Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Election Misdirection

Its a common tactic of magicians to use misdirection - get the audience's attention on one thing so that the real trick can be executed elsewhere.

This is a misdirection election. Directly after winning a Commons vote on his Brexit deal, Boris Johnson dissolved Parliament. Why? Because his only way of winning an election was to pitch the Conservatives as the Brexit Party, knowing that the Remain vote would be split and leaderless.

Take Brexit out, and who would win? Without 'Get Brexit Done', what else have the Conservatives had to say? Vague stuff about unleashing potential, statistically false claims about hospitals and nurses, and restoring police numbers to almost what they were pre-austerity.

Beyond that, as if reflecting the fact they have very little else to say, the Conservatives have disappeared from everything except their own staged events. Andrew Neil is the tip of the iceberg, they have systematically avoided interviews, debates and phone-ins throughout the campaign, Victoria Derbyshire noting this morning that following a month of daily requests not one cabinet minister has ever been put up to appear on her morning TV/radio discussion. People who avoid scrutiny have something to hide.

Labours use of the NHS has a big whiff of misdirection about it too, the documents released mid-term don't really prove its up for sale. Yes it's underfunded and stretched to breaking point, but like the Tories, Labour see in the NHS their own giant trump card that just about hides the other weaknesses in their hand.

This Sunday, Anglicans will hear of John the Baptists question from prison 'are you the one, or should we expect someone else?' Expecting a Jesus bringing judgement and upheaval, instead John suffers the limitations of the Herodian prison system whilst the hoped for Judeaxit from the Roman Empire is nowhere to be seen. Jesus reply: open your eyes. Notice what is happening - to the blind, the lame, the poor, the deaf, the excluded. The good news is coming first to the people nobody reports on.

Open your eyes. Don't follow the magic show. Notice what is happening to the poor, the disabled, the excluded, the hungry. Notice what is happening that politicians never talk about, in the very foundations of our society in families, parenting, culture, values. Notice the things that don't come down to money, and numbers of people employed to do x or y. Love, justice, the planet, kindness, truth. Notice the people that don't register - asylum seekers, food bank users, children in the care system, the isolated elderly, the people affected by UK foreign policy, the anxious and depressed.

Once you've seen how the trick works, its not magic. Turn away from it, and the daily insistence for the last month that this is all we should be noticing. What else do you see and hear? What else do you notice? If you remove the magic trick from the show, what else becomes important instead?

And please vote tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. It's a bit like reading references about someone being considered for a job. It's always important to notice what is not said.