25 November, 2016

Organisational credibility

Populists and authoritarians weaken or destroy impartial organisations of good governance - because opposing views challenge their legitimacy.

1. The Office of Budgetary Responsibility published an unfavourable economic forecast, in part driven by Brexit.

2. The Daily Mail, the second biggest newspaper in the UK, trashed the OBR and its head honcho.

3. Senior Conservative politicians (Jacob Rees-Mogg, Ian Duncan Smith) joined in the trashing.

These objectors didn't present a model, predictions from sound economics, or evidence missed by the OBR (lol). They just didn't like the message.

Without strong, impartial organisations informing government, there are fewer checks on authoritarianism. The attack by the Daily Mail went unchallenged by Government.

The attackers are emboldened.

24 November, 2016


Nick McDonald, Labour Councillor for Nottinghan, was the straw that broke my back.

More precisely, his 3000 word essay on Labour Uncut did. He says, in short:

  • We're in a new dark age of populism
  • Trump, Farage and co. are Great Recession fallout
  • Angry voters don't want far left politics...
  • ...although I understand why the little darlings keep voting for Corbyn
  • Labour shouldn't superficially chase immigration votes, focus-group style
  • We need to understand the anger...
  • ...that gave us Trump and Brexit
  • Rapid change!
  • To solve, the Left should harp on about education, technology, economics, infrastructure, tax, blah blah blah blah blah
  • We failed people. We need to organise, and next time we'll win.

No Nick. No. Fair does for your Keynesian argument for increased public spending. Now if Labour shouted that in 2008-9, perhaps we wouldn't be in the shit now. Perhaps you did, but Labour - and the Conservatives - didn't. Whatever.

You want policies of the future? Like the universal basic income, which your idol Owen Smith labelled "not credible"?

Nick is so clueless it's not even funny. Watching his managerial mind dancing around the cold, hard truth is painful. Labour managerialism is dead. People don't trust you. The left, for selling out. The right, for having the choice of big C conservatism over you. There is no place for your centre-right politics anymore.

The left was defeated by Reagan and Thatcher. The right grew strong. With the Great Recession, the right's dominance is over. Now people turn to further left- and right-wing politicians. Corbyn's Labour is the largest political party in Europe. Britain voted to leave the centre-right EU. Those are the facts on the ground.

We've seen this story before. Bumbling, centre-right politicians kowtowing to populism. An economic downturn followed by recovery - for the rich. Deflection of blame from the bankers, to the government, to society's out-groups - with austerity and misery. Hatred piling up on the poor. The old. The young. The social security claimants. Renters. Homeowners. The browns. The non-English speakers. The urbanites. The rurals. The intellectuals.

Britain is a land with a major newspaper calling judges "Enemies of the People". With a major political party mulling over lists of foreign workers. With citizenship checks everywhere. With tightening internal security. Jokes about Godwin's principle fall flat.

Nick, you're too late.

The question for the Left is not how to imagine future glory. It's how to avert, contain, mitigate and protect ourselves against the coming world war.

Of course, no-one knows there'll be a war. My prior probability is 50% in the next 30 years - which I've chosen to display in the form of a Doomsday clock (inspiration). If events transpire to make war more likely - in my eyes - it'll move closer to midnight. Like Russia's annexation of the Crimea. Events moving the other way push it back. Like, er, Jill Stein's recount campaign making Hillary POTUS? (I jest)

Because this is the issue to discuss now. Not just a possible world war - but all the accompanying nastiness. Monitoring, detention, torture, and genocide of dissidents, intellectuals, Leftists, Muslims, benefit claimants or whatever out-group of the month: nightmare scenarios. That are more likely in this Britain of hate.