Top 3 nonsensical frames of the Corbyn debate
Aug 14, 2015 – As if we need more comment about the Labour leadership. The following views haven’t been expressed anywhere else, however (at least not with this emphasis on framing) – so, for what it’s worth…
1. “Only a Labour party of ‘the centre’ will have popular support”
The political “centre” is a myth – it presumes a midpoint on a metaphorical linear scale between right and left. There’s no midpoint between conservative and progressive frames. What “centre” really means in practice is that you’ve adopted conservative frames/policies on around 50% of the issues – probably because of the view that this will gain votes. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you reinforce those conservative frames by adopting them, it’s not surprising that they become regarded as “normal” or “common sense” over time.
2. “Corbyn is a ‘throwback’ to some previous dark age”
Political “common sense” – a perception of what’s “normal” or “popular” – contains, in 2015, more conservative frames, and fewer progressive frames, than in, say, 1970. Reintroducing progressive framing into political debate will be difficult, but it seems crucial in order to avoid increasing domination of “public” political debate by conservative framing.
3. “Labour faces ‘annihilation’ if Corbyn becomes leader”
The next UK general election is not until 2020. A lot can happen before then. With a “centrist” Labour party which adopts conservative framing on more and more issues – in the belief that it must do so to stay “centre” and popular – progressive framing will atrophy further, conservative views will seem more like the “popular norm”, “common sense”, etc. How to combat this tendency? By introducing progressive framing as a matter of urgency. What, exactly, is at risk of annihilation? The Labour party as an institution, or the progressive ideals/frames that it originally stood for?