Political shifts on both sides of the pond.
In my earlier blog I made the assertion that “The most powerful force in American politics today is anti-establishment fury at a system rigged by a power elite that is anti-democracy. “
It might surprise some that much the same sentiments are sweeping Europe and UK in particular. The manifestations though are quite different. In the UK we have an imploding of our main opposition party ‘The Labour party.’ Democracy is again the culprit, as the Labour Party introduced the fine democratic ideal of one man one vote to select their leader from amongst its Members of Parliament.
Whereas the general tenet of British politics (Scotland aside) is broadly centrist, the Labour Party aroused the far left who do indeed hold anti-establishment fury at a system which appears and is by default a system rigged by a power elite. The far left (far by UK standards) want more government, higher taxes, nationalised public services such as rail and power. They want bigger expenditure on Welfare and the NHS in particular.
Where this messianic drive toward an egalitarian nirvana will lead is perhaps less well understood but the great centre ground of British politicians both Labour and Conservative agrees that the consensus is a matter of degree.
They all want a good safe place where well educated youngsters can join the knowledge revolution, where health care is free for all. The argument gets more complex when the question of the distribution of wealth is concerned. The hard left want to tax the rich, the Conservatives wish to see less Government and more incentives and a more aspirational society. The British political scene has wavered about on the centre, left and right since the Second World War and by and large the mass of the UK electorate has been relatively centre ground.
However, there has been an economic and social shift away from the traditional industrial core toward a financial and services driven economy which in turn has led to a substantial shift in Wealth Distribution.
The reasons are many and manifold, but clearly British society had become a more unequal social context. Naturally those at the bottom of the economic pile fell alienated and hence as things get more exaggerated, Banker’s bonuses at one end and welfare cuts at the other, there is bound to be a polarising of opinion.
The latest leader of the Labour party enjoys the support of those who see themselves at the end of the queue for all sorts of things. The disenfranchised and a modest number of left wing intellectuals support the new man Corbyn, whereas the majority of Labours MP’s do not. The resulting hiatus is grave since the hard left activists will outvote the labour moderate alternative candidate Owen Smith who is a bit of a ‘smart Alec’ who sees himself as more electable than Corbyn and is supported by the majority of MP’s.
The likely outcome will be the re-election of Corbyn and a sorry opposition which over the next few years will be made more left as moderate MP’s are deselected by the constituency committees manged by the active far left.
The electorate though remain largely centrist and if the Conservative party become more centre left under Teresa May, as seems likely, then the labour opposition will go into terminal decline. This of course is the opposite of what the far left want. Like all parties that stray from the centre too far, they are likely to self-destruct or of course ‘the great revolution’ might one day come.
In the end the balance between consensual politics on the one hand and the politics of establishment elite is a fine line. Let us hope that politicians on both sides of the pond find