UK election: can democracy eat liberty and prosperity

Cross Post

If Boris Johnson replaces Theresa May, the UK will have a Donald Trump of sorts — an advocate of the political good sense in reducing the size of government as a basic principle. That would be a start, but no more than start, if democracy has both the will to survive and a realistic hope of doing so.

Theresa May is tarred with having caused the Conservative’s near-disastrous election result.

Some blame her for going to the polls unnecessarily early.  Yet it was not so long ago that this seemed a stroke of Machiavellian genius: she faced a Labour Party in open revolt against a leader whose crypto-communism and consorting with terrorists would surely doom his party to a crushing defeat and a decade in the wilderness. The early campaign seemed to confirm these prognostications. Labour fought on a platform comprising a children’s wish list with lots of free stuff that few in the mainstream media could support.

Theresa May is criticised for trying to slip in a few policies under which people would need to pay more of their own way (including for respite care). Those reproaching her for this may be correct, but only because they are part of the school which sees as inevitable a limitless ratcheting up of communal versus individual payments.

However, Mrs May also played the tooth fairy, with more spending on education, raising the lower thresholds for income tax, and a cap on energy prices (ironically, the Democratic Unionist Party was alone in not seeing the electricity supply industry as an overflowing tank of revenues with which to buy votes).  The Conservatives had some vague notions of a balanced budget some time in the next decade; and they also had tougher immigration policies (they always do — and they always fail to implement them).

So, what does voters’ refusal to endorse Theresa May and their increased support for Labour (and in Northern Ireland the terrorist Sinn Féin party) tell us?

Poor campaigning maybe, but the more plausible answer is that people voted for those who would provide them more of what they want. One part of this is the amplified government spending and regulatory gifting which has increasingly undermined fiscal policy over the past century. People’s wants, as economists often proclaim, are insatiable, and those wants being met without having to earn them are especially valuable. In past centuries, revolts of taxpayers against the government acted as a check on its size, but the balance of power has now shifted to the recipients of taxpayers’ wealth.

Another part of the answer may be Mr Corbyn’s softer approach to terror and immigration. From afar this is difficult to comprehend, especially as the London bombings came part way through the campaign.  But for many, appeasement is the preferred approach to combatting terror.

Read More at Quadrant There’s Free Cheese in Every Mousetrap 

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58 Responses to UK election: can democracy eat liberty and prosperity

  1. jupes

    But for many, appeasement is the preferred approach to combatting terror.

    Too true. Especially true for those charged with actually combating terror.

    Duncan Lewis is a good example. Take note of his claim that if we enact policies to reduce the number of Muslims in Australia, then the Muslims already here will be upset and stop ‘helping’ ASIO or become terrorists themselves.

    No worries Duncan, we’ll just keep them rolling on in then shall we. The more Muslims here the more ‘help’ you’ll get. No obvious flaws in that plan.

    You idiot.

  2. stackja

    But for many, appeasement is the preferred approach to combatting terror.

    “Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear greatly that the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar ever more loudly, ever more widely.” WSC

  3. Marcus

    There’s also the fact that people who were for Corbyn were passionately behind him, whereas Tory voters were lukewarm on Theresa May at best.

    If the Conservatives were going to run a personality-based campaign they really ought to have picked a leader with more personality.

  4. Roger

    Take note of his claim that if we enact policies to reduce the number of Muslims in Australia, then the Muslims already here will be upset and stop ‘helping’ ASIO or become terrorists themselves.

    What a fvcking clueless thing to say. He was once commander of the SAS. What happened to the man?

  5. incoherent rambler

    Read More at Quadrant

    Not until the wimps are gone from Quadrant.
    Now a blacklisted web site.

  6. Leo G

    People’s wants, as economists often proclaim, are insatiable, and those wants being met without having to earn them are especially valuable. In past centuries, revolts of taxpayers against the government acted as a check on its size, but the balance of power has now shifted to the recipients of taxpayers’ wealth.

    A global tipping point?

  7. Just Interested

    Boris is very much a Trump ‘of sorts’; he has a track record of trying to be everything to everybody.

    As for the result, it was more a case of the two main parties are trying to realign their votes; Labour aiming for the younger more prosperous voter in the cities; the Tories the communitarian ‘patriotic’ working class of the North.

    Labour were somewhat successful; the Tories actually did gain votes in the North, just not enough. Will be interesting to see if the Tories continue to try the soft nationalist route.

    That said, if you’re going to frame your election strategy around a personality cult (‘the Theresa May team’) etc) good idea if you ran someone with a semblance of personality.

  8. NewChum

    Or perhaps the Labour voters supporting ukip went back to the fold. They saw they got a Merkel instead of a thatcher and thought they might as well Go for the free stuff.

    May was handed a crisis like no other by the jihadis. But she opted to not see it, to not do a damned thing.

    Old conservative people want the immigrates out and to get their pensions. No point in borne for someone who plans on letting more in and taking your pension and giving it to them.

    Not hard to figure out, really.

  9. Alan Moran

    Read More at Quadrant

    Incoherent rambler “Not until the wimps are gone from Quadrant.
    Now a blacklisted web site.”

    That is very shortsighted at least as long as Roger Franklin is at the helm. Quadrant is a really valuable outlet for the conservative libertarians and a worthy companion in this respect to the Cat

  10. Dr Faustus

    Poor campaigning maybe, but the more plausible answer is that people voted for those who would provide them more of what they want. One part of this is the amplified government spending and regulatory gifting which has increasingly undermined fiscal policy over the past century. People’s wants, as economists often proclaim, are insatiable, and those wants being met without having to earn them are especially valuable.

    Poor campaigning, certainly.

    However, Corbyn departed from the New Labour script and promised an unrestrained 1950’s Labour soak the rich and spend government. A million new public housing units, health fixed, increased pensions, EU-quality welfare, jobs in the newly nationalised railways and power industries, a £250 billion infrastructure spend rebuilding communities “neglected for years by government
    – and, of course, ultra-fast broadband everywhere by 2022.

    All fully-funded by tax increase on big business and ‘the rich’ (them earning over £80,000 a year).

    It paid off nationwide and not just in the traditional industrial heartlands.

    People want free stuff and don’t give a toss about fiscal policy. Understandably: when politicians don’t understand the consequences, why should an unemployed mobility scooter detailer in Wigan?

  11. Boambee John

    jupes at 1607

    Check out the Paul Monk article at Quadrant on line about Soviet infiltration of ASIO during the Cold War.

    What odds that ASIO (and Immigration) have not been infiltrated by Muslims?

  12. Dorothy

    Boris Johnson is a bumbling lazy fool. He ran an appalling Brexit leave campaign, with no plan as to how to leave, and he still has no plan and worse still is completely ignorant as to how the EU works

  13. Senile Old Guy

    People want free stuff and don’t give a toss about fiscal policy.

    Sigh. In the UK, and the last Australian election, there was no real choice. But Abbott won a landslide with “it is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Perhaps that. would not work now but we won’t know until a major party tries it.

    The problem is the politicians.

  14. Squirrel

    British Labour cleverly targeted younger votes and told them what they wanted to hear (particularly re tertiary education and minimum wage) and were rewarded with a very strong turnout and much increased share of the vote. We can expect the relevant bits to be re-run here in the next federal election, with the alternative to be more waffle about agility and “mum and dad investors”.

  15. It paid off nationwide and not just in the traditional industrial heartlands.

    People want free stuff and don’t give a toss about fiscal policy. Understandably: when politicians don’t understand the consequences, why should an unemployed mobility scooter detailer in Wigan?

    What will take to kill this zombie meme? If there was a shred of truth in it, Labour would have increased their percentage of the vote. Instead, they lost it, and in an election with a healthy turnout, by UK standards.

    One need look no further than May’s stated intent to basically seize people’s major asset on their death – their house. The only surprise in the result was that she and the Tories survived at all.

  16. Senile Old Guy

    And I know he got rattled towards the end and signed on to big ALP policies making it virtually impossible to reign in spending. But if people just wanted free stuff they could have voted for the ALP.

  17. Paul

    What happened to the ALA post?

  18. cui bono

    May planned on raising the lower thresholds for income tax. In other words, growing the number of voters who believe in free stuff that others will pay for.
    May planned on caning those who had bothered to save for their own homes. In other words, betraying the older, wiser members of the community.
    Might as well vote Labour then.

  19. Y

    Duncan Lewis is a good example.

    Collaborator.

    That’s mostly a joke. I fear in not too long a time it won’t be.

  20. What happened to the ALA post?

    Poof!!!

    “Page not found”

  21. Tailgunner

    Collaborator.

    That’s mostly a joke.

    You’re halfway to enlightenment.
    Good post,Y.
    #collaborator has legs. Use it.

  22. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    What happened to the ALA post?

    Got legalled.

  23. Tailgunner

    Oh and Go Mother Theresa!
    May she be coronated, bookies pay, Game of Thrones power play….
    Prophecy confirmed! Spooky.

  24. pbw

    I think Squirrel has it right. IIUC there was a much increased youth vote, and they were probably fired up by Corbyn’s impossible dreams, as many young US voters were fired up by Sanders’.

    The encouraging thing is that they didn’t come out to vote Remain.

  25. Snoopy

    What happened to the ALA post?

    Got legalled.

    Sinc should give the Cat away and take up armed robbery. Risk free in Victoria apparently.

  26. H B Bear

    But Abbott won a landslide with “it is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”

    Abbott could have gone to the election saying he was going to take everyone’s first born child and still won. That election was simply about blowing R-G-R and the ALP into oblivion.

  27. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    Back to the polls? Turnbull may call early election

    Headline at Fairfax!

    IS this bloke on drugs?

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull may be forced to call an election after just two years of the Coalition’s current three-year term, political hardheads believe.

    Senior figures in the Liberal and Labor parties confirmed to Fairfax Media on Monday they are working to be “campaign ready” by June or July of next year, with an August or September election firming as the most likely window for the next national poll.

  28. Tel

    Yet it was not so long ago that this seemed a stroke of Machiavellian genius: she faced a Labour Party in open revolt against a leader whose crypto-communism and consorting with terrorists would surely doom his party to a crushing defeat and a decade in the wilderness.

    I think that May might have (possibly unwillingly) elevated herself up to the 5D chessboard.

    She has give British Labour the most wicked of all gifts: the idea that Jeremy Corbyn could possibly win some future election. As long as Labour hang onto that idea the Conservatives are basically invulnerable, even if they might need to cooperate with a minor party here and there (the DUP seem like the right people for the hour if you ask me, their attitude on Climate Change and Brexit seems about right, and they won’t go soft and wobbly on terrorism).

  29. Senile Old Guy

    Abbott could have gone to the election saying he was going to take everyone’s first born child and still won. That election was simply about blowing R-G-R and the ALP into oblivion.

    I won’t argue with this.

  30. thefrolickingmole

    Infidel Tiger

    The perfumed stick insect just patted him on the back and told him he had her full support and loyalty till the bitter end.

    So hes going to rush to the polls to stave off his own knifing.

  31. Dr Faustus

    What will take to kill this zombie meme? If there was a shred of truth in it, Labour would have increased their percentage of the vote.

    Surely some mistake.

    Labour increased its share of the vote by 9.5% (compared to 2015) and picked up 30 seats.
    In the UK, with its malapportionment, this was a big performance.

    One need look no further than May’s stated intent to basically seize people’s major asset on their death – their house. The only surprise in the result was that she and the Tories survived at all.

    The Conservatives increased their share of the vote by 5.5% and lost 13 seats.
    She didn’t offer enough stuff.

  32. DR Fred Lenin

    Corbyn was advancing backwards into the narxist past ,sort of scargill the KGB employee who was screwed by the much smarter Maggie Thatcher, she and Ronald Reagan knocked the comrsdes comrades out of the Kremlin only to reappear years later in the untidy nayshuns where they are having another go at world domination ,using or being used by their murdering islamofascist allies .

  33. cohenite

    Snoopy

    #2410361, posted on June 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    What happened to the ALA post?

    Got legalled.

    What was it about?

  34. Marcus

    Headline at Fairfax!

    IS this bloke on drugs?

    Awesome. I’d win the “How long will Malcolm Turnbull last as PM” pool.

  35. Marcus

    @ cohenite

    It was some unfounded, highly defamatory rubbish about how the current WA Liberal leader colluded with the police to harass an ALA election candidate when he was state Treasurer. The basis of this smear was an e-mail nobody saw from a “whistle-blower” who wasn’t named.

    Basically, everybody here let their reason go the way of Theresa May’s prime ministership as soon as they got a nice, juicy conspiracy theory to sink their teeth into. All it was missing was Russian hacking.

  36. Labour increased its share of the vote by 9.5% (compared to 2015) and picked up 30 seats.

    You are correct, Dr Faustus, my apologies.
    Nonetheless your assertion that “people just vote for free stuff” has been disproven many times.

  37. Adrian

    Marcus and Cohenite

    As a member of the ALA in WA and a friend of Debbie Robinson I can verify that the story http://catallaxyfiles.com/2017/06/12/mike-nahan-vs-australian-liberty-alliance/ is in fact in the main correct. Debbie did in fact receive many visits from the police at the behest of members of the WA government after concerns raised by the Islamic community. Just which government Minister I am not sure I have asked Debbie if she would like to comment on the now withdrawn article as she is rather busy this could be a little bit of a wait unfortunately.

  38. Armadillo

    There’s Free Cheese in Every Mousetrap

    The early bird gets the worm. The second rat gets the cheese.

  39. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Yet it was not so long ago that this seemed a stroke of Machiavellian genius: she faced a Labour Party in open revolt against a leader whose crypto-communism and consorting with terrorists would surely doom his party to a crushing defeat and a decade in the wilderness.

    FIFY

  40. Tel

    Labour increased its share of the vote by 9.5% (compared to 2015) and picked up 30 seats.

    And they still lost.

  41. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    An old link
    Perth surgeon Anthony Robinson a director of new political party Australian Liberty Alliance


    The ALA requires at least 500 members before it is registered as a political party by the Australian Electoral Commission.

    Imam Burhaan Mehtar, vice-president of Jamiatul Ulama WA, this week offered to meet the party’s founders in an attempt to dispel their fears.

    Slim Youseff, Perth-based founder of the Australian Arab Association, added: “We’ve got extremes at both sides and that’s what we need to speak out against, no matter whether Muslim or non-Muslim.”

    ——————
    The whitewashing yourself by diving towards the center tactic. Leftoids like monty seems to revel in this attempt to make ones self squeaky clean and avoid being tarred by the “extremes‘.

  42. Dr Faustus

    You are correct, Dr Faustus, my apologies.

    Not necessary.

    The intention of my original point was mainly a comment on “One part of this is the amplified government spending and regulatory gifting which has increasingly undermined fiscal policy over the past century.”

    Accusing 40% of the UK voting population of accepting bribes might be mild overreach – but I would stand behind the statement above.

  43. Oh come on

    Boris Johnson is no Trump. Trump is a genuine political outsider. Johnson is a born-to-rule type who just so happens to share several of the quaint, foppish, charmingly English mannerisms of that character Hugh Grant *always* plays in every Hugh Grant movie ever. Except this isn’t Hollywood. Johnson is a lightweight. The UK can do better – far better. Hell, the Tories can do far better. And no, not that Scottish lesbian.

    David bloody Davis. Hello?

  44. cohenite

    Oh ok, the story was about an assertion the ALA were harassed by the police at the behest of the WA libs at the behest of the muslims and there was no evidence to support the assertion.

    Should be easy to clear up.

  45. ev425128

    May’s aged-care co-funding thought bubble could have been developed into decent, legislation given a few obvious political steps:
    – discuss and develop the policy and announcement with your cabinet.
    – explain the policy (before announcement) to all your MPs and candidates so everyone is across it.
    – announce it to the public with full explanation.
    – present the bill to Parliament and have it passed into legislation.
    – don’t, for any reason, make this announcement during an election campaign.

    She had the numbers to get it into statute before calling the election. The fact that she didn’t goes a long way towards explaining why she lost her majority along with the mandate for the policy.

    First the idea didn’t occur or gain importance to her until after calling the election. Then, for whatever reason, she developed and announced the policy without any involvement of cabinet. Policy on-the-fly without including her parliamentary colleagues during an election campaign. Tory MPs couldn’t answer questions, the voter base was pissed off and uninformed and the media and Labour were given a BFG which they used with effect.

    The move has Textor written all over it*. He and Crosby were the “advisors”. Their advice shaped the policy, its announcement and the timing. Textor has history when it comes to bad advice in electoral campaigns. “… they don’t matter …” for example. Policy on-the-fly without cabinet is Rudd/Gillard/Abbott/Turnbull – level political incompetence. During an election campaign takes it to a totally new level. How can such a vote-losing exercise be executed during an election campaign except deliberately?

    Successfully executed. LNP Aus reduced from a massive HoR majority to one (thanks only to a Nat gain). Conservatives reduced from a massive majority to minority coalition government. Common thread is Mark Textor and the manner of the (lack of) campaign.

    * I give Lynton Crosby a pass for the stunning majority his campaign created that the current Textor-assisted election destroyed.

  46. Oh come on

    With the knowledge that it’s easy to comment on such matters in hindsight, May was far too ambitious in what should have been a bog standard, play-it-safe election campaign. It should have been about gelding Corbyn, not setting up May’s domestic political platform. No new policies. Nothing remotely controversial. May shiuldbha

  47. Oh come on

    should have debated Corbyn anywhere and everywhere. This election should have revolved around Corbyn’s sheer unelectability. It should have been about showcasing his nutty manifesto. May owns this result and she should resign or be pushed.

  48. danger mouse

    Relax everyone. Sure, campaign could have been better. But Conservatives are in power for five more years. And Labour moderates will not even be able to remove Corbyn now.

  49. ev425128

    Agreed, OCO.

    The example I gave just illustrated how politically dumb May is. That level of political intelligence extended across the entire campaign and mirrors MT’s (Malcolm Turnbull, Mark Textor) 2016 campaign step for step – except the ridiculous policy announcement I described. He’s taken it to a new level.

    She refused to engage with the enemy or the media. She did little to inform the voters of anything. She assumed that the opposition was unelectable so she did nothing except announce a vote-losing policy, assuming it wouldn’t lose too many votes. The result is that she effectively lost the unlosable election. To an unelectable communist. Lucky for the UK that “first past the post” only applies to elections, not parliament.

    On the plus side (which I haven’t read anywhere yet) the semi-wet tories are now bound into a coalition with the staunchly pro-Brexit DUP. Let’s hope Brexit is a condition to confidence and supply.

  50. Robber Baron

    Slim Youseff, Perth-based founder of the Australian Arab Association

    I thought this was a diet drink.

  51. ev425128

    Mr Mouse, we’re now relying on the DUP stopping the tories moving further left in an effort to gain votes. Given the Aus experience (TA to MT on the basis of NewsPoll) five years is no guarantee.

  52. Boambee John

    mv

    “and in an election with a healthy turnout, by UK standards.

    One need look no further than May’s stated intent to basically seize people’s major asset on their death – their house. The only surprise in the result was that she and the Tories survived at all.”

    When the requirement for a big deposit for entry to a nursing home was introduced here it caused a lot of angst, particularly among richer lefties who wanted to keep their own assets or inherit their parents’ assets.

    I recall Philip Adams, and I think Mike Carlton being quite agitated on the subject. Both had aged parents at the time.

  53. Fulcrum

    Democracy can eat itself, if it ignores the majority and allows subveesive minorities to run the show.

  54. IDefender of the faith

    If the UK gets Boris they will have a Trump like leader. But not because both believe in limiting the reach of government. Rather that both believe wholly in themselves and self interest. Both could be socialists if it suited them. This is the plague of contemporary politics.

  55. RobK

    Tel,
    ” She has give British Labour the most wicked of all gifts: the idea that Jeremy Corbyn could possibly win some future election. “
    I like that. It’s a long bow to draw. Turnbull did the same but on a shorter lease, and I fear Shorten could (will) win the next election.

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