petej + paternalism   4

From Trump to Boris Johnson: how the wealthy tell us what ‘real folk’ want | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
With that conceded and, hopefully, addressed, the left is in a far more solid place to expose and challenge the disingenuousness, hypocrisy and inadequacy of the culture-warriors on three main counts. First, their prescriptions don’t work. Britain does not feel like a stronger, more confident place since it voted to leave the European Union, but more divided, lost and lonely than anyone can remember. It didn’t put the great back into Great Britain but the little into Little England. In short, it has proved an inadequate balm for the post-imperial melancholy so many were apparently experiencing. Denying Muslims and migrants their civil rights or women their reproductive rights doesn’t give other groups more rights. When terrorists kill fewer people than toddlers with guns and are more likely to be white and American than brown and foreign, the threat to your “way of life” is the way you are living it.

Second, there are far more powerful and plausible national stories we can tell, that are inclusive and optimistic and they occasionally break through. Obama’s first election, when a multiracial, multigenerational, economically diverse coalition came together to embrace a message of hope and change from a black American, was a case in point. It is always worth remembering that roughly one in eight of Trump’s voters backed Obama in 2012.

Similarly, in Britain, the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 or the, albeit belated, revulsion at the treatment of the Windrush generation this year showed that there was a more inclusive story to be told about what really is great about this country.

Finally, all too often the rightwing cheerleaders for these “ordinary folk” are more embedded in the elites than those they attack can ever be. When George W Bush, who is teetotal, is the man you’d most like to have a drink with, an Old Etonian Bullingdon boy like Boris Johnson is able to get away with posing as a man of the people, and Trump can get the modern equivalent of $140m from his dad and still claim he is a self-made man, something is seriously wrong.

Or as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. The idea that I’m somehow the ‘Hollywood elite’ and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.”
USA  TrumpDonald  politics  populism  TheLeft  TheRight  elites  wealth  oligarchy  culture  nativism  immigration  multiculturalism  liberalism  paternalism  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
november 2018 by petej
In his speech the other day Neil Kinnock reminded me of a peculiar tick the the Labour Party… — Medium
This tick then, expressed (and expresses now when Neil Kinnock uses it in a speech) two very different ideas of what the Labour movement was or could be. For the Bennites then (and the Corbynites now), the Labour movement is and was something that recruits as many people as it can and becomes the direct expression of their political aspirations, including their most radical ones. That is, if you want a say in how the party, a trade union or the country is run, you join and participate with the best ideas winning through. The parliamentary party are nothing more than the delegates of their CLPs and their primary duty is to agitate for the politics of their members. For those on the other side, the Labour Party is not supposed to directly represent the politics of its members, it is a not a tool for direct interventions in the political sphere by ordinary people. Rather it is a organisation in which the leadership should be trusted to develop (after consulting members) a programme for government which appeals beyond their membership to the country as a whole. The members' role is largely passive, a case of essentially promoting whatever it is that party leadership does as opposition or government — socialism as “whatever a Labour government does”.

This then is one key to the gap between the left and right of the party. The gap that the soft left and the moving softer left (hello Owen Jones) don’t really get. The distance here is not all about policy. When Kinnock says he wants his party back, he means it in a very literal sense. He doesn’t want just want the leadership to return to his wing of the party, he wants an end to this dangerous experiment in “syndicalism”, where Labour pretends to represent directly the political ambitions of its members. He wants it back from its electorate and for the PLP, for a kind of imagined “authentic Labourism" which is more pragmatic and speaks for (but not with) the British people as a whole.

And when it says it, he does so with all historical justice on his side, because that genuinely is what the Labour Party has been historically and what it was founded to be — a party of the left’s great and good, cheerled by an obedient army of leaflet deliverers.

He and the other 172 MPs on Kinnock’s side will only truly be happy if and when it returns to that. That means that those hoping for a sort of Corbynism without Corbyn or even for a more general re-engagement with the interests of the working class, should think long and hard about what those cheers mean.
LabourParty  KinnockNeil  tradeUnions  syndicalism  control  Bennism  paternalism  hierarchy  radicalism  socialism  PLP  participation  leadership  CorbynJeremy  TheLeft 
july 2016 by petej

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