Politics IS about division and decisions. Everything else is just spin.
The House of Commons is divided in two — the government on one side and the opposition parties on the other. Votes are called by the ringing of the Division Bell. Labour is (meant to be) Red, while the Tories are blue. If there is no division, there is no difference and without difference, you are left with the illusion of choice.
I think that is where we are right now, with Sir Keir Starmer pushing the Labour Party back to the managerialism of the Blair years and Boris Johnson acting as Chairman of the Board over a corporatist, corrupt, and incompetent Conservative government. All that stuff about being a ‘people’s government’ is spin from the lying mouth of Dominic Cummings.
Now, the soft-sop centrist will have been put off by me talking about Dominic Cummings’ lying mouth in that previous paragraph as it is imperative in their touch rugby vision of politics that you always play the ball and never the player. But the problem there is the right specialises in two-footed tackles and doesn’t care how many legs it breaks.
The push for a ‘polite’ politics rarely comes with a demand for fairer voting systems or a sea change in how politics works on a practical level. Instead, it comes from well-renumerated, well-networked, well-supported voices who simply want a quiet life again. They want to have brunch quietly and not have to ‘worry’ about politics too much.
That’s the main issue they have with Donald Trump really. It’s not that he has separated families from their children or supported white supremacists, but that he did so in a way that wasn’t suitably polite. That’s why we’re now told that George W. Bush was some paragon of civility, even as he reduced freedom of speech and action in the United States and beyond while undertaking a campaign of torture and prosecuting illegal wars.
Tory peer and Times columnist, Lord Finkelstein, asked me this:
My one-word answer to the ‘who says politics is about division?’ is Marx. My four-word answer to “Is there a committee on the definition of politics?” It’s called The Establishment, and most of them are in Lord Finkelstein’s email address book.
The prosecution does not rest.