Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2019

Newport West and the EU elections; Part Two: shrugging off the message, denying the further likelihood of low turnout

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This is the second article in a series, the first part of which can be read here.

Paul Goodman is a former Tory MP for Wycombe. He writes for the ConservativeHome website; in fact he appears to be an editor. He began a piece about the Newport West by-election by firmly placing it in the context of upcoming elections – first and foremost, the ones for the European parliament, and then the local polls to be held on May 2nd. This is significant. The latter elections are a certainty, the former are not meant to happen (Goodman says of them that they are a “growing likelihood”), and yet they are presented in that order. It shows that at FBEL, the author is only having a natural reaction to events when he has the idea that Newport West will not be going unnoticed by British Government with an eye on what it means not only for the status quo right at the start of the febrile Fake Brexit epoch, but especially for the European elections. Indeed, Goodman, editor of what is essentially headquarters for the Tory party on the internet, will undoubtedly have an inside track; it would be a great surprise indeed if his piece did not reflect a current mode of thought in British Government.

Moreover, we might also suspect his piece to be a telegraph for the Tory Executive Branch, no matter how distant or liquid the connection, because of its message; of the Newport West by-election, it asks the following question “Where is the voter uprising against establishment elites?” Of course, this would be something unlooked for by the British Government. The British Government, exposed to many more people than ever before for the tyrant it is, wants business as normal, which means getting voters engaged in elections to create consent to govern. As long as there is that, then the passing of time, and the idiotic public’s goldfish-like memory, will heal everything. But there is also special significance for wanting wide spread engagement in the European elections: it represents a thin end of a practical wedge for EU entanglement. British participation in European elections should be seen as apparatus running parallel to Article 50 capitulation that knits Britain to the EU. UK Government has no intention of having things any other way – and it would like to present an idea that there is no opposition to that intention. Hence, we find ConservativeHome not being able to find the voter uprising in Newport West, and having to ask the question in headlines aimed at a Tory readership, so as to lull it back into the sleep of the contented know-it-all-know-nothing.

However, there clearly was a voter uprising at Newport West. It was the collapse in turnout. The BBC live internet coverage had a short bulletin dedicated to the subject:

Cardiff University’s Prof Roger Awan-Scully says that a 37.1% turnout is low.

“Far from a historic low – but still unquestionably poor,” he says.

“The next big question – will this low turnout hurt any party in particular?”

As though an immediate rebuff was required, a BBC correspondent – in fact the BBC Wales political editor, Felicity Evans – soon after contributed a piece to deny that, despite the professor’s parting question, there would be no trouble ahead:

What happened in this by-election should not be taken as a barometer for future elections – politics is a rollercoaster right now.

This is perception management, from Government, pure and simple. It is an instruction, to be received under the hypnosis of State-controlled media, not to anticipate reduced levels of engagement in upcoming elections – which would be the first step in making an individual aware of a possibility that he could ever be involved in bringing about such a thing.

Speaking of the technocratic method for rule, although the winning candidate, Labour’s Ruth Jones, would have looked Baghdad-Bobian if she didn’t acknowledge the low turnout in an interview given to the BBC, she did deal with it in an entirely predictable way:

There is a level of distrust of all politicians at the moment because of what is going on in the House of Commons. I think that was highlighted in the low turnout. I want to work with the people who did elect me but I want to reach out to the people who didn’t go out today to make sure we get their voices heard and they re-engage with politics.

This sort of thing isn’t indicative of gross stupidity, but rather it is a demonstration of the gaslighting at the crux of the methodology for technocracy (which Jones, having been a former president of the Wales Trade Union Congress, would be well versed in). It is to say that there isn’t anything the matter that can’t be fixed with a new way by which to deceive people. It doesn’t recognise the failure at the heart of the problem: that MPs in the Commons are unrepresentative of the people who sent them there. It is, rather, psychology to cast before the swine. The likes of Ruth Jones have an ideal, and they assert that it’s what everyone wants. When the physical evidence just isn’t there to support the assertion, it remains what everyone wants – only they don’t understand they want it yet. Of course, the technocratic elitism from whence this mode of being flows – not to mention the consequences – is the very thing that is getting on the hump of the people Jones would “reach out to”.

Unsurprisingly, both Jones and her Tory counterpart dared not campaign on the issue of Brexit as part of their electioneering. Even so, Matthew Evans, the Tory leader of the opposition on Newport city council, blamed “what was happening in Westminster” on what he saw as his reduced chances of winning: “I’ve never known such anger and frustration”, he said of his experience. What he was really saying, even if he didn’t realise it, was that Parliament’s abuse of its status as representative of the sovereignty of the Newport West voter with regards Brexit was a source of extreme agitation, and an issue high on people’s list of priorities. Unsurprisingly, says the Guardian, “during the campaign neither Labour nor Tory focused on Brexit”.

Emanating very much from the same “reality is what we say it is” mode of communication, there is some analysis on the internet that claims that Brexit was not an issue in Newport West – we won’t waste time linking to it. Likewise, there are clowns who are somehow published in big name publications – in this case the Independent – who would have their readership believe that the low turnout was due to inclement weather – or “that Labour voters might have stayed home disproportionately on the grounds that the by-election result was probably a foregone conclusion”. Moreover, there is no appreciation that a tiny minority who elected a candidate (and we’ll find out just how small it was in the third article in this series) cannot be representative of an entire nation’s political ambition. The following extract shows its writer asserting that wanting to leave the EU is a minority view:

[UKIP’s] showing is a necessary reminder that there is still a consciously hard-Brexit constituency out there and that any assessment of changing views on Brexit needs to be very careful.

Please notice that UKIP is being equated with tiny minority. Its poor performance at Newport West, when conditions have never been more conducive for its success – the result of Gerard Batten’s deliberate tampering – do nothing to challenge that demand on public perception.

What a writer who is shaping opinion can get away with is to a large degree dictated by what an audience will allow. Of course, not all audiences are permanently resident in Toyland, as the unfortunates who read articles by Noddy at the Independent appear to be, but Goodman’s, at ConservativeHome, would certainly give them a run for their money. Goodman can’t get away with not acknowledging turnout to be poor – but then nobody could – however, he is able, also, to shrug it off. The difference between Goodman and Noddy is that the former can’t get away with not recognising the potential for a significant upset. And yet this remains no problem for selling the talking point of “no trouble ahead”, because Goodman can just assert that any potential for radical change was not realised. Watch closely how he does it:

At Westminster, we have floods, thunderstorms, Theresa May in negotiation with a Marxist who leads an institutionally anti-semitic party, a referee who plays for one of the teams, Nick Boles, Richard Drax, another backbencher who was Prime Minister In All But Name when the week began (and could still be), a possible EU-delivered No Deal, a probable extension – and no-one with a clue what will happen next.

In Newport, we don’t even have that event of journalistic legend – small earthquake, not many dead.  We have a tremor that barely registers on the seismograph.

Of course, the technique involves contrast with the deliberate theatre of Parliament – scenes of make-believe that are very much supposed to create tension and fascination in intrigue. That’s how we know we’re dealing with a deliberate manipulator.

And yet the truth remains unalterable: Newport West spells trouble for British Government, and as far as the author could find, there was only one writer on the internet, someone by the name of Mick Hume, writing for Spiked Online, who could recognise it:

If you want to know why so many anti-Brexit MPs are wary of a General Election, European elections, a second referendum or anything involving a public vote, look at the result of a little-noticed election held in South Wales last Thursday…

This was a Brexit by-election. Newport West voted Leave by 53.7 to 46.3 per cent in the 2016 EU referendum. Thousands of those voters showed the major parties exactly what they thought of their MPs’ betrayal of Brexit, either by refusing to vote or by backing UKIP.

In fact, the inclusion of UKIP in the “thousands” is the only thing that’s slightly misinforming in this extract. Because it numbered two of them – just – UKIP’s support may well technically count as thousands. However, there were many more refusers at Newport West than there were UKIP voters – who, after Batten’s catastrophic rampage through the party, severing it from libertarian origins, and remaking it with gangster thuggery and internet shillery, are wasting their effort. There is a much more significant message that can be sent if these people will only realise at last that casting a vote to a losing candidate is essentially to vote for the winning one. Fortunately, there appear to be many more people in Newport West who have better “smarts”. There were enough of them to send that message – and it wasn’t lost, folks. It certainly wasn’t lost. The battle maps in the Government’s central command bunker may be empty of the enemy’s tanks, and bristling with their own. But out in the actual field, things are not like that in reality.

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