My psychoanalytic rambling has traversed all borders this week in the wake of the election frenzy, and to unload some of the frenzy that has been colonising my thoughts …
… is it not interesting that May called this election to create a solid mandate for her Brexit negotiation and instead of staying strong and stable on that course, has been forced to divert down other tributaries of key concerns? Not at all the course that May’s obsessional symptom demanded.
On Monday Paxman entered the stage as a violent interventionist – enunciated by a society that // in part //thrives on division, where certain citizens are no longer willing to fall into a singular ideology – one where the myth of THE voice of the people – THE will of the people – looking towards THE leader at the mercy of an ideology that is locked into the ‘discourse of the master’ has begun, in part, to divide multifariously.
On Wednesday May presented herself as a lack; an empty signifier (who showed “wisdom” according to the foreign secretary) – possibly THE “wisdom” was the prescience to realise that she wouldn’t be able to create the illusion, in this debate at least and it would seem in a whole raft of other BBC interviews, of a singular leading voice and that the Cons could only hope that the illusion would proliferate by itself in that lack; and let’s not underestimate the power of an empty signifier – the pure signifier of the monarchy being the ultimate in empty signifiers next to God.
Perhaps one lesson of the government’s response to the referendum result is that if you bear down on certain factions of a society in the hope of imposing a unified voice you simply spawn a multitude of other voices and some of those voices were extremely compellingly in the TV debate. It may have been a “cacophony” (again to use the foreign secretary’s terminology) but the issues by necessity revealed their own complexity, complexities rooted deep in our history.
May has pitched the whole Conservative campaign squarely in the middle of the what Lacan would name in the 1970’s the “social discourse of the master”. However, this discourse which illustrates the dialectic of the master and the slave, masks the truth located in the gap of the divided subject.
Perhaps what is emerging now in the final week is the discourse of the hysteric (not related to the gender contextualised insult that Farage used). The hysteric discourse being one that doesn’t just appeal to the concept of a dominating leader but questions the Other, questions who they are for the Other, and is a discourse less certain about the accepted, monolithic “knowledge” of the establishment.
There is a long way to go to dislodge the discourse of the master in large areas where there is still a fetish for mastery in the discourse of the master, but politics is all but predictable in the prevailing register of contemporary political ideology.