Monday, 11 May 2015

Socialism RIP



The day after the general election a friend wrote on Facebook “We really need to build a strong, effective and unashamed left wing movement to fight for people's rights and build a socialist alternative!”  Who is the custodian of this ‘socialist alternative’ I wondered; perhaps he will tell me over a bottle or two of red wine in the early evening sunshine in the garden one of these days soon.

 

Unashamed or otherwise, the very phrase ‘socialist alternative’ no longer chimes because it conjures up overflowing dustbins, smelly streets, power cuts and water rationing of the early 1970s.  Socialism began to dig its own grave during the reign of Ted Heath and begun to die in the Thatcher era. The psychological seduction of the ‘Market’ embedded by Thatcher is being continued today by Cameron.  It has one clear objective, the death of Socialism. Unable to beat them, Blair decided to join them. We are all property owning shareholders now, or at least 'aspire' to be. These are the main social groups to whom Thatcher and Blair appealed.

 

Regardless of valiant efforts, Syriza, Greece’s ‘Coalition of the Radical Left’ will in the end be beaten into submission by the Troika (EU, IMF and the European Central Bank).  Here in the UK we willingly acquiesce to the more humiliating aspects of zero contract hours and other such indignities. The ‘Market’ is king, for now.


Seven years after the demise of Blair’s New Labour project, the Party cannot decide whether they represent the aspiring or squeezed ‘middle’ or ‘working people’. The latter being a euphemism used by both major parties referring to those households where at least one and often two adults might be working but they struggle to pay the bills and sometimes have to access the food bank.

Ed Miliband fooled himself into believing that his Party could reclaim the pre New Labour ground. He misjudged how far to the centre right first Thatcherism then New Labour had taken the vast majority of the country. In the end he had to fall on his sword, just as Syriza will have to do or take Greece out of the Euro Zone.

 

The problem for Labour is if they face one direction, they find voter apathy and huge numbers not even registered to vote.  Even the areas of Glasgow with the worst set of indicators of multi-deprivation anywhere in the UK voted SNP, after decades of Labour neglect. Facing the direction of the ‘aspiring middle’ very few of that constituency trust them. What to do? The conflict at the heart of Labour is that they do not know which way to face and it is impossible to be two-faced; although that is not too difficult for most politicians I would have thought.


Labour’s woes will be revisited ad nauseam for some time to come. Members of the old guard including Blair, Mandelson and Darling, and even a newby to Parliament but the offspring of an old guard (Son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock wins in Aberavon) have dropped by to offer advice.

Still shell-shocked and in deep mourning, the Party is embarking on a long and hard dark night of the soul journey to engage and embrace its core purpose, perhaps even its very reason for existing other than to swap places with the Tories once in a decade.  Straight out of the trap, eyeing the jewellery even before the corpse is cold, as one commentary put it, are the young turks, staking their claim to leadership. Sorry guys, I hate to say this but I reckon that post Blair, Brown and #Milifandom, the erstwhile keepers of socialism could well be a spent force.

 

And what about poor still quite young Nick Clegg and his very small band of less than merry Lib Dems? For them Politics: The rose garden romance is well and truly over ...  But it must be galling to be so unceremoniously ousted, helped by the somewhat treacherous hand of his rose garden political partner, although Nick did stymie Dave on occasion (Fury as Lib Dems kill off Saatchi Bill). Last Thursday was payback time. Alas, Dave omitted to tell Nick that those 23 seats that Tories targeted in order to win belonged to the Liberal Democrats, and he was going to throw shedloads of money at bagging them. Cleggie should be real angry, but hey that's life in politics

 

Meanwhile Dave has been given time to build his own camouflaged bunker to withstand the impending onslaught from the Nightmare on Elm Street faction of his own party.

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