My only problem with Janan Ganesh’s piece in the FT today (and the Irish Times) is that’s not possible to quote all of it. I recommend reading it in conjunction with Martyn Turner’s Politics of Fear cartoon as the Irish commentariat works itself up about a whole lot of things that are unlikely to happen.
He starts with an invitation to look back a year to look at the news stories from February 23rd, 2015, to see just how utterly beside the point most political commentary turns into after the passage of even a short time.
He notes too that the political classes themselves have learned little in the passage of that last year…
Breathless hyper-scrutiny of fiddly events could have given way to a discriminating regard for fundamentals. Opinion polls could have returned to their proper place as contextual information, not the story itself.
Instead, we still react to transient events like over-caffeinated children.
The politico’s error is to see voters as particles that are acted upon by political forces – as the subjects, not the agents of politics. If people are Eurosceptic, it is because politicians have not “made the case”.
If people are nervous about Brexit, it must be the lack of a dazzling frontperson for the cause. The sour focus on economic risk by the campaign against Scottish independence 18 months ago – just a tactic, and a successful one – is now blamed for a development as large as the Scottish National Party’s near-monopoly in that nation.
If you believe voters are blank subjects, you judge the electability of a proposition – in this case, Brexit – by looking at the people promoting it, their campaign tactics, the slant of the media coverage, contingent events, the wind-chill factor on polling day.
Everything but the proposition itself. [Emphasis added]
Do read all of it…