One feature of this election is how denunciations are replacing debate. Rather than say that your opponent is wrong and showing why his views are wrong by argument and (where relevant) evidence people – ordinary people, as well as politicians and the press, simply denounce the other person.
This is just one example: a Conservative Party candidate said that people who use food banks may be having problems with budgeting. The Candidate went on to say that perhaps such people should be offered advice to help them especially because people in these circumstances tend to get a payday loan (a short-term loan with high interest) and that is a bad idea. Firstly; this is factually accurate. This author spent a year or two on state benefits and can certainly recognise the reality that he often ran into money problems because he had spent his state benefits on (in his case) marijuana – though it could be anything. People on benefits are not saints any more than anyone else and this kind of thing happens. Secondly; the Candidate’s ideas about advice and trying to prevent payday loan advertising show that he has at least some concern for people in this kind of situation.
In the video we see another candidate dramatically put her head in hands and we hear groans from the audience. The comments section in the Independent at the time of writing was full of denunciations of this man.
This pattern is being repeated again and again in this election. The meaning of the remarks is misrepresented and the speaker denounced as an evil person. But – no one engages with the remarks at the level of rational debate. (Which, ironically, it would in every case be quite easy to do including in this case).
Behind this shift lies the new unitary worldview which permits no disagreement. This new way of thinking simply cannot tolerate that there are a range of views. It is a totalitarian cultural space. If people have views outside the permitted range (mono track) then they are denounced and exiled from future communication.
We are already in a totalitarian state. One which (quite cleverly – but then power always likes to disguise itself) has smuggled itself into power by masquerading as sensitivity.