Following Brexit, an interesting area of agreement has emerged between members of the two contending teams, by which I really mean between Brexiteer me and Daniel Korski, who recently penned a Politico piece entitled Why we lost the Brexit vote. We. His team lost. His discussion of why his team lost strikes me as well worth reading.
Korski was for the EU, and for Britain being in the EU. He describes it as:
— an extraordinary project of continental peacemaking and economic liberalization —
However, those dashes at the beginning and the end of that quote are because that is a parenthetically pre-emptive addition to a long passage in which Korski tells us many of things that have been wrong with the EU, especially recently. The EU …:
… has become increasingly distant from voters. It has struggled with the contradictions laid bare by the euro crisis and come up against the limits of its attraction, in Turkey and on its border with Russia. The resulting impression is of a Continent lurching from crisis to crisis. …
There is much more in a similar vein. Read it all, if you are the sort that relishes unflattering descriptions of the EU. The …:
… the impression of the EU across the Continent was of an enterprise no longer delivering for Europeans. …
The word “impression” occurs twice during this peroration, and again in one of the subheadings that Korski, or someone, has added. But it all reads like a lot worse than just an impression.
→ Continue reading: Have they even been selling EUrope in Europe?
Apparently the Queen ‘confused Vladimir Putin with Andrew Marr’ during a state visit.
It can be difficult to tell apart all these ex-communists who have kept their taste for being “engineers of the human soul”. There was little spiritual difference between Vladimir Putin and Andrew Marr when Marr said this:
“… though teachers are the most effective anti-racist campaigners in the country, this means more than education in other religions it means a form of political education. Only people who understand the economic forces changing their world, threatening them but also creating new opportunities, have a chance of being immune to the old tribal chants. And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain ‘natural’ beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.”
Emphasis added. The Guardian article from which the quote is taken can be read here.
Anyway, my point is that it was the dissatisfaction of a large number of people with the mainstream media’s coverage of a major global event that drove the growth of blogging, both in the US and Britain. We are now in a period where people’s dissatisfaction with the mainstream media is plumbing new depths as it behaves abominably over issues such as the US election, immigration, and a whole load of others which people care deeply about. Twitter and Facebook have already shown they are prepared to censor unwelcome opinions, which has left more than a few people voiceless (at least until Gab picks up and develops a smartphone app.). Indeed, I’ve always been surprised how many bloggers – who had full control of their own hosting platform and content – switched to Twitter, where they had none of the former and now, we discover, not so much of the latter either. The beauty of blogging for me was always that I run the site and its content is wholly mine and subject to nobody’s approval. There is no “report inappropriate content” on this blog.
This period in the runup to the US Presidential Election is starting to feel a lot like the spring of 2003: plenty of angry voices and a feeling nobody is listening. If Trump loses, the opposite side will try to silence them. One way of making themselves heard is via a blog, leading me to believe that we might see a renaissance of blogging in 2017.
Either way, I’ll still be here. Hopefully.
– Tim Newman, very accurately describing what caused the blogosphere to appear seemingly ab nihilo, and why similar conditions of widespread alienation may well be coming into alignment to cause a new media surge tide once again, perhaps this time ab Milo.
I am not a huge fan of twitter but sometimes it is a good place to get a sober heads up on breaking show biz stories…
Elfwick is a genius.
“Say no to horror costumes any time before 31 October. Get your nuts and apples and pumpkins ready for-Halloween night, not before. It’s time to reclaim the here and now.”
– Melanie McDonagh
Steven DenBeste, who ran a blog called USS Clueless back in the early days when we were all known as “warblogs”, has pressed Ctrl+Alt+Del and gone to the great blogroll in the sky. Steven and I often agreed on things, for he was certainly not an ‘idiotarian’, but we often crossed swords as well. Like me he was an atheist but nevertheless, Godspeed Good Sir, you were part of the social media New Wave before anyone called it social media.
A little over a week ago I came across a little “gotcha” story of political news, or rather gossip, which stuck in my mind, not because of the of the commonplace instance of political insincerity it revealed, but because of the way this story reached what we still call the newspapers.
Celebrity Corbyn cheerleader Paul Mason caught on video expressing his doubts about the LAB leader saying he should be replaced by Clive Lewis
One of the tireless advocates of Corbyn during the prolonged LAB leadership battle in the summer was the ex-Newsnight correspondent Paul Mason. As you’d expect he’s articulate and good on the telly and figured prominently in the coverage of the election.
But there’s one video of him which he’s probably less keen about. He was caught by someone sitting near him in a bar in Liverpool as he talked about Corbyn’s failings and lack of electoral appeal. This has now found its way into the hands of the Sun which is giving big coverage this morning.
This is one of the dangers about the modern world. Most people have smartphones with pretty sophisticated video facilities which they carry with them all the time.
The quote is from by Mike Smithson of politicalbetting.com. The emphasis was added by me. It is funny to see the “postcapitalist” journalist Paul Mason caught out, but disquieting to think that this is the future for everybody even slightly famous. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s famous meeting at the Granita restaurant in Islington in which Blair is said to have promised to pass the sceptre to Brown would not now be possible. Famous and powerful people must now remove themselves even further from normal people in order to have any hope of privacy. Is this on balance good? I don’t know.
However much I worry, the ability of every ordinary person to spy on the media-political elite (a category that most certainly includes the former Newsnight Business Correspondent and Channel 4 Economics Editor) is one of the few things that might temper their belief in their right to spy on and “expose” everybody else. It also reminds them that what constitutes “news” can be decided by people other than them.
Related: Perry de Havilland’s post from 2010: Why I Support Wikileaks
Economist have taken positive empiricism one step beyond and formulated economic theory from empirical regularities; Okun’s law, the Phillips curve or, more recently, the popularity of Rogoff and Reinhart’s debt-to-GDP tipping point. Economists, also, have little restraint in throwing up graphs showing empirically causal relationships between economic variables.
This is, however, taking economics way beyond what it can do, yet, few professional economists take to the airwaves to denounce this bastardisation of the science. Empiricism can support an economic theory, but it cannot prove or disprove an economic theory.
– Frank Hollenbeck
The Times 5 February 1916 p3
Why is the Prime Minister not being dragged over the coals for this? Whilst she and Boris Johnson blather on, the fur is flying practically under their noses! How can Her Majesty’s Government be trusted to manage Brexit and national security if they cannot prevent employees at the very heart of government from acting like soccer hooligans?
May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my country and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious Victory; and may no misconduct in any one tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature of the British Fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may His blessing light upon my endeavors for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.
– The prayer of Horatio Nelson, commander of the British fleet, written on the eve of the Battle of Trafalgar, the following day. For those interested in this period of naval warfare, I strongly recommend this excellent book by Sam Willis.
Roger Knight’s excellent biography of Nelson, which I read about three years’ ago after it was published, is also a brilliant study of the man. (Being an East Anglian, as Nelson also was, I am somewhat biased.)
I leave it to Samizdata readers to elaborate on the potential parallels between Nelson’s destruction of the French/Spanish fleets on that day and the recent far less violent assertion of UK independence on 23 June, 2016.
What looks like a contradiction – being anti-Brexit, but pro-Sexit – makes perfect sense: underpinning both positions is a loathing of the largely English demos. That’s why the cause of Scottish independence feeds into, and reinforces, the anti-democratic tendency of our present moment. Scotland is being turned into a utopia for those seeking refuge from the people.
The irony to all this, of course, is that Scottish independence is itself now being shown to be a misnomer. There is no real talk of going it alone, of ensuring that the Scottish people have control of their own affairs. Because those arguing for freedom from the UK want nothing more than to immerse Scotland in the even greater union of the EU. Which is no kind of independence at all.
– Tim Black