petej + ge2017   308

Reassessing Corbynism: success, contradictions and a difficult path ahead | SPERI
Every one of Corbyn’s much-vaunted manifesto pledges relies on an increased tax-take and growth strategy which are predicated upon remaining in the single market, and thus entail retaining free movement. Yet his manifesto promise to end free movement (reiterated by John McDonnell in the weekend after the election result) makes nationalist protectionism the axiomatic position of both major parties, one which for Labour cannot be overturned without shedding one half of the electoral coalition which has secured Corbyn’s position.
The struggle to win the support of the ex-UKIP Leave vote has led to Farage’s nativist agenda poisoning the well of the British polity as a whole, left and right – the real reason he is still never off the airwaves, despite UKIP’s ostensible collapse. The risk on one side is of economic catastrophe, on the other the development of a ‘stab in the back’ myth of national betrayal. No amount of energetic canvassing or witty memes can bridge such an abyss. It requires the political courage to be truly honest with the electorate about the consequences of withdrawal from the single market, traits which for all Corbyn’s purported authenticity have, in this context at least, been in short supply.
UK  generalElection  ge2017  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  deficit  publicSpending  triangulation  UKIP  Brexit  immigration  freedomOfMovement  welfare  benefits  dctagged  dc:creator=BoltonMatt  Corbynism 
june 2017 by petej
David Runciman · The Choice Was Real · LRB 29 June 2017
Corbyn’s studied avoidance of the issue comes at a price. He has assembled a coalition of voters who have very different expectations of what comes next. For the traditional Labour voters who had defected to Ukip and came back at this election, he needs to help make Brexit happen as promised. For the students and other metropolitan Remainers who flocked to his cause, he needs to put barriers in its way. Of course, there is nothing new about national politicians at the head of catch-all parties having to square the contradictory instincts of their supporters. When two-party politics corrals voters into making a binary choice it is always going to produce these sorts of tensions. Yet what’s striking about the result of this election is just how many divisions two-party politics now has to accommodate. The UK electorate is split between the old and the young, the educated and the less educated, the metropolitan and the provincial, the urban and the rural. The two main parties increasingly resemble loose coalitions of different interest and identity groups, each with its own axe to grind, and primarily united by their dislike and distrust of the people on the other side. Our two-party system is suddenly starting to look like politics in the United States.
UK  politics  MayTheresa  ToryParty  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  ge2017  generalElection  austerity  Brexit  dctagged  dc:creator=RuncimanDavid  LRB  Corbynism 
june 2017 by petej
Corbyn is chiming with the times. But no one can predict anything any more | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
We will remember this summer for the rest of our lives. It is starting to feel like a whole decade compacted into mere weeks: despair followed by joy followed by yet more despair, while political certainties that recently seemed rock solid suddenly fall away.

After 10 years of pain, austerity might just be in retreat. The idea of England and Wales as some monochrome expanse, full of nostalgia and nastiness and people content to watch as their social fabric is serially wrecked, has been drastically weakened. The horrors at Grenfell Tower are obviously part of the same moment: a hesitant national awakening in which a sense of dread and worry about where we are headed has been intensified by a sudden realisation about the country we have become.
UK  politics  economics  society  austerity  generalElection  ge2017  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  GrenfellTower  Corbynism 
june 2017 by petej
VersoBooks.com: A Permanent Election
"If that sounds a bit like squaring the circle, it is: it is an attempt to reconcile one of the most difficult issues in contemporary left politics – the interaction between social movement-style politics and operation within the political sphere proper. It will entail mistakes, and it will entail conflict, especially at the local level. Caution, judgement and a certain intransigence are all necessary qualities. Yet it is the key to unlocking the potential demonstrated on Thursday of last week, and to building the Corbyn surge into a wholesale political transformation."

"That we can talk of even the possibility of left government in the UK is a measure of how far we have come in the past two years, and how profoundly politics has changed in the near decade since the crash of 2008. We are not there yet. And as a historically literate left-winger, and one who holds positions to the left even of Corbyn, I am acutely aware of the limits and contradictions of Labour’s programme – not to mention the colossal resistance it has already and will yet face. Yet at the same time there is a singular opportunity to effect political change on a scale undreamt of by the British left for decades. To pass that up because of a love of minoritarianism, a nihilating cynicism which sees change as always doomed to failure or decay, or some hoary doctrine about the Labour Party’s unalterable nature – that would be colossal folly. It is time to win."
UK  politics  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  generalElection  ge2017  TheLeft  youth  manifesto  PLP  shadowCabinet  democracy  deselection  accountability  Momentum  socialMovements  immigration  foreignPolicy  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
june 2017 by petej
Britain: The End of a Fantasy | by Fintan O’Toole | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
There were three problems. Firstly, May demanded her enormous majority so that she could ride out into the Brexit battle without having to worry about mutterings in the ranks behind her. But she has no clue what the battle is supposed to be for. Because May doesn’t actually believe in Brexit, she’s improvising a way forward very roughly sketched out by other people. She’s a terrible actor mouthing a script in which there is no plot and no credible ending that is not an anti-climax. Brexit is a back-of-the-envelope proposition. Strip away the post-imperial make-believe and the Little England nostalgia, and there’s almost nothing there, no clear sense of how a middling European country with little native industry can hope to thrive by cutting itself off from its biggest trading partner and most important political alliance.

May demanded a mandate to negotiate—but negotiate what exactly? She literally could not say. All she could articulate were two slogans: “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal.” The first collapses ideology into tautology. The second is a patent absurdity: with “no deal” there is no trade, the planes won’t fly and all the supply chains snap. To win an election, you need a convincing narrative but May herself doesn’t know what the Brexit story is.

Secondly, if you’re going to try the uno duce, una voce trick, you need a charismatic leader with a strong voice. The Tories tried to build a personality cult around a woman who doesn’t have much of a personality. May is a common or garden Home Counties conservative politician. Her stock in trade is prudence, caution, and stubbornness. The vicar’s daughter was woefully miscast as the Robespierre of the Brexit revolution, the embodiment of the British popular will sending saboteurs to the guillotine. She is awkward, wooden, and, as it turned out, prone to panic and indecision under pressure.

But to be fair to May, her wavering embodied a much deeper set of contradictions. Those words she repeated so robotically, “strong and stable,” would ring just as hollow in the mouth of any other Conservative politician. This is a party that has plunged its country into an existential crisis because it was too weak to stand up to a minority of nationalist zealots and tabloid press barons. It is as strong as a jellyfish and as stable as a flea.

Thirdly, the idea of a single British people united by the Brexit vote is ludicrous. Not only do Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London have large anti-Brexit majorities, but many of those who did vote for Brexit are deeply unhappy about the effects of the Conservative government’s austerity policies on healthcare, education, and other public services. (One of these services is policing, and May’s direct responsibility for a reduction in police numbers neutralized any potential swing toward the Conservatives as a result of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.)

This unrest found a voice in Corbyn’s unabashedly left-wing Labour manifesto, with its clear promises to end austerity and fund better public services by taxing corporations and the very wealthy. May’s appeal to “the people” as a mystic entity came up against Corbyn’s appeal to real people in their daily lives, longing not for a date with national destiny but for a good school, a functioning National Health Service, and decent public transport. Phony populism came up against a more genuine brand of anti-establishment radicalism that convinced the young and the marginalized that they had something to come out and vote for.
UK  politics  generalElection  ge2017  Brexit  populism  UKIP  nationalism  tabloids  TheRight  appeasement  MayTheresa  ToryParty  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  austerity  dctagged  dc:creator=O'TooleFintan  Corbynism 
june 2017 by petej
Stumbling and Mumbling: The changing class divide
Thirdly, Corbyn’s promise to tax the very rich appealed to those ABs (the majority) earning less than £80,000. Reference group theory implies that people compare themselves with those like themselves. So, someone on say £50,000 a year might ask: “why is that idiot earning twice as much as me when he’s no smarter?” Many ABs, I suspect, are more aware than the DEs that many of the very rich are incompetent rent-seekers rather than the “wealth creators” of Tory myth. A DE voter, on the other hand, has almost no contact with the rich but is instead irritated by benefit claimants.

This tendency is exacerbated by another – that, as Rick said, the middle classes aren’t as posh as they used to be. Many work long hours in unfulfilling jobs for oppressive bosses with no hope of buying a decent house. For them, Corbynite talk of rent controls and housebuilding was an attractive offer relative to a Tory party than was offering nothing.

It’s in this context that class still matters. Yes, the Tory-Labour split is no longer a class split. But this is because the class basis of Toryism has diminished. What we’ve seen in recent years is a hollowing out of the middle class. A rising take by the top 1% has been accompanied by the middlingly rich becoming less bourgeois: their incomes have fallen relative to the worst off, as I suspect, have their working conditions. This has made ABs more amenable to Labour.

In this sense, perhaps the Tories have a deeper problem than merely yet another laughably inept leader. Their problem is that they no longer articulate the interests of the class they once did, because that class has changed. Ironically, they have become the victims of the inequality that has seen the top 1% (or perhaps 0.1%) pull away from the rest of us.
UK  politics  economics  generalElection  ge2017  class  socialClass  workingClass  middleClass  Brexit  housing  inequality  dctagged  dc:creator=DillowChris 
june 2017 by petej
Nick Timothy: Why I have resigned as the Prime Minister’s adviser | Conservative Home
The reason for the disappointing result was not the absence of support for Theresa May and the Conservatives but an unexpected surge in support for Labour. One can speculate about the reasons for this, but the simple truth is that Britain is a divided country: many are tired of austerity, many remain angry about Brexit and many younger people feel they lack the opportunities enjoyed by their parents’ generation.
UK  politics  generalElection  ge2017  TimothyNick  resignation  MayTheresa  austerity  Brexit  inequality 
june 2017 by petej
Britain is more divided than ever. Now Labour has a chance to unify it | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
Disquiet about where the country was heading after the referendum took a while to find an outlet. It would never have been convincingly expressed by the forces that wanted to overturn Brexit, because they did not concern themselves with austerity and inequality, and threatened to turn their back on the kind of blighted, resentful places that secured leave’s success.

Instead, it turned out that Corbyn and his colleagues’ basic acceptance of Brexit left open the possibility of a Labour revival in its old, leave-voting heartlands. And eventually their argument that the Tories envisaged leaving Europe as another step towards some Thatcherite dystopia chimed with a big part of the public mood. For people, including me, who criticised their contortions on Europe, pointing this out entails eating a big helping of humble pie. That’s fine: it deserves no end of praise.

Building on its amazing breakthrough, Labour now has to cement exactly the kind of alliances – between young and old, town and city, small-c conservative voters and those with more liberal beliefs – that have always underpinned its biggest successes. To acknowledge that this will be an arduous task might sound like an invitation to some weary post-election comedown. It shouldn’t: as Corbyn and his comrades well know, the struggle always continues.
UK  politics  generalElection  ge2017  youth  elderly  austerity  Brexit  inequality  exclusion  CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  dctagged  dc:creator=HarrisJohn 
june 2017 by petej
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