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A Right Shambles

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: , ,

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?

 

34 comments on “A Right Shambles ”

    • woodart 1.1

      wins? thats like being made captain of the titanic, just after hitting the iceberg.

      • soddenleaf 1.1.1

        May wasn’t inany trouble. Brexit is a product of a process that the Tories manufacture to give Thatcher wins over the EU, without a opposition to the EU… …so today the Tories aren’t about to stuff up their own mess, leavin May in place is the only option. Similarly Labour are not for touching the stench,everyone knows the UK and EU will makeup, renew ties. If anything removing all the bullshit of the Tories over the EU,a clean slate on UK EU. Look before brexit it was inconceivable how the UK would drop the pound, now everything is a future possibility.

  1. SaveNZ 2

    One thing to remember is was not the ‘far right’ that voted for Brexit, it was the poor. uneducated, old, social housed and barely able to keep their head above water that voted for ‘leave’. The highest earners voted to remain.

    So perhaps if a bit more attention was put to those that suffered under the EU expansion and were effectively replaced in society, then the UK could have avoided the issue in the first place.

    The EU expansion should have been staged in the UK to protect their more vulnerable people who had nothing to lose and certainly did not gain from it by the looks of it. Even today, the NHS is completely overloaded.

    Same with the rise of Trump, you can’t just throw away a big percentage of population’s jobs through ‘free’ trade and replace them in the workforce while also bankrupting or impoverishing them through the global financial crisis, and lower their wages, and think they will agree with it.

    Agreements should look at ALL people benefiting not just some.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/jamesball/heres-who-voted-for-brexit-and-who-didnt

    • Wayne 2.1

      The far right and much of the working class voted for Brexit. It was the liberal middle, both left and right, who voted remain.
      Anyway surviving the no confidence vote doesn’t solve the Brexit crisis. Yes, she can go back to the EU and ask for more concessions on the backstop. If she doesn’t get them her Brexit will still fail in parliament. Too many conservatives will vote against. If she does get some concessions then a revised package might get through parliament. It would need to have some Labour defectors.
      If not, the most likely outcome now would be a no deal departure. Does that actually need a parliamentary vote?
      If it does, well that won’t get through either. So a real catch 22.
      Who could say what would happen?
      No parliamentary majority for any deal to leave. No parliamentary majority for a no confidence vote, so therefore no new election. Would there even be a majority for a new referendum?
      Faced with all of this May could ultimately get her deal through, since it might seem bettter than simply crashing out. Or will it be better?
      An interesting time to be a British MP, especially those who may shift their vote. For instance the SNP, when faced with no deal or the May deal. Do they simply say no to antything emanting from the May govt on the basis they are the “hated Tories”. Probably yes. They would sooner have no deal than do anything remotely looking like it is voting with the Conservatives.

      • Tricledrown 2.1.1

        Wayne you leave out the reason why they were played by Pootin now it’s been exposed that Pootin used social media and paid for right wing Brexit propaganda, Paid for Trump and Pence’s campaign plus ran fake news on Facebook. Where is Cohen now. Manafort and Trumps Treason.
        Boris Johnson, Farage, bought and paid for by Pootin, Tommy Robinson another pootin puppet. Pootin is succeeding in destabilising Nato, the UK, EU and the US.
        Just as China has infiltrated the National Party here in NZ.

  2. greywarshark 3

    Britain is racked by people in power who pick fights and carry them through to the death, that should never have been started at all. All the attention goes on to the day by day battle and not to the policy decisions, if any, and reasons and expected gains that will come from the battle. And no notice is taken of people who have studied and absorbed information about the battle ground whom it would be useful to consult about the likely net gains from the prospective battle, before it is implemented.

    • OnceWasTim 3.1

      “Britain is racked by people in power who pick fights and carry them through to the death, ”
      Gawsh @ Grey. I’m watching a few of them now on BBC World News. It’s absolutely frightful!

    • woodart 3.2

      “never should have started them at all” quite correct. what the hell was david cameron and the conservative party thinking,or drinking, when they came up with the madheaded idea of the referendum. bit like jim bolger when he said,”lets let the public have a real say in how parliament is made up”..hah!

  3. Ad 4

    Good post TRP. All to play for.

    I have such a weird sense of humour having to wait a decade to laugh at National making the same mistakes as Labour did in 2008-9.

    Also weird to have a PM who has more emotional intelligence than I have ever seen in government, ever.

    And really, really weird to have a Labour-led government with no crisis, lots of cash, tonnes of policy, loads of public goodwill, and leadership that is making it look easy.

    … not to mention the entirely useful heritage momentum into 2021 of APEC, Americas Cup, Sky City Convention Centre, Precinct Downtown, accelerating industry growth in key sectors, SH1 around Hamilton, SH1 Transmission Gully opening, light rail commencement, and a construction industry that is begging for more and more state leadership.

    Political life could be worse.

    • Wayne 4.1

      And almost all your list of things being completed in 2020/21 are the legacy of National.
      Labour’s projects will be barely off the ground even in 2020. Far too many reviews (in rail for instance) which have delayed their start.

      • Tc 4.1.1

        Yes dear

      • Ad 4.1.2

        Oh you’ve detected that?

        Amazing how life just gets more and more unfair to National.

        They won’t get an invitation to any of them, and all the momentum will be with the Labour-led government going in to 2023.

        Three terms: cheers National.

      • marty mars 4.1.3

        Lol extreme desperation there Wayne onya

        • Wayne 4.1.3.1

          It was simply an observation. And Ad usually the local MP’s are invited, it is matter of curtesy. Not everything is “knock down and drag em out.” After all, MP’s are very aware of the fact that political fortunes are cyclical.

      • Ad 4.1.4

        At the same time as National opposition stuffs up like we did, we also get to eat National’s lunch for them.

        For 3 terms.

        Sucks! 🙂

      • Dean Reynolds 4.1.5

        Wayne, the over riding fact is this – after 35 years of vile neo liberal policies, (based on greed & social Darwinism) being foisted on the Western world, people have had a gutsful of being trickled down on.

        Their political reactions during this time have been mixed, but as TRP says in his column, what is now appearing is a new resolve by social democratic parties, (like NZ Labour) to reaffirm the power of Government to transform thousands of lives, with kindness & compassion as the driving principles. This is hugely refreshing after 35 years of being told by the neo libs that we must enrich the already wealthy & that free market mythology will miraculously give us all a good living standard.
        Sure, I wish Jacinda’s government was bolder & more radical, but whatever they do, their policies are vastly superior to the those of Douglas, Richardson, Shipley, Key, English, Bennett & Collins – 7 of the most despicable MP’s NZ has ever produced.

        As someone who has kept the faith since 1966 when I first joined the Labour Party, it gives me grim satisfaction, today, to witness the self destruction of the odious US Republican Party, the UK Tories, the Australian Liberals & the NZ National Party. The contemptible neo lib philosophy of power at any cost, has hollowed out these parties as individual megalomaniacs inside each of them, fight themselves to the political death in order to control a political corpse

        • OnceWasTim 4.1.5.1

          And ain’t all that the truth!
          Don’t expect a reply though from Wayne. Although he might come across as a ‘spray and walk away’ kinda guy, it’s more likely he’s busy arranging his fee for the next appearance as a talking head and the voice of reason – possibly alongside a dripping Boag

        • soddenleaf 4.1.5.2

          Neolib is akin to rock snot, it bungs up the waterways, sucking out oxygen, uniformly dull. Monoculturally domination that only on a singular measure of growth can it argue it’s success. Funny how it smothers diversity, the economy, efficiency while declaring how great it is for all three. Darwin emphasised that the fit survive, not the altruistic or the greedy, just whoever was left standing. Whether that is a diversity, or a mono neo liberalism. Neolibs did not win, they just slowed and muddled the river with rock snot.

        • Robert Glennie 4.1.5.3

          But New Zealand First, a party I used to actively support, donate, campaign and attend meetings for, sold its soul to the devil when it signed the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and a lot of people including me left or were alienated by it.

  4. RedLogix 5

    A perceptive post trp. The interesting idea that came to mind reading it is this; what we are seeing globally is increasing political polarisation and the weakening of moderate parties on both the right and the left everywhere.

    It’s as if the conservative and progressive elements of the human race have lost faith in each other and are each hell-bent on ‘winning’ regardless of the cost.

  5. Draco T Bastard 6

    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.

    And hows that going to work with ensuring people have enough to eat, a place to live and can engage with society when the global Left is following the same failed policies of the last thirty years?

    The reason why populists rise up is because they tell people that they’re going to fix things and make everybody better off. When that inevitably fails (as all they do is make the rich richer) they just talk louder and oppression starts to set in.

    The Left needs to say that they will fix things as well and then do so but that’s not going to work if they keep following the same path as the RWNJs. They’ll fail just as the populists do unless they change the system.

    • Molly 6.1

      Agree.

      “Housing” – providing access to affordable, healthy, secure homes for all NZers

      is entirely different to

      “Housing affordability” – providing a solution to those of the population who are currently just-not-able to purchase a house.

      When there is no clear priority given to problems that are burdening those of us who are already struggling, we are failing to provide for all New Zealanders. And the grinding of lost opportunities, and badly allocated resources continues.

  6. Let me correct one small point for you (italics my corrections)
    Former investment banker Macron bows to the people on the back of his 29% approval ratings

    Given that almost eight in 10 people in France support the protests, according to a poll published last month, I assume you would agree that the protestors are representative of the people, and I’m going to take a punt and (unscientifically) claim that 8 in 10 French are NOT Fascists.

    Interestingly polling shows an 82% approval rating of ‘The Yellows’ from Marine Le Pen’s Fascist party supporters, as opposed to a 92% approval from the general population.

    http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/2018/11/22/01002-20181122ARTFIG00300-sondage-de-plus-en-plus-de-francais-soutiennent-le-mouvement-des-gilets-jaunes.php

    • The protesters are not representative of the people. I accept that a lot French people are happy that there are protests, but that is a different thing.

      • Siobhan 7.1.1

        That makes no sense. Its not even a good spin.

        If a bunch of fascists walked down Queen Street, or, say, Destiny Church, I wouldn’t tell a pollster.. “Oh well, at least there are protests’.

        I know the thought of people actually fighting back against the likes of Macron, and supporting the likes of Corbyn scares you, but even ‘good things’, like centrist neoliberal policies, and the status quo of increased inequality, and half arsed social policy, must come to an end some day.

        • te reo putake 7.1.1.1

          What doesn’t make sense is your estimation that 80% of French people are fascists. The rioters are to a large extent backers of Le Pen’s party. There are some disparate elements from left and right involved too and some criminals joining in for kicks.

          Le Pen’s lot do enjoy significant support. Around 25% of the vote last council elections, as I recall. They are not representative of France as a whole, thankfully.

          • Siobhan 7.1.1.1.1

            eh, what??..you didn’t actually read my comment at all did you.

            “and I’m going to take a punt and (unscientifically) claim that 8 in 10 French are NOT Fascists.”

            I clearly, and in capitals said they are NOT fascists.

            maybe you meant this..

            “Interestingly polling shows an 82% approval rating of ‘The Yellows’ from Marine Le Pen’s Fascist party supporters, as opposed to a 92% approval from the general population.”

            again, its ‘,82% of supporters of Le Pen‘ NOT ‘82% support Le Pen‘. The point being the protestors have less support, statistically, from the fascists than they do from the general population.

            I know what I’m saying conflicts with what the MSM are telling you..but, and I hate to tell you this so brutally, but the msm are not wanting any change.

            But just say for arguments sake you are correct..the French like the protest but not the protestors…I would assume that the French will now take to the street in protest at Macron bowing down to the unreasonable and unwanted demands of the supposed Fascists?

            • te reo putake 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Nah, I was suggesting that this line (“I assume you would agree that the protestors are representative of the people”) contradicts the following line: “and I’m going to take a punt and (unscientifically) claim that 8 in 10 French are NOT Fascists.”

              Le Pen’s protesters are not representative of the people. The vast majority of French people wouldn’t vote for them and reject them absolutely. That’s why Marine Le Pen, like her father before her, has tried to soften the party’s image and play to the gallery.

              I see it as your enemy’s enemy; Macron is now widely loathed and for a lot of people, it’s good to see him humbled. That doesn’t translate to support for those doing the humbling IMHO.

  7. Enough is Enough 8

    “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”

    If you don’t understand that Trump has a huge, and very loyal supporter base, then you don’t really understand US politics. He is possibly the most divisive politician in history, but that does not mean that he is unpopular.

    In 2015 when he announced he was standing every commentator smugly predicted he would lose the primaries, then confidently predicted he would lose the election.

    And here we are again. Idiots making the same mistake.

    • Trump lost the popular vote and the current Republican party approval ratings are pants. Plus, as I wrote, he’s likely to be in jail next election, so the only orange thing about him won’t be his tan, it’ll be his prison jumpsuit. And anyway, the narrative of the post is that the likes of Trump have knackered traditional conservative parties, not that populists aren’t popular.

      • Enough is Enough 8.1.1

        And there is every possibility that he will lose the popular vote again but still retain the presidency?

        Didn’t mean to hijack your post. I just get frustrated with people (not necessarily you) concluding that because Trump is is a buffoon, then there is no way he can win.

        • te reo putake 8.1.1.1

          Ha, no problem! Like a lot of people, I was gobsmacked when Trump won. It’d take too long to pick over exactly how he got there, but appealing to blue collar workers by promising fantasy jobs in mines and steel production certainly helped swing mid west states his way.

          And the bizarre and totally unnecessary electoral college system does make a win from second place possible. However, I can’t see Trump working the oracle twice (even if he’s not locked up). The jobs aren’t there, the wall ain’t built, his schtick is looking tired.

          Never say never, however, the Democrats do look set to take the lot next election. The recent mid-terms were solid for them and the next senate race in 2020 exposes more Republican held seats to the vote. This is because only a portion of the senate seats go up for election every two years and the recent midterms mostly involved seats already held by the Democrats.

          So, in short, yeah, he could win. But he’d be the lamest lame duck President ever. Duck a l’Orange, if you’ll excuse the pun!

  8. CHCOff 9

    In terms of bargaining power with the British public (not the EU)relating to Brexit , the Torys now have defined themselves and so may now be dependent on the DUP – the Irish Unionists!

    So the DUP now with a delivered definitive bargaining position certainty to the situation, could now be trading with a Labour party that wants power, how much can we trust you to a alternative brexit, in the eyes of the British public

    It’s a possibility, isn’t it, now there is more certainty introduced into the situation.

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