Saturday, 16 May 2020

A slower politics

It is natural for someone who is looking for political change to want to see it as quickly as possible. When the UK Government announced the electrification of the South Wales Mainline it would have been nice if it could have happened overnight. Of course, it takes years to implement such policies. However, there is an aspect of our current politics in which to be fast can cause damage to the debate.

It is very easy to slip into a grumble about social media political commentary and how it often takes the form of malicious provocation. I'll try to resist. However, it is the polarisation of politics on social media which has led me to the point of re-starting a blog. Blogs supposedly succumbed to social media around 2010, yet their demise was not quite so clear cut. For me, the appeal of blogging did ebb, but our recent style of politics is not something into which I fit with ease. Posing a question or seeking to observe an interesting dynamic seems unsuited to social media when the responses come in the form of either staunch agreement, firm rebuttal or not infrequently mockery or insult. I have noticed the haste with which the more argumentative respondents jump to presume as to what my thoughts are on a matter. One of the most frustrating features of such rancour-by-tweet is that it is often written by people far cleverer than me, but they make the conscious decision to trigger argument rather than to consider solutions or open debate. It is a grim way to discuss politics. The pace of social media is unrelenting for many political observers. Good points tweeted fall by the wayside amidst a landslide of 280 character tribal attack posts.

Of course, such partisan use of social media is nothing new. The phenomenon of echo chambers was long ago established. It has though been turbo-charged by Brexit and apparently recently by differing views over the Covid-19 lockdown. One peculiarity has been to see some of those on the right of politics in Wales who delighted in mocking the more eccentric 'Remainers' who responded to an election result they did not like with the response "Not my PM", essentially responding in the same manner to the Welsh First Minister. When purchasing a vehicle to travel the highways of political Twitter, consistency is an optional extra.

I make no promises as to how regular this blog will be updated, but when it is, I hope it might make a contribution to a slower form of politics. The blog begins.