On the 2019 UK Election Results

Posted on December 14, 2019 by Richard Goulter

I found these two comments interesting: 1. Twitter Thread https://twitter.com/LukePagarani/status/1205487970897342464?s=20 What I get from this is: The perspective is a leftist voter discussing that people he met didn’t value the same things that Labour/Corbyn did. Such voters valued their national identity, and so really didn’t like Corbyn. 2. Quillette post https://quillette.com/2019/12/13/britains-labour-party-got-woke-and-now-its-broke/

I find it interesting that these two comments more/less agree on many things. – I think they look at “people don’t like Corbyn because they love their country” differently, but that makes how much narrative they share that much more interesting to me.
(Bonus: compare the above Tweeter’s RT of this with the quotes from the article: https://twitter.com/SoysalOzlu/status/1205526147288707074?s=20)

I think the two comments also highlight the way the different moral foundations (of Moral Foundation Theory) are emphasised. “Britain should take care of British people first/foremost” vs “all people are equal” rings true for loyalty and fairness moral foundations respectively.

I remember seeing a comment I saw discussing that the Brexit vote is best justified in terms of a question of identity. (If it were about immigration or economics or whatever, then there would be other more effective measures to reach these ends).

It reminds me of Stephen Fry at the Munk Debates (at around 4:30) saying that he’s concerned “the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right, than to be effective”. – I don’t interpret this to mean that he’d prefer to be effective at what’s not-right. I interpret this as saying that it’s wrong to focus on symbolic value over more effective results.

Meaningness’ Court of Values and Bureau of Boringness is a fun play on the problem this can present. The problem is, much of politics today is performance towards showing the right virtues; this distracts or counteracts ‘boring’ solutions to problems. – One (dumb, but fun) suggestion is to allow people one vote towards either a ‘boring’ serious court, or towards a mostly-powerless court which decides what values people should be rewarded/punished for showing.

I see concerns on Twitter about how awful the implications of this result are. (My impression is that these come from the same group as “it’s racist to vote for the options I don’t like”, which isn’t persuasive). I’m also under the impression that these worries still wouldn’t be enough to sway voters! As in, the symbolic value of “our national identity” apparently matters a lot!
– I think the flipside is the same point, though. My understanding is Labour’s absymal result in these elections is the best they could do in the situation. But: if it is the case that the winners won the vote because of a symbolic policy: surely it would be reasonable to appeal to the voters’ symbolic values to support your cause?

It’s probably a bit too much of a simplification, but it’s still tempting to match “voted for Brexit, despite probable material harm” and “won’t say ‘my country is great’, despite likely losing for that” as matching “would rather be right than effective”.

Newer post Older post