Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, December 13th, 2018 - 34 comments
Categories: australian politics, class war, Deep stuff, Europe, International, jacinda ardern, uk politics, us politics - Tags: donald trump, jacinda adern, theresa may
As Theresa May promises to limp on as UK PM, Donald Trump can’t bring himself to tweet about his attorney going to jail, Angela Merkel prepares to exit in Germany, Macron bows to the fascists in Hi Viz and the Australian Liberal Party heads toward a defeat of historic proportions in next year’s federal election, you’d have to wonder if there is a global malaise in the ranks of the democratically inclined right.
The traditional conservative parties are in retreat. In Europe, the rise of the populist right has meant the Born to Rule parties are under pressure not seen since the thirties. They simply don’t have the answers anymore. They may not even understand the questions.
To be fair, the new right are far more open and transparent about their bigotry and that clearly helps with cut through. No more dog whistling, just let the hounds off the leash. In the initial phase of the turn to extremism, it was the left that suffered from that freedom to be an arsehole. That was because the left had generally assumed there was a consensus of niceness in both politics and society. We have our differences, but we’re all heading in the same direction, right?
How very wrong.
But now, it seems that the traditional right parties are equally unable to satisfy the vague, inarticulate howls of the disgruntled. In the eighties, Margaret Thatcher managed to harness the voting power of disenchanted, disengaged white men. Famously, she claimed “there is no alternative”.
Well, now there is.
The challenge for the left is to hold our nerve, present positive, values based policies to the voters and, as much as possible, remind ourselves that we have survived periods like this before and come through stronger.
The populist right thrive on ignorance. We on the left have a role to educate. Not to lecture, mind, but to guide.
As I write this, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to survive the vote of no confidence in her. She’ll stagger on grimly till Brexit day, then depart, retiring knowing that the best she could do in the circumstances was try and keep a shambles from deteriorating into a farce.
I have developed a grudging admiration for the position of Jeremy Corbyn. Rather than go for outright confrontation, the Labour Party leader has quietly pointed May to where she can find more rope. This is a strategy that infuriates many on the left, but if the pay off is the total collapse of the Tory Party, then it will have worked gloriously.
In the States, the Democratic party is resurgent, and looking likely to have a lock on House, Senate and White house in 2020. Nobody knows who the next President will be, but it’s increasingly looking like Donald Trump will not influence the outcome, because in the US, prisoners don’t get the vote.
Look out for Tom Steyer. Yeah, I know you’ve never heard of him, however he’s an outside bet to win the Presidency for the Democrats. Rich, untroubled by the burdens of public office, anti-establishment. Like Trump, but with a heart and a brain.
Ah, well, this has been a bit of ramble. But better a ramble than a shambles. And I’ve managed to get this far without having to mention Simon Bridges, so I’ll just leave it with this thought. When the populist right fades away, as it most certainly will, there will be an opportunity for the left to be a beacon for a generation of young voters.
The politics of compassion is our best hope for the future; compassion for people and compassion for the planet. Isn’t it great that NZ is once again leading the way?