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So that was different

Yesterday I was in the local convenience shop buying mince for Rosie, and what was on the shop radio?  Prime Minister's questions, with the new Labour leader asking questions of David Cameron that had been sent in by the public.

There are shops around here where you can hear live political debate (I'm particularly thinking of the butcher's counter in Callington, which can get lively and opinionated) but it's the first time I've had national politics supplied with the butter.

I am not sure about this.  I am not sure about the idea that people can send questions to politicians is an exciting new departure in democracy.  Isn't that one of the main bits of an MP's job?  OK, some MP's don't seem to consider it particularly important, but there is a whole infrastructure for taking political problems to the Commons. The problem is that 'the people' are not united and a lot of the things that some groups want are actively contradictory and poisonous to other, equally important and genuine groups.  As I understand it, that's why we have a legislature rather than just a vote button.

It sounded like a  radio phone-in show, missing only the soundbites from people telling us what they reckon and how they feel about it. :-/

I'm a bit worried about the attitude 'Corbyn is unelectable'.  Clearly, the man IS electable.  He just got elected, in an election where voters had to pay three quid to vote. And they did, in spades.   I haven't yet heard a compelling argument as to why this cannot possibly be scaled up.

If you want to know what I reckon, then it's that conviction is a very effective selling point to a politician, particularly when he's selling to people who don't spend a lot of time thinking about why things might be a little bit more complicated than they think, and maybe aren't great at working out how much stuff costs.

But the idea of Corbyn in power...  He's spent his entire life refusing to compromise, which is an honorable path, but surely not one that is ideal in a Prime Minister.  I suspect that a lot of people would find out too late what they'd voted for.   But being prepared to compromise (or even, being in a position where compromise is required) is apparently not a popular attribute with the Twitterati, as the Lib Dems have discovered.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
anna_wing
17th Sep, 2015 09:33 (UTC)
I presume he has a Facebook page where people can ask him questions?
bunn
17th Sep, 2015 10:03 (UTC)
Ooooh yes. https://www.facebook.com/Jeremy-Corbyn-330250343871/timeline/ '178353 people like this'.

which in itself is not a bad thing of course. But there are 64million people in the UK. If it gets to '20 million like this' I wonder how that will work.
bunn
17th Sep, 2015 10:05 (UTC)
... actually that would be a majority, as only about 30 million of the UK's population appear to be on Facebook.
ningloreth
17th Sep, 2015 11:18 (UTC)
As I said to my brother: if the only way to get elected is to become a second Tory party, it may be better to stay in opposition and be the best Opposition you can possibly be -- honest, and honestly critical of the government. Maybe that way, you can eventually change public opinion.

I do think it's heartening that the voters, in effect, said they wanted Labour to stand for something different.
bunn
17th Sep, 2015 20:46 (UTC)
Had to think about this.

I think it's the idea that this is an exciting new departure that is raising my hackles. It seems very much same old, but depicted as somehow 'different'. Which itself seems not unfamiliar :-/
puddleshark
17th Sep, 2015 14:25 (UTC)
I don't think there's the remotest chance of Corbyn being elected Prime Minister - the press will make mincemeat of him, as they did of Miliband and Kinnock and Michael Foot.

It would be nice though if his sense of conviction could help overcome the widespread disaffection with politics, particularly among young people - it seems unhealthy for democracy to have a Parliament made up entirely of career politicians.
bunn
17th Sep, 2015 17:57 (UTC)
I don't know. A month ago it was established orthodoxy that he could never be Leader of the Opposition. Now he is, and it's established orthodoxy that he could never win an election. I'm not sure that the conventional press has the influence it used to have, so perhaps rather uncharted territory?

If there's one thing he has done, it's use modern marketing techniques much, much more effectively than his competition did, to make him seem different: I think somewhat in the same way that the Lib Dems did at the election before last. I'm not sure if that was deliberate, or purely accidental because viral recommendation can be extremely unpredictable. But of course, Corbyn is himself a career politician.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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