UK elections are approaching fast and Labour, Britain’s mildly left, progressive party, is in for another drubbing. OK, they might win a few seats. But not to be sweeping everywhere is a drubbing indeed. Not that we wish to insult our Tory readers, but eleven years of rule has hardly been successful, to say the least. But there’s a deeper problem- a thriving opposition keeps the Government honest. Most of our current prooblems stem from the fact that the Conservative Party cannot see itself losing power-and rightly so. So why does Labour keep losing-and is it just in the UK? We have two great links for you to The Atlantic * and Open Democracy*, but here are some possible reasons:
The Tory Press The British Press, largely owned by expatriate billionaires, is indeed a deeply biased,shrill and aggressive trumpet of their interests. Adept at playing on the deepest ignorances and prejudices of its ageing readership, it acts like a colossal brake on any kind of forward thinking enterprise. However, progressive forces in the past found ways to overcome this “home advantage.” And anyway-why don’t more people buy more “progressive” newspapers? Verdict-an excuse, not a reason
Collapse of the Left wing Project Starting with George Orwell, it slowly became clear that the Marxist project was not a glorious path to the Emancipation of Humankind, but rather a sure way to erect ghastly murderous tyrannies. Even milder cases, like Venezuela and Cuba are far from shining examples of liberty and prosperity. Verdict– a new definition of “progress” is needed.
The Poor and the workers are not the same thing Once upon a time the poor did most of the work and produced most of the wealth. It was right on moral and economic grounds to transfer money to them from the wealthy. Nowdays large numbers of poor people-pensioners, the long term sick and disabled, for example- are in receipt of large financial transfers from other sectors of the economy. There is a strong moral and humanitarian case that this is right. But however brutal the fact, they are not actually producing. Verdict a government is not the local Social Services Department.
It’s about identity stupid. The collapse of class based politics (see above) and the rise of globalisation has left millions profoundly anxious about who they are, and why they exist. Nationalism and religion provide emotionally satisfying answers, particularly to those whose pride has been deeply wounded. Hence the rise of Muslim fundamentalism and far right identitarians like the Proud Boys. Thinkers like Eric Kaufman and Amy Chua have explored this in depth. Of course progressives deplore tribalism. But to deny it it exists as a fundamental driving urge is to make the same mistake as Puritans who tried to deny sex, with the same disastrous consequences. Verdict Progress must be universal, but most people don’t think universally
Surprisingly, we think progressives have been winning the intellectual arguments for more than ten years now, as the research of Thomas Piketty and Wilkinson and Pickett demonstrate. And if workers confine themselves behind national walls while capital roams free, the conditions of the former are unlikely to improve substantially. The key is to show people that it is in their interests to reach out.
Eric Kaufman Whieshift
Amy Chua Political Tribes
Thomas Piketty Capital inthe 21st century
Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson The Spirit Level
#labour #capital #inequality #LabourParty #ConservativeParty #progress #socialism #progress #Left #Right