Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Sunday 8 February 2015

Fraser Nelson’s Faith In Incantation

Observing the events of October 1929, when The Great Crash came to Wall Street, J K Galbraith noted “In Wall Street, as elsewhere, there is deep faith in the power of incantation….Preventive incantation required that as many important people as possible repeat as firmly as they could that it [the Crash] couldn’t happen….For effective incantation knowledge is neither necessary nor assumed” [My emphases].
Fraser Nelson ... belief

And there is little knowledge being deployed by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson as he tells readersThe unravelling of the left continues as RMT president joins the Greens”. This is an attack primarily on Mil The Younger, and the incantation is deployed to laughably obvious effect. “Socialism fever is spreading” he begins, and here Galbraith would have recognised the incantation of the Conventional Wisdom, with little in the way of facts.

Then Nelson contradicts himself: “the Greens’ recruitment of a top trade union official is significant. Peter Pinkney, president of the RMT union, says he’s joining the Greens because they are more left-wing than Labour” is followed by “The RMT and Labour fell out a decade ago, when it was disaffiliated for supporting the Scottish Socialist Party. So its president joining the Greens is no great shock”. Incantation need not be consistent.
The reality for so many Tory supporters

The incantation continues: “so many Labour voters have … defected. And voters who Labour might otherwise move to Labour: last month I spoke to kids at a school in Croydon and asked how they would be voting. The Greens were easily the most popular party”. He spoke to children who do not have the vote, and this proved what exactly? This piece may be badly misguided, but it shows the mindset of right-leaning pundits.

Take this assertion: “Ed Miliband has taken his party back to the 1970s and lost voters on the centre as a result”. Incantation. Repeating over and over again those statements of blind faith. It goes on: “But he is now losing voters on the left, by dint of his sheer uselessness”. Incantation again. The right has persuaded itself that Miliband is useless and a socialist throwback: therefore it must be true.
That Labour poll disaster in full, or maybe not

Still Nelson believes: “He’s not losing the voters to the Greens for policy reasons: he is the greenest leader Labour has ever had. But he’s also one of the worst leaders, hence the voter defections”. Incantation once again, not just the assumption of inadequacy - this is the party leader who called the hacking scandal correctly, unlike Young Dave, who took Andy Coulson into Downing Street - but of a Green surge that’s hardly happening.

Look at today’s Observer poll, with trends over time clearly marked. Then let everyone know how a Labour Party that is leading that poll - and has consistently led that poll - is “losing votes”. Fraser Nelson is another who knows that the real reason for the incantation is that the barrage of negative press has failed. He and his pals cannot see a way for the Tories to win in May. All they have left is their faith in incantation.

Nelson’s problem is that he is reassuring only himself. And those already persuaded.

No comments: