism is not a consequence of our foreign policy and that the links with Islam must be explored. All week I've been pondering why anyone would bother to restate these self evident things, assuming that the debate has long since moved on. The debate can't still be at first base can it?

Well, just five minutes of watching the BBC "debate" last night I can see that we are, and actually these things, depressingly, do need restating time and again. The "debate" was a most unwholesome spectacle. Effectively it was a mob of shouty left wing populists mouthing the usual platitudes and reciting the usual mantras as though there are no negative externalities to immigration, all the money in the world to firehose at the NHS and the pretence that Ukip is the manifestation of the third Reich.

Now you'll get no argument from me that Ukip have made their own bed and deserve to be pilloried for their unsubtle and unintelligent policymaking but Paul Nuttall's weary exasperation better encapsulates public mood than anything else we saw. More sickening than anything Ukip have said in recent times is the insulting intellectual dishonesty of the others - and the group-think in play.

Like most who watched it, I didn't get through more than about five minutes before switching it off in disgust. It was, however, a useful reminder why we voted to leave the EU. The debate was a microcosm of UK political debate as a whole. A virtue signalling political class working in collusion to paint the every day views of ordinary voters as somehow bigoted and extreme, gliding effortlessly over the facts, knowingly misframing the issues - refusing to even engage.

As bad as it was, it seemed even more debased than usual. The same old faces, the same tedious narratives, the same lofty disdain, but somehow more tarnished and more broken. The bubble-dwellers inhabit the pre-referendum world and have learned nothing.

This forces me to conclude that however bad a Brexit deal is, national immolation is no less than we deserve and perhaps it's the only way to restore some kind of dignity and authority to our politics. What we are seeing is the fag end of retail politics, with politicians throwing around our money as though it were still 2006. Infantilising the nation.

By now, all but the very thickest can see that UK politics is in a very deep hole. Probably beyond salvation. The talent pool has dried up. If this really is the best we can do then we don't deserve to survive. The rot has spread too deeply and there isn't a way back from this. 

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