May 29

Across the Pond

No, not Amelia who I was surprised to learn has moved into the Marvelverse as Nebula. To be fair there’s a lot of makeup but I should have been paying closer attention.

This is a take on the state of play in the snap British Parliamentary elections. Should even a middle case scenario of losses not exceeding their worst case projections eventuate, the Quisling Blairite Tory-lite Neo Liberal PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party- aka members of Parliament and their staffs) will be hard put to not be de-listed (removed by their local Labour Party and replaced by someone else).

For them this is an existential threat, while it is understandable that in the face of present polling (they have no future in the Labour Party where their policies are very unpopular and viewed as traitorous) they are looking for financial and political backing to create a “centrist” splinter party, there is no sign of electoral support and at best they can expect a future as bleak and hopeless as the Liberal Democrats who preceded them and then lost all credibility by toadying to the Austerity Conservatives.

Labour won’t have them, the Tories will use them, ignore them, and cast them aside. Either way they are politically dead.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Surprising Gains
Robert Kuttner, Huffington Post
05/28/2017 06:18 pm ET

Until a few weeks ago, the general assumption in Britain was that the Labour Party was doomed to a sweeping defeat in the June 8 general election. In April, the Tories had an overwhelming lead in the polls.

Labour looked to lose dozens of seats and be consigned to political oblivion.

Well, that was then.

In recent weeks, Corbyn gained dramatically on May. Even the horrible bombing in Manchester, the kind of gruesome event that normally causes voters to rally behind the government, did not slow Labour’s momentum.

If the election were held today, the governing Tory party would lose seats. Labour is in striking distance of winning a majority, and the momentum appears to be with Labour. So, what on earth happened?

First, May’s ploys struck a lot of voters as too clever by half. She seems like an opportunist, first opposing Brexit, then supporting it; first promising not to call a snap election, then changing her mind. Just another scheming politician.

But something more fundamental could at work. When Corbyn made public Labour’s platform, known in the U.K. as its manifesto, (“For the Many, Not the Few,”) the initial commentary from the usual suspects was that the program was hopelessly leftwing – raising taxes on the affluent, increasing public investment, re-nationalizing the national rail grid, capping rents — that sort of outmoded stuff.

Well, it turns out that a lot of ordinary Brits have been hungry for this kind of program. They certainly didn’t get it from the last two Labour governments, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who joined the globalist, neoliberal parade.

A lot of the protest vote for Brexit came from disaffected Labour voters, who concluded that their party had joined the ruling elite. But Corbyn may bring them back to Labour.

While Corbyn is an old-fashioned class warrior, class in Britain has not gone away; and a lot of the British left-behinds are evidently looking for just that sort of champion. Corbyn is similar to Bernie Sanders, and not just ideologically. A lot of people who may not agree with all of his program have a grudging respect for his honesty.

And Corbyn may have drawn the perfect opponent in Theresa May, who looks more conniving and opportunist by the day.

The point is that a great deal of the mass disaffection from politics and conventional politicians can go right, or it can go left. Sanders or Trump; Le Pen or Melanchon; Brexit or Corbyn.

The difference between Corbyn and Sanders is that Corbyn is in a head-to-head race against an establishment candidate in a general election. He may not win, but these are complicated cross currents—and he was counted out far too soon.

3 comments

  1. Vent Hole

  2. thanks for pointing this out. I very rarely read puffho but this is a good piece. this is a very interesting election in Britain, isn’t it?

    I think you and I agree with this writer that the Blairite Labour party moved far too close in policy to the Tories and were justly punished for it in the last election. Corbyn has the radical idea of sticking to what his party has always said it stood for.

    Kuttner forgets to mention the Conservative manifesto, which I think deserves a lot of credit for May’s drop in the polls. From what I’ve read it’s more good old austerity with a very unpopular new twist that’s been labeled the “dementia tax”.

    I’d still bet on the Tories, but calling a snap election and losing seats weakens May as a leader.

    If you’re Corbyn and you win the election, do you cancel brexit? I certainly think brexit is a terrible idea, and I also think that a piece of his vote will be anti-brexit protest voters who don’t care about the Labour manifesto. But it’s the Blairites not Corbyn’s faction of Labour that are strongly pro-EU.

    1. Surprisingly Brexit has vanished as an issue except to the extent it’s driving down the Liberal Democrats who have focused on it to the exclusion of everything else. Labour Remainers are more exercised by the terribleness of the Tories.

      Hmm… any domestic parallels? I can’t seem to think of any.

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