Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Brexit, Syria and The Political Opportunity Donut

There are many ways to draw the political spectrum, but most of the time we talk about "Left" and "Right" as an endless series of tiny but increasing differences stretching in both directions - a political continuum. 

And most of the time that works - especially for "Yes"/"No" issues - since voters' views will be similarly grouped. There's not much pressure on the tiny differences or cracks among the political views on each 'side'.

Then something very complex and uncertain comes along - like Brexit or the latest chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government on 'rebels' as well as its own citizens that highlights all the problems in the Middle East in one hit. 

Suddenly those on the "Far Left", like Jeremy Corbyn, find themselves sitting cheek by jowl with those on the "Far Right", like Jacob Rees-Mogg or Nick Griffin

The longer these situations last, the greater the pressure on the usually tiny cracks between politicians and voters on each side. 

And as the pressure increases, those tiny cracks widen to the point that politicians begin to worry about which way they might need to leap for their political survival...

Hardliners toughen their stance, looking for ever more extreme views to hold. This rams home to the more moderate politicians just how far from the centre they've drifted, and causes them to look for ways to move back that way.  So, for example, you have growing numbers of Brexit 'rebels' in both the Labour and Tory parties, with the Liberal Democrats offering to scuttle Brexit altogether...

Here's what a former master of centrist politics, Tony Blair, said today:
"If you leave that vast, uncultivated centre ground,
someone is going to come along and cultivate it."
In other words, don't ignore the other side of the donut.

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