The Rise of the Centrist

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Centrism is indeed a lofty ideal, complicated predominantly by two things.
1. The plethora of attempts to rationalise the current laws, with exacerbating factors. Race, religion and gender being currently popular as inciting various forms of hatred.
2. The lack of anger from the centre, when required to respond to such incited hatred. The extremes on both flanks need to be bought closer together. The lack of anger or response from the centre is indicative of the very positive qualities they hold dear, and help widen the extremes.

Always try to do the right thing, do your very best to be a good, kind person. Do not kill or steal. Treat others as you would have them treat you!

That little collection of ethical conduct was obviously drawn from my Christian childhood over 60 years ago. Today I am a confirmed atheist. It does not lessen my experiences being raised in a council house in a working class, northern mining town.
It informs my experience, just as the full career with the colors has done, and made me a bit of a pacifist.

We are all the sum of our experiences, and the thinking that takes place around momentous events during our lives.


Start by touching the edges of extremism, where they are more vulnerable, or easily persuaded to join the centre.
Do not deny the msm or social media, which feeds the extremes. Encourage them to bring the extremes further into the open, where they can be more easily ridiculed for such preposterous beliefs and behaviours.

Let PR and marketing be your friend, provided they can be ethically sound. :)
Is it a lack of anger from the centre, or is the centre just remarkably difficult to provoke?

(Which must make those on the extremes very angry...)
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
And it was that same Centrist majority - no matter whether they are Labour or Tory inclined - who decided Brexit was the best choice.
And a damned fine body of men (and women) they are! :)
 
As long ago as 2012, it was being pointed out that you had to be up into the top 40% of incomes, for (on average) your contributions in taxation to outweigh the direct and indirect benefits received from the State.

A figure was also put on that - £28k and above were net contributors to the State. Below £28k you were a net recipient from the State.
 

Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
Is it a lack of anger from the centre, or is the centre just remarkably difficult to provoke?

(Which must make those on the extremes very angry...)

I think @Bladesman makes some excellent points.

Although I do agree we are notoriously difficult to provoke.

When conversing with the "stressed Erics" at work, I often give them a piece of advice along the lines of "stop watching the news". Similar to conflicts on ARRSE I will often advise grown men who literally lose hours of their lives trying to prove a point with someone they clearly do not like, to switch off, or simply ignore them. They never do...

I had my neighbour banging on the door a few weeks back. He thought he was being helpful by insisting I go get fuel immediately. I shrugged my shoulders at him and asked why? He said "we're running out!"

Of common sense perhaps. I told him the fuel depots have more than enough and I'll fill up when I need to, when the idiots have finished queueing and fighting over nothing.

He couldn't understand my reaction, and rather than allow my calm to influence his, in a panic him & his missus took both of their gaz guzzlers (Merc E365 and Audi Q7) and wasted several hours of their day fighting to top up about 5 quids worth of fuel.

They both work from home.

I finally filled up at the weekend and was the only car on the forecourt.
 
Is it a lack of anger from the centre, or is the centre just remarkably difficult to provoke?

(Which must make those on the extremes very angry...)

The Center used to be assertive and ready to hit back hard when provoked.

But before that happened, there was usually a common sense reaction of derision and scorn when faced with cranks and extremists.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I think @Bladesman makes some excellent points.

Although I do agree we are notoriously difficult to provoke.

When conversing with the "stressed Erics" at work, I often give them a piece of advice along the lines of "stop watching the news". Similar to conflicts on ARRSE I will often advise grown men who literally lose hours of their lives trying to prove a point with someone they clearly do not like, to switch off, or simply ignore them. They never do...

I had my neighbour banging on the door a few weeks back. He thought he was being helpful by insisting I go get fuel immediately. I shrugged my shoulders at him and asked why? He said "we're running out!"

Of common sense perhaps. I told him the fuel depots have more than enough and I'll fill up when I need to, when the idiots have finished queueing and fighting over nothing.

He couldn't understand my reaction, and rather than allow my calm to influence his, in a panic him & his missus took both of their gaz guzzlers (Merc E365 and Audi Q7) and wasted several hours of their day fighting to top up about 5 quids worth of fuel.

They both work from home.

I finally filled up at the weekend and was the only car on the forecourt.
I had a similar experience here in deepest Kent, apparently the epicentre of the fuel "crisis". Habitually I try to fill up at the halfway point (elderly father lives 300 miles away), but if I'd taken the panic stirring posters on Arrse any more seriously than I did my friend who spent untold hours revisiting fuel station forecourts to ensure he had kept a full tank, I would only have added to the minor shortage....
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
@rgjbloke - a small addition about 'this' government, prompted by a chat with SWMBO who works in the financial sector (she must be one of those 'evil bankers', then...):


That nasty, evil Rishi Sunak hosted this event, and in fact 'this' government (Evil Tories, close the NHS, steal the bread from poor people's mouths, etc.) has been at the forefront of efforts to make this change come about.

I look forward with enthusiasm to your comments.
 
@rgjbloke - a small addition about 'this' government, prompted by a chat with SWMBO who works in the financial sector (she must be one of those 'evil bankers', then...):


That nasty, evil Rishi Sunak hosted this event, and in fact 'this' government (Evil Tories, close the NHS, steal the bread from poor people's mouths, etc.) has been at the forefront of efforts to make this change come about.

I look forward with enthusiasm to your comments.
Notice who hasn't done that? Thatcher. Ergo it's all Thatcher's fault.
 
The Center used to be assertive and ready to hit back hard when provoked.

But before that happened, there was usually a common sense reaction of derision and scorn when faced with cranks and extremists.

The shift of the Overton window has made extremists on one side royal game and open season on the other side. Without being able to equally ridicule and have a go at both extremes, it's become pointless for the centre to react to one side who are protected, and unsporting to have a go at the side who are pretty much staked out over an ant nest by the media for ritual abuse.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The Center used to be assertive and ready to hit back hard when provoked.

But before that happened, there was usually a common sense reaction of derision and scorn when faced with cranks and extremists.
Indeed, and I miss that.

I think a problem is that the media were also generally more benign. That's switched, with the shouty elements - actually the Leftist shouty elements being given credence where they were once treated as the fringe idiots they are (the Right has been no-platformed).

The centre I think remain (Remain?) angry (80-seat majority) but are just tired of the constant noise from the BBC in particular.

No-one I meet and speak to is pleased with the BBC at the moment. I know that there's another thread for this so I won't linger but I'm talking about (I hesitate to use the term) ordinary people (in this case, where 'ordinary' are those not given to political extremes). Whether it be people from a wide circle that I've known for an age, people I fall into conversation with, or people that I catch up with after long periods of time, the consensus is that the MSM in general are detached.

The anger is still there. It just simmers. In part because it's simply not worth voicing publicly because of the concerted vitriol which is immediately brought to bear.

... which is probably one of the reasons that this thread exists in the first place!
 

Old Stab

LE
Book Reviewer
Except we aren't. The mentality behind what's the wrapper matters. And I, as a white man, have had more issues with white eastern European people than coloured Muslims. The issue is how you think, not the colour of your skin.
That is a very valid point. And well put.
 

Pagan-Image

Old-Salt
As a long time reader, but non-contributor to ARRSE, this one thread has made me register just to congratulate the majority of contributors, on mainly well reasoned and cogent comments (Whether i agree with the particular viewpoint or not).

However, just for my two-pence.... Debate is not about changing the minds of those you are debating against, but it is about two sides putting forth opposing views so that the audience (Whether that is the House of commons, or the general public on QT) can make their own informed opinions.

At the moment, what i see (and i accept that this is a HUGE generalisation) is the left attacking the right to browbeat them to change their opinion, whilst the right are still in the main appealing to the audience. This is why i believe the conservatives have a majority in Govt, because the centrists will fall on the side on those who are at face value being reasonable.

I am by nature right of centre (and have voted Conservative all my life), but only by a small amount. I applaud some things this Govt are doing however, i am appalled by some of its actions. The biggest problem is that the opposition are not opposing they are just arguing and throwing insults.

To have a good Govt, you need a strong opposition. That will modify the natural left or right leanings of any Govt in power. A weak opposition allows any Govt to favour its more extreme leanings.

In modern history, the UK has also had a centrist liberal party, which has played a dynamic in bringing the left and right into the centre. With the apparent demise of this centrist factor, we are seeing the two opposing ends pulling in opposite directions.

In fact i believe the death knell for the Lib-Dems was that they put themselves against the voting majority who voted for Brexit.

I suppose this has been a long winded way of saying,I agree with the OP, and should the liberal centre make a re-appearance in the voting arena (without picking a contentious issue to anchor themselves to) i would certainly lend them my support.

Feel free to throw rocks :)
 
Centrism is indeed a lofty ideal, complicated predominantly by two things.
1. The plethora of attempts to rationalise the current laws, with exacerbating factors. Race, religion and gender being currently popular as inciting various forms of hatred.
2. The lack of anger from the centre, when required to respond to such incited hatred. The extremes on both flanks need to be bought closer together. The lack of anger or response from the centre is indicative of the very positive qualities they hold dear, and help widen the extremes.

Snipped to focus on points made


Start by touching the edges of extremism, where they are more vulnerable, or easily persuaded to join the centre.
Do not deny the msm or social media, which feeds the extremes. Encourage them to bring the extremes further into the open, where they can be more easily ridiculed for such preposterous beliefs and behaviours.

Let PR and marketing be your friend, provided they can be ethically sound. :)
The above is a good positive action, from the centre.

Is it a lack of anger from the centre, or is the centre just remarkably difficult to provoke?
The above is a good poor negative action, from the centre.

I think @Bladesman makes some excellent points.

Although I do agree we are notoriously difficult to provoke.

Snipped to focus on point made
Again the above is a sadly negative action, from the centre.

The Center used to be assertive and ready to hit back hard when provoked.

But before that happened, there was usually a common sense reaction of derision and scorn when faced with cranks and extremists.
Once again above is a good positive action, from the centre.


The above posts to my mind highlight the both positives and negatives to holding a centralist position, while i don't think I need to say my thought are not personal reflections on the posters but it's for those reading this thread how who may be hard of thinking.

It shows to my mind and thus seems that the left see you as weak by the centres silence and then they take push harder too advantage. From the right it can be seen as apathy or more being focused on fair process than addressing in most cases the core fundamental issue.

Thus the centre gets trampled all over, and worse yet 'The Fix to an issue' also ends up being trampled, undermined or watered down as to be a sticking plaster rather than a fix at all.

An example being; How I saw Blair, deal with potential of facing industrial strife at low wages in the late 90's got Gordon Brown to devise a complicated tax credits system. It seemed it was a fudge to save Blair, from the anger of Trades Unions within large employers, if only he could have flooded the market even earlier with imported low wage workers.

What did the centre do to say, it is a fundamentally wrong for any Government outside of a national emergency to interject itself into the free-market and then subsidise private sector wages. I cannot recollect any criticism of note.


edited for getting me good and bads, in a muddle and me spelinks. :razz:
 
I don't know about any of you but the last few years (the last two in particular) I've become increasingly frustrated at the extremists in society having the biggest voice, when I know full well the majority of us sit somewhere in the middle and just try to make our way through life without bumping our gums too much about anything (other than the weather, roadworks and the performance of our nation's sporting representatives).

Following on from @halo_jones thread: https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/social-media-is-it-toxic-bubble.256251/ I've also found it a very interesting way of shutting people up on social media when they get caught up in pointless bickering. From anything political, to arguing about the latest "woke" advert, to football anti-racism messages; one side clearly outraged at the tokenism on display, the other stating "came here for the gammon comments, wasn't disappointed" - until the brave & handsome centrist pipes up with "perhaps you and the 'gammons' should come here for the football, or better still find a stadium of your own to argue until your heart's content and leave the rest of us in peace?"

Instant 'silence'.

And while that reply is harvesting the day's supply of Facebook 'likes', an idea is forming in my head (barren though it usually is...)

For those who don't know me, I'm a political neutral. For years I've voted for the party least likely to screw the country and never understood why people can be solely drawn to a party who doesn't even know them let alone give a toss about them, going on to have long drawn out arguments, fighting their corner at every opportunity on social media. It's like social media has provided people with tailor-made echo chambers to visit at their will and vent - only to be "rewarded" by mutual back-slapping from their fellow politically-polarized virtual "mates", almost like the HoC during PMs questions. Fast forward to the next GE and the losing side's supporters are in disbelief their party has been obliterated, having convinced themselves the 4 or 5 randoms on social media they've been conversing with the last few months represent society - when in reality, they represent the delusional minorities who continue to scream the loudest.

From the foaming rabid right-wingers who are convinced the "Muzzies' are taking over and the only solution is to demolish a Mosque each time a man of Somalian origin goes on a stabbing spree - to the foaming rabid left-wingers who are convinced we're all racists and need to apologise for stuff which happened 250 years ago and obliterate history - what's become clear to me is that both sides need a reality check.

Almost like managing your Coy, Sqn, Pl etc - you often find about 80% of the unit's issues are caused by 20% of its troops - and like our issues in society and particularly social media, I'd not be too far off citing 80% of the "noise" is created by 20% of its contributors. Even on ARRSE, pretty much most of the reports are usually due to the same 5 or 6 members. However it adds up, I think the silent majority have been silent enough.

I haven't watched the news since March last year mainly because of Covid and other sensationalist reporting, but also because it's become increasingly biased / censored - far too concerned with the consequences of the "extremes" than actually reporting the news. They dare not state too early the colour of the perp's skin in case it riles the racists; or shoehorn the token black guy / other ethnicity into everything in case it riles the far left. Forever pandering to the extremes.

We supposedly live in a democratic society. Perhaps mainstream media, social media and every other outlet including advertising, entertainments, the arts (drama, comedy etc) should start acting that way and playing to their audience, instead of catering for the "whiney insignificants".

What I find ironic is that there seems to be plenty of platforms for the wings - indeed a few searches on YouTube and you'll find all the left wing and right wing propaganda you want. But for a chunk of society so large, I can't help wonder society is missing a Centrist platform.

One for all those normal folk out there, with normal issues who care not for who's running the country, so long as they're not fecking it up; who care not for the colour of actors on their TVs, so long as they can act; who care not for religious beliefs nor sexuality, so long as it doesn't define that person etc etc.

Time to start a centrist platform, perhaps?

Who's with me?

Waste of time, though the sentiment is excellent. The problem is that boring, centrist stuff doesn’t get people emotionally excited so it doesn’t sell.

Anger, fear, sex, envy etc are base emotions but they drive engagement. That’s why the news pushes this stuff so much, despite the fact that it’s destroying society. I fear we are doomed to live in perpetual echo chambers in an increasingly balkanised society.
 
As humans we have a powerful irrational streak at the heart of our being. In some it is (mainly) latent, in others it is closer to the surface.

The stresses of overpopulation, or perceived threats, tend to bring that irrational streak straight to the surface. That's when reversion to barbarism and killing begins.

I think that social media and 24 hour news mimics feelings of threat and overpopulation and activates some dangerous reactions. As a species we don't cope well with strangers (hence the elaborate codes of hospitality that evolved in primitive societies).

Social media constantly exposes us to potentially hostile strangers...
Interesting ideas and I think your on the right lines... Now take that thinking forward to its natural point and ask yourself who are these 'progressives' ?

By nature they're are people who desire to bring order to chaos through social reform and can be divided into two breeds: the 'nudge' social reformist, or the authoritarian who uses 'evidence-based' as a weapon to end debate and demand an 'authoritarian' mandatory social reform using the law.

Look at the relaxation of drug policy via 'nudge' to see how they're work.
Look at US Prohibition to see an example of the 'authoritarian'.

Conclusion:-
Social media where once it operated 'nudge'. Has now wholly become authoritarian in its groupthink and this is in response to social conservatives waking up and rejecting the nudge. The authoritarian progressives are raising the stakes to undermine the law itself and the moderate/centrists used to accommodation haven't caught up.
 

Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
Waste of time, though the sentiment is excellent. The problem is that boring, centrist stuff doesn’t get people emotionally excited so it doesn’t sell.

Perhaps you're right. But then who says Centrism has to be boring? I've quite enjoyed poking the racists, bigots, commies and woke warriors on social media since lockdown started to take its toll on society and people started to become more nasty and polarized. I particularly enjoy pointing out both sides' often extreme views, intolerance and denial usually proves they have more in common with each other than they care to admit.

Anger, fear, sex, envy etc are base emotions but they drive engagement. That’s why the news pushes this stuff so much, despite the fact that it’s destroying society. I fear we are doomed to live in perpetual echo chambers in an increasingly balkanised society.

Agreed.

I've mentioned before (on here and elsewhere), news and other clever media plays to our 'availability heuristic' (the perception of importance based on recall) and explains why serious traffic collisions and fatalities reach figures in excess of 24,000 annually, rarely make the news - whereas a near-miss involving an airline nearly always does.

The solution? Hmm not sure off of the top of my head, but I'm convinced it involves a game show over the weekend prime time slots involving both sides pitted against one another with added danger, humiliating situations and a phone in voting the least popular one off each week. It worked for Simon Cowell for 2 decades. But instead of furnishing him with Ferraris, the money could be used to provide tax relief for all middle income earners.

(That last sentence was hunour, just before people start picking flaws with my damned fine plan!)
 
Perhaps you're right. But then who says Centrism has to be boring? I've quite enjoyed poking the racists, bigots, commies and woke warriors on social media since lockdown started to take its toll on society and people started to become more nasty and polarized. I particularly enjoy pointing out both sides' often extreme views, intolerance and denial usually proves they have more in common with each other than they care to admit.



Agreed.

I've mentioned before (on here and elsewhere), news and other clever media plays to our 'availability heuristic' (the perception of importance based on recall) and explains why serious traffic collisions and fatalities reach figures in excess of 24,000 annually, rarely make the news - whereas a near-miss involving an airline nearly always does.

The solution? Hmm not sure off of the top of my head, but I'm convinced it involves a game show over the weekend prime time slots involving both sides pitted against one another with added danger, humiliating situations and a phone in voting the least popular one off each week. It worked for Simon Cowell for 2 decades. But instead of furnishing him with Ferraris, the money could be used to provide tax relief for all middle income earners.

(That last sentence was hunour, just before people start picking flaws with my damned fine plan!)

In my view, militant centrism is no different to the far left or far right. The ends may be slightly different, but the means are exactly the same and often just as damaging.

In my view, the only solution to this problem is the wide availability of all sorts of views on public media. Even extreme ones! And the maturity and ability to argue about them until we come to an acceptable conclusion.
You don’t need to look any further than the ‘debate’ in the U.K. on lockdowns in spring of 2020, vs the debate today.
In the former, dissent wasn’t tolerated and was actively censored. Now both sides have a healthy debate and has allowed us to come to a more measured conclusion. Debate is key!
 

Boris_Johnson

ADC
Moderator
DirtyBAT
Again the above is a sadly negative action, from the centre.

I know it's not a personal reflection as you said, although I disagree that being difficult to provoke is being weak. In my experience it takes the stronger side to not be drawn into a petty squabble; what's that saying?

"Don't be tempted to get drawn into an argument with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"...?

Something like that, anyway?

As I said in that comment - @Bladesman made some excellent (positive action) comments I agreed with.
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads

Top