THREAD: The big picture.

This has been a dark year, at the end of the darkest four years many of us have ever known in Western politics.

It's not just been about right wingers enriching themselves and impoverishing everyone else - it's been the triumph of lies over reason.
Fake news. Dark money and even darker data use. Fears exploited; science and evidence ignored.

"Where?", we wondered, "is all this leading?" For huge chunks of that time, the answer has looked like: "Fascism. The end of democracy. The return of the nightmare years".
The post-mid-1990s liberal left had a lot to answer for that. Because when you abandon millions and millions of people - when you cosy up to big business and except neoliberalism with all its excesses - where do you expect them to go? What do you expect them to do?
In very many cases, the answer was to vote for Brexit and vote for Trump. Some of that was because of fear; but it was also because of their own lived experiences. Left on the scrapheap without a degree; condemned to awful working conditions, insecure and pathetically paid jobs.
And with no investment into their communities, seeing it become harder and harder to:

- Find a good school for their child
- Get an appointment with a GP
- Find a decent quality home

And in the worst cases, harder and harder to escape from horrifically run down areas too.
With absolutely no intention of helping them, but seeing a cheap political opportunity, the right, not the left, reached out to them. And told them it was all immigrants' fault. All the EU's fault. All Muslims' fault. All the liberal London or Washington elite's fault.
And hey - it wasn't like the liberal left was offering them anything other than more of the same, was it? So off they went - in their droves - to cause two enormous political earthquakes which reverberated around the world, and the consequences of which are still with us now.
Lived experience. LIVED EXPERIENCE.

It's no good telling people "immigrants bring in much more than they take out - here, see these statistics" when they're actually experiencing ever-greater pressure on jobs and services. You just sound more out of touch than ever.
Following these two earthquakes, though, one of two things could happen. And it could only ever have been one of these two things - because the right had no actual desire to help them, and had convinced them based on lies.
1. The West would descend towards and finally into fascism. Our version of the 1930s, with who knows what outcome.

2. Lived experience - that term again - would ultimately start to shift positions away from the hard right and populism. And here's the thing. It's happening.
Because there's really only so much 'owning the libs' you can do when there's a deadly pandemic killing your parents and grandparents. A deadly pandemic made worse, much worse, by recklessly incompetent leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Suddenly, 'political correctness' is no longer the problem when there's death and devastation all around you; and when what you took for granted for so long - working in offices, your kids safe at school, going out with friends - is all in huge question.
And all that guff about 'living within our means' and 'balancing the books' you swallowed for a decade is just complete hot air when you're suddenly dependent on the government to keep you in work; when you've experienced how derisory universal credit is too.
In the US, that 'successful businessman' who told you he'd 'drain the swamp' and was on your side has spent his entire time lying, embarrassing your country and now, is openly endangering all of you.

He even wants to end democracy itself.
Alternatively, maybe your lived experience was of voting third party in 2016... or not voting at all. Because Clinton and Trump were 'just the same' - right? And the Democrats had taken your vote for granted for far too long - so you gave them a bloody nose.
The sun would still rise and still set. All these Project Fear doom mongerers obsessing about Trump... I mean, seriously. What's the worst that could happen?

Oh. THIS is what they meant. They were right - and if you don't act now, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Joe Biden though? Joe Biden?! Mr Boring? Mr Middle of the Road? Mr Vice President in the administration you ended up so disillusioned by? How's he gonna change anything or energise anyone?

Except... it's happening. He's doing so. And change is coming.
Having seen what right wing populism actually MEANS - not just in words, but in deeds, in consequences, in people dying in their hundreds of thousands - Americans are rushing to save their country, protect their loved ones and communities, and vote these bastards out.
And that's despite the Democratic ticket being led by a centrist. Despite centrists having offered so little for so long.

But you know what? It's also BECAUSE it's being led by a centrist. Very much so, in fact,
If you think Bernie Sanders would've been as effective in drawing independents, white working class voters and lifelong Republicans into the quite massive voting coalition needed to destroy Trump, you're simply wrong. He couldn't have done that.
And on the evidence of the primaries, remarkably, despite everything he has to offer, he couldn't have energised anything like such a large voting coalition either. His appeal was always just too narrow: especially for an electoral college which wildly over-represents the right.
The question for anyone left of centre and who cares about the world and all those who live in it has always been this:

- How, when we want to help the most vulnerable, can we convince those who aren't remotely among them to vote for us?
- How do we build a broad election-winning coalition with policies which middle class people may view as against their short term economic interests?

- How do we persuade people that voting to help others is actually going to help them too?
Biden? He's doing that. That's what his Gettysburg speech was all about. It was about a higher calling; a bigger picture; something much, much larger than people's pocketbooks. It was about leadership, unity and togetherness.
If he's elected, is he going to radically transform the US? No. But he will put it back on a stable, steady path: in which press conferences won't be filled with nonsense, in which the government won't constantly act against the people and in the personal interests of the leader.
In which, shock horror, America's leaders would actually CARE about Americans - and the rest of the world - again.

And you see, that's a start. Quite a big start given all that's gone on these past 4 years. From little acorns grow big trees. It just takes time.
Lived experience is what's drawing Trump voters and Stein voters and non-voters from 2016 into Biden's big tent.

Trump said he was going to make things better... and he's made them worse. Far worse. Worse than anyone can ever remember.
Now, let's turn to Britain. Where Brexit was immediately followed by the news that neither the government nor Vote Leave even had a plan - and whose politics were thereby paralysed for getting on towards 4 years.

4 years of lies. Of nonsense. Of unicorns. Of isolation.
4 years of, just like Trump's US, alienating our friends and partners all over the world.

But still - the sky didn't fall in. For most people, life continued mostly as before. And it wasn't like Labour centrists had any answer whatsoever.
Change UK? What an absolute joke. People's Vote? What - because the wrong people had voted last time, so now the right people would vote this time?

When would these people ever look at the root causes of WHY this had all happened? When would they listen? When would they learn?
But then came a shattering blow last December. Labour, despite offering its most socialist manifesto since 1983, suffered its worst defeat in seat numbers in 84 years - and the Tories now had carte blanche to do whatever the heck they wanted.
"Good old Boris! He's got Brexit done!"

Except, of course, he *hasn't* got Brexit done. He's getting No Deal done instead. That is to say: he's pushing the UK off a cliff, and we'll be the strawberry jam at the bottom afterwards.
"Good old Boris! Such a laugh, unlike that boring old Corbyn!"

Except that suddenly, with death and devastation everywhere and a so-called 'government' confusing everyone all the time, it's not funny any more. At all.
A government which ignores the rules for its own people, but enforces them on everyone else.

A government whose track and trace system is a certifiable national disgrace, but who are no doubt laughing all the way to their donors regardless.
A government terrified of making the tough decisions, which wheels out various mediocrities, non-entities and never-weres to defend the indefensible... while people die. In their tens of thousands.
That the government has survived thus far is only through it bailing out the people. But it can't do that forever. Nemesis is lurking.

The consequences of Covid will be with us for many years - above all, the economic ones. Which will be overwhelming in nature.
Eventually, Rishi Sunak's going to have to choose: between Austerity v2.0 and purest Keynesianism. The national debt says he can't choose option two. The public good says he can't choose option one.
And you see: if he so much as tries option one, austerity - amid No Deal Brexit, for Christ's sake! - is going to cause mass civil unrest. There's no way it's sustainable. You can't systematically wreck an economy for 15 years and get voted back in.
And you especially can't do it when, just like in the US, the opposition is led by someone who's trusted by most, and who is reaching out to those who voted for right wing populism in the first place.

Starmer's plan is to build a big tent too.
Trump's wholly unable to persuade anything like enough people that they're voting for "the radical socialist left" when Biden's the man leading it.

Neither Johnson nor Sunak are gonna be able to persuade Britons that Starmer = Venezuela either. They'll just look ridiculous.
Meanwhile, what's the lived experience of those who've suffered most under the Tories? The disabled, the long term ill (of whom there are plenty more now thanks to Covid), the unemployed (ditto), the homeless, nurses (put in the firing line - but no pay rise), teachers, etc etc?
Their lived experience is of an ever-worsening nightmare. Sure, many of them will wish Labour is more left wing - but if you think that's gonna stop them voting with fury, with rage, with fervour, against the Tories, you have another think coming.
Both the Democrats and Labour led by apparent centrists whose ideas were supposed to be all washed up with nowhere to go.

But they're not. Their ideas, their approaches, are what can lead both countries back to sanity. To reason. To civilisation quite frankly.
Yesterday, Greta Thunberg endorsed Joe Biden. That was a huge moment. You know why?

Because it wasn't so long ago that someone like her would've complained bitterly that Biden's platform doesn't go far enough and encouraged voters to protest.

That's what Stein did in '16.
That's what Russell "don't vote, they're all the same" Brand did from his mansion in 2015. That's what Susan Sarandon did in 2016.

It's actually what far, far too many have done for far too long: openly enabling the right to divide and rule, with lethal consequences.
And yes: systems in which the smart thing to do is vote not for who you most want, but against who you least want, are depressing. They are horrendously flawed. They're not sustainable in the long term, and they need to be changed.

But that can't happen unless you win first.
And the kind of huge, transformative changes which our societies desperately need can't happen in any way at all unless... we win first.

I do believe those changes will come, by the way. Demographics will see to that. Today's young people are brilliant, perceptive, visionary.
But after the experience of Trump, and the likely experience of No Deal Brexit plus added austerity, I also believe that today's young people - tomorrow's voters - are going to be way more sophisticated in how they vote.

Something better is MUCH MUCH better than nothing.
Something better is MUCH MUCH MUCH better than something worse.

Something better is MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better than something far worse.
Voting isn't like looking for the right person; for 'the one'. It's just taking a bus from A to B, that's all.

But to get to B, you have to vote. The demands for more come later; *after* you've won.
If, in the meantime, all you do is attack not the government doing this to you, but the opposition you're supposed to be a part of... you just help the government continue dividing and ruling.

You might think you're helping the vulnerable - but you're not.
And yes, it is depressing. And frustrating. And exasperating. But winning elections with a leader to the left of where the vast majority of the public are is much, much harder than winning them with someone more or less in the middle of where the public is.

That's just maths.
So why make it *more* difficult for yourselves (and hence, for all those you want to help)?

There's nothing romantic about failing and losing in politics. Politics is not a game. It's about people's actual, real lives.
I have complete and utter contempt for those who did their damndest to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn's chances of becoming Prime Minister.

I have equal complete and utter contempt for those doing their damndest to sabotage Keir Starmer's chances of becoming Prime Minister too.
Because in the end, we ALL lose. Everyone who needs us desperately loses. Including the planet itself given the ever-pressing threat of climate catastrophe.

The USA is setting an example right now. A fantastic example. The hatchet's been buried for a much greater good.
We can do the same. We MUST do the same.

Tory governments destroy lives. Labour governments help people. It's always been so and it will always be so.

And lies? Politics and governance based on hate, on fear, on chaos, on incompetence, on fake news, on complete unreason?
In the end, that always fails too. Because it's nothing compared to people's actual lived experience. In the US, it's been horrific ever since 2016. In the UK, the worst is still to come.

And when the worst hits them, that'll change people's views like nothing else. Sad, I know.
Our job in the meantime, however hard it is I know, is to stop sniping at each other, stop complaining bitterly about this abstention or that abstention when voting against would do nothing whatsoever, and try to remember what the bigger picture is.

Getting The Tories Out.

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More from @shaunjlawson

10 Oct
In Uruguay, which has one of the best records in the world in fighting Coronavirus, the salaries of all public workers - including the President, his ministers, all MPs, but excluding medical workers - earning over 80,000 pesos a month were CUT by between 5% and 20% from March.
In the UK, which has one of the worst records in the world in fighting Coronavirus, MPs are on the verge of receiving not one, but TWO inflation-busting pay rises during the course of the pandemic.

These things are not coincidental. To put it mildly.
Uruguay is a VERY expensive country and 80,000 pesos a month, especially before tax, is not a huge salary at all.

But the example of solidarity was set from the top down. "If we're going to ask you to make sacrifices, so will we".
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Just for a moment, let's ignore the shenanigans which Trump's team has planned for the days after the election. Just for a moment, let's treat all things as essentially equal.

This thread covers why I've expected Biden to win this general election: since March.
1. The United States currently has not just its worst, but its most divisive President since at least the Civil War, and probably in history. At a time of national and global emergency.

What's Biden? A healer. Trump's exact opposite.
The idea that Biden was just "another Hillary" has always been nonsense. First, because Hillary was almost as divisive as Trump. Second, because he appeals to working class voters in the rust belt in a way she just didn't, at all. Third, because he's too plain gentle to be hated.
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NARRATOR: Trump went inside and closed the balcony windows. With the cameras off, he doubled up in pain and felt like he could hardly breathe. Maskless, he ordered his assistants to help him into bed.

But still, his father would be proud. He was STRONG! He could beat this!
If only Melania was there... but she was quarantining elsewhere in the building. And besides, they slept in separate bedrooms. Had done for years. Poor Don.

He turned on the TV. He wanted to yell FAKE NEWS at CNN - but was so weak he could hardly speak.
That 'performance' had taken it all out of him.

Ivanka and Jared were proud of him. Tomorrow, he'd call Don Jr to give him a dressing down. What's this he'd been reading about an 'intervention'? NOBODY would ever intervene with him, the greatest warrior the world had ever known
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A serious point about what's happening in football right now. Football without fans is not and has never been football. It's something else. Something completely ersatz and artificial.

Yes, it can be wildly exciting, crazy, mad. But it's not football. Not in any serious way.
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Watching the Amazon doc on Spurs, one of the things I found most cringeworthy was when the giant scoreboard had a Zoom link to fans, at home, celebrating a Spurs goal. I know, I know: they're fans. What else are they supposed to do?

But I just found it... naff. Incredibly so.
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There's two pretty obvious golden rules which Keir Starmer is following. This thread sets out what those two rules are - and why they're both very important (and no: neither rule are as portrayed by many on here at all).
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Because of the support they've gained among working class voters, and because of the culture wars they're desperate to intensify, the Tories wish to portray the Labour leader as follows:
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- That he wants to divide the country at a time of massive national crisis

- That he's just another woolly London liberal

- That Labour haven't changed under him at all
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