Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The Trick Of Winning Power Under Capitalism.

“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” - Varys to Tyrion in Game of Thrones.

CORBYN’S DEFEAT, and the defeat of the Labour Party his leadership made possible, is a defeat for the Left everywhere. All over the western world social-democrats are pointing to the British Labour Party’s electoral catastrophe and saying: “See? This is what happens when you try to sell “Democratic-Socialism” to those not already convinced that it’s a good idea.” What happened to Labour’s “Red Wall” will be used to undermine AOC; batter Bernie Sanders; and demoralise Elizabeth Warren. Closer to home, it will be used as a prophylactic against the merest hint of Corbyn-style thinking inside the New Zealand Labour Party.

The question is: What lessons should democratic-socialists, themselves, draw from the Corbyn Labour Party’s historic defeat? Because the UK General Election has more lessons to teach us than Dominic Cummings has wickedly clever ideas. Not the least of which is that you receive fewer scratches when you pat a cat from its head to its tail, rather than from its tail to its head.

It is one of the great paradoxes of radical left-wing politics: that the people who rail most uncompromisingly against the evils of capitalism are genuinely shocked and horrified when capitalism unleashes a fair old swag of those evils against them.

Jeremy Corbyn was unfairly pilloried in the media, they complain. Every major media outlet was against him. The guy couldn’t get a break – not even from The Guardian and the BBC!

Well, duh! What the hell did they expect? That the leader of a party promising to restore the trade unions’ right to engage in “secondary picketing” was going to be given a fair shake by newspapers owned by billionaires? That Rupert Murdoch, the man who broke the power of the print unions in the 1980s, was going to say: “Come on in, Jezza! Sit down and tell me how I can help you devise the sort of inheritance tax that will break the power of families like my own forever.”

If you accept the proposition that we are all living in a capitalist society, then, surely, you must also accept that anyone posing a genuine threat to that society will be subjected to unrelenting political attack? And, doesn’t that oblige you, as the democratic-socialist leader of a serious electoral party, to offer the capitalist press the smallest possible target? In fact, wouldn’t the smart move be to convince the mainstream media bosses that you weren’t any kind of democratic-socialist at all?

Come to think of it, wouldn’t it mean doing exactly what Tony Blair did? Making the pilgrimage to Rupert Murdoch’s corporate lair and convincing him that from you and your “sensible” Labour Party he had absolutely nothing to fear? That way, when the election campaign got rolling, The Sun could come out and endorse you, and urge its readers to vote Labour.

Obviously, I’m not saying that Tony Blair was any kind of democratic-socialist. What I am suggesting, however, is that if you are a Labour leader who genuinely subscribes to the principles of democratic-socialism, then it would probably help a lot to keep your true ideological colours under wraps. Tactically, at least, it would make more sense for the powers-that-be to see you as a reasonable moderate – not a scary radical. Impress the electorate with your economic wisdom; demonstrate your deep understanding of, and sympathy for, the hopes and aspirations of your core working-class supporters. Speak with pride and passion about the contribution their party has made to the nation’s history. Whatever you do, don’t refuse to sing God Save The Queen. It would also probably help if you refrained from meeting with representatives of terrorist organisations – especially those hostile to the State of Israel!

A democratic-socialist leader possessed of a sophisticated strategic sense would understand that election manifestos are best restricted to promoting policies that the electorate actually wants – not policies his (or her) comrades believe the electorate should want. Let the drift of events – economically and socially – propel the party in directions which the capitalists may not like, but which they no longer feel able to redirect. Most importantly, identify the one reform most likely to undermine the institutions upon which their opponents’ rely most heavily for protection. Implement it early, fast, and without compromise.

Think of Jim Bolger, Bill Birch and the Employment Contracts Act. Radically reducing the reach and power of the trade unions – the working class’s most effective defence against exploitation and declining living standards – was the one reform most likely to enhance and entrench the power of capital. The moment it became law, everything else National and its backers wanted to do was made ten times easier.

It is worth recalling that the unprecedented scope and radicalism of the Employment Contracts Act had not been signalled to the electorate prior to National racking-up a massive majority in the 1990 General Election. Bill Birch had reassured New Zealand workers that their hard-won industrial rights – guaranteed hours and penal rates – would not be affected by the changes National was proposing. By the time the draconian provisions of the bill became clear, the leaders of the trade unions had lost all confidence in their ability to prevent its passage. This loss of confidence was crucial to the National Government’s success. A successful democratic-socialist government should be similarly positioned to demoralise their capitalist opponents.

Perhaps, then, that is the exercise democratic-socialists around the world should now be undertaking. Quietly identifying the single reform that would effectively disarm the capitalists and fundamentally diminish their ability to effectively resist the introduction of further progressive economic, social and environmental reforms.

As Varys in Game of Thrones so wisely tells Tyrion: “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

It’s high time the Left learned the trick of winning power under capitalism: positioning a very big man in such a way that he casts a very small and non-threatening shadow – until he doesn’t.

Jezza, old son, they saw you coming!

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 17 December 2019.

45 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

" keep your true ideological colours under wraps."
In other words lie to the electorate, just like right-wing politicians do. I mean they all shade the truth a little but just at the moment the right – I'm not even sure as I've said before you can consider it lying, because they have no concept of the truth. Tony Blair was indeed no threat to the Rupert Murdoch's of this world, as he was a neoliberal champion who just played around a little the edges, mainly for the advantage of the middle class. He also had very little concept of truth, particularly in his foreign policy. I think I'd like politicians with at least a few principles.

Chris Trotter said...

Well, Guerrilla Surgeon, the events of the past week present you with a stark choice. You can either vote for the honest democratic-socialist, who tells their opponents exactly what they believe and will do if elected; or, you can vote for the democratic-socialist in disguise - who might just win.

Because you can't have it both ways. You can't decry the power of Capitalism's hegemonic castle - and then also complain when its victims find a way of slipping between the cracks in its walls.

You either watch left-wing politics - or you play it.

Anonymous said...

"...identifying the single reform that would effectively disarm the capitalists and fundamentally diminish their ability to effectively resist the introduction of further progressive economic, social and environmental reforms."

CGT.

BlisteringAttack said...

Murdoch likes it when politicians come calling. And he can be quite vicious when they turn on him.

Goff Whitlam knew all about that...

Kat said...

In other words, "keep your powder dry".....certainly worked for Oliver Cromwell all those centuries ago in Ireland.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well here's the thing. Corbyn was saying things that he knows he would never get through Parliament. In this sense the man is an idiot. Your policy statements shouldn't just reflect your personal wishes, or the wishes of a small group of your party, but what you believe you can actually produce.
In all honesty, I would rather play the game where we try to make politicians more honest. Trump and Johnson are making a mockery of that, and the press is complicit. There is now very little regard for the truth, lies proliferate through social media, and if our reaction is simply to tell more lies, I don't want to play the game at all.
And I think you're probably underestimating the effects of brexit on the British election. If Corbyn had come out in favour of remain rather than dithering, I think the result would have at least been closer. But I suspect he is at heart a leaver. From the analyses I've seen, old people voted overwhelmingly for leave, and they just happen to be in places where their votes counted. Still, they will all die eventually and the young people who voted overwhelmingly for remain well come into their own. But I still don't think it's right to lie to them. That's one of the reasons they are so cynical about today's politics.

Odysseus said...

It wasn't capitalism that defeated Corbyn and his Trotskyist enablers. It was the common sense and powerful conscience of the Britisn people who rejected his vile proposition of Anti-Semitism, Communist confiscation and hatred of one's country. A great evil has been confronted and destroyed. It should indeed stand as a lesson to the Left everywhere, including New Zealand.

Kat said...

Is Simon Bridges regarded as "old" or "young". He would argue that lying is just politics and whatever gets you into power is all just part of the "game".

I agree with you GS the "game" has descended into mockery and until we have more politicians with the honesty and integrity of our Prime Minister then its difficult to seriously participate.

However this descent into mockery is fast becoming a "game" of survival of the honest, and honestly that survival requires a cunning plan.

Mike Grimshaw said...

If politics is the game of getting elected then ensuring you get elected is the only way a social democrat can succeed within capitalism. In other words, if you want to change the status quo you need to get into power. But, on the other hand, promising to change the status quo and not dong so when in power ensures you lose support even when reduced to opposition status.

The stark reality that idealists forget is that the left has to operate within capitalism; how it decides to act will determine its future.

Wayne Mapp said...

What you are proposing is basically lying to the electorate.

The experience in New Zealand of Labour doing that in 1984 and National doing that in 1990 is why we got MMP. Since then, the two main parties have been careful not to do anything significant that they have not promised to the electorate.

It seems that is a lesson absorbed by all the major parties in the UK, Canada, Australia, the UK and in fact the US. Basically parties who win do what they promised.

A good example was the privatisation debate in the 2011 election in New Zealand. Essentially National won the debate (they were comfortably re-elected). The policy was enacted exactly as promised, no more than 50% of the electricity companies was privatised.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Wayne Mapp.

No, Wayne, I'm suggesting that it is extremely foolish to make it easy for your opponents to destroy you.

To: Jens Meder.

Endlessly repeating the same words and phrases does not amount to an argument, Jens. Engage with this blog - or create one of your own.

peterpeasant said...

Capitalists dominate.

Capitalists Rule.
They have the ability and power.
They could learn to be less greedy (self defeating, think climate change).

Changing the power hungry mindset of humans is the biggest problem.
Let us just stop buying unnecessary and useless junk.

All we need is shelter (clothing) food and help.
Ok medical help should be available (the cost depends on whether you are a democrat or a republican
Actually, after the somewhat sobering effects of WW!, the Great Depression, WW2 capitalism did very well. So did the non capitalist population.
Governments lost the plot in the 1970/80/90's.
The "mother of all budgets" effectively led us to poverty struck homelessness.
It is not capitalism that is a problem but rather greed. Ask Gordon gecko.

Anonymous said...

Chris, you are looking at this backwards.
As was UK Labour.

See Danyl McLauchlan's hierarchy of political needs:
https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/09/the_mclauchlan_hierarchy_of_political_needs.html
(The much missed Dim Post is no longer available, so I'll link to the kiwiblog article that references it)

Point being, Corbyn and Momentum (Labour?) failed at the 1st level "Politicians and parties who are not incompetent, weird or downright terrifying". They never got near the top level "Policy"

From the Left, Josie Pagani provides a good summary of why UK Labour lost:
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12294455

From the Right, Kiwiblog, (rather long):
https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2019/12/how_boris_won.html


A summary :)
1) The UK voted for Brexit. Most of the political calss and media have spent the last 3 years blocking it. Conservatives under Johnson promised it, and started delivering. Labour's policy was not to have a policy!

2) Corbyn's far left beliefs, esp support for the IRA and Hamas, and anti semitism. You may think this is unfounded, but the many members of Labour who quit over it (including his deputy), and the Chief Rabbi didn't. Nor it seems, did the great British Public.
Hell, terrorist stabbed people in the streets, and Corbyn's first response was a tweet (soon deleted) accusing the police of murder!

Interested in your response.
Thanks.

Tom Hunter said...

mean they all shade the truth a little but just at the moment the right – I'm not even sure as I've said before you can consider it lying, because they have no concept of the truth

Love the little concession: at the moment. So nice to hear from one-eyed bigots that it was better in the past and that there's hope for the future.

In the meantime I'm thrilled to learn that Corbyn and the rest of the Far Left have decided to learn nothing from this debacle. But then Corbyn and friends were always more about taking over the Labour Party than winning elections. And they've got much better control of the machinery of Labour than Militant Tendency did back in the early 80's. British Labour to win in 2029.

But unless you're a full-on communist why would you be upset about them losing so badly? And Corbyn and company are far closer to that terrible ideology than they are to Democratic-Socialism, let alone Social Democracy! And I don't believe for one moment that had they got their hands on the power of the state that it would not all have devolved to the same authoritarian misery that it always does, most recently with Venezuela.

Anyway, a couple of articles for you chew on:
Boris's Red Tory Victory

and from across the Atlantic, Mr Gay Brit himself, Andrew Sullivan with Boris Johnson Is Showing Western Politicians How to Win.

Fortunately I know you'll dismiss all this, but I don't think fibbing will enable your political heros to escape being a target.

Brendan McNeill said...

I'm pleased to support Guerilla Surgeon's comments on this post. With confidence in our institutions at an all time low, encouraging politicians to lie or be 'economical with the truth' is guaranteed to destroy trust completely. Then what?

Corbyn lost the election because he was a particularly unlovely individual who actively supported some of the worlds most violent terrorists including the IRA and Hamas. He loathed his countries institutions, refused to sing God save the Queen, was anti-semitic, led a party of 'woke' liberals who cared more about issues of race, gender and personal pronouns than they did about working class Brits who voted Brexit and wanted to see their democratic wishes carried out by their elected politicians.

Labour promoted a policy platform that was as radical as it was wildly unaffordable. They promised nationalisation of key industries, including 10% of each of the top 300+ public listings on their sharemarket, and they are surprised at their loss?

Democracy requires at least a half credible opposition that is not about to declare a plague upon all your houses should they be successful. Who knows what Boris will deliver, but compared to Corbyn he looks like a safe pair of hands with the added bonus of a sense of humour thrown in.

Lying to the electorate. Good grief.




Nick J said...

Seems to me that there are more valid ways of looking at this. I watched Richard Starkey, one of the great historians talk about Brexit with regard to the politics of Gladstone and Disraeli. Where we see the conflict between Left and Right (horizontal axis) he sees the contradictions between liberalism and conservatism (vertical axis). That indicates left and right liberalism versus left and right conservatism. Put that way neo liberalism is the natural opponent of conservatism as it was in Victoria times.

Jens Meder said...

But since political evidence here and in Britain indicates - as hinted by yourself, Chris(?) - that to move leftward from "Blairite" Labour in Britain (and Ardern/Robertson/Peters government policy here) is not likely to be a recipe for political victory in Britain nor here. -

I wish to apologize for my unimaginatively repeated words and phrases and appeal for understanding and advice - how else is it possible to get discussed and debated the mildly innovative ideas involved ?

As an open-minded enthusiast, I will accept and even feel relieved of a responsibility for spreading the truth as seen by me, if the "Ownership Society" or "peoples capitalism" concept is shown to be socio-economically impractical and non-achievable Utopia.

David George said...

A great day for democracy; the people have spoken.
Hitching your wagon to a failed ideology (or any ideology come to that) is bad enough but government is mostly about competency and honest hard work; qualities absent from the British labour party if this is any indication. https://youtu.be/cYZ262b7wBI
Sorry Chris, the ends don't justify the means. You scare me sometimes.

Len Richards said...

Their is no trick to winning power.
There is a trick in maintaining power as a small minority of rulers in the face of an overwhelming number of those who are ruled. The shadow of power is cast wide and relies on the mass acceptance of the "unstated assumptions" of how society operates (along with the back-up of state violence).
To change the paradigm of society takes patient work with and by "active change agents" targeting the open-minded middle ground. I am paraphrasing Donella Meadows here.
You are right in that the revolutionaries need to learn how to connect with their potential supporters and win majority support. Sectarianism has always been the curse of the left.

Anonymous said...

The biggest lesson out of Britain was actually that people do not vote on the basis of economics or class any more. They vote on culture war and social signals (which Brexit is really a stand-in for).

As Corbyn was getting demolished in the working class North, he was cleaning up among the well-educated urban liberals - he won Putney and Canterbury while losing Bolsover. In short, the same trends that have turned West Virginia into a solidly Republican state and California's Orange County Democratic are now running rampant in Britain. British Labour might as well change its name at this point, given who its voters now are.

(A good mate of mine has suggested that New Zealand, outside places like the West Coast, is actually immunised against this sort of realignment, on the basis that we never properly industrialised. Our working class is in the big cities - which continue to vote Left - not smaller towns rooted in heavy industry).

David Stone said...

There's a well researched and thought out discussion on the election here... https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/17/letter-from-britain-why-labour-lost/
I have to agree with GS and Wayne Chris.
When I read this first on the D B I thought you were ruefully and cynically describing what might be needed to win with a socialist agenda . Not that you were advocating that approach, But by your responses to various comments as GS's ... "You can either vote for the honest democratic-socialist, who tells their opponents exactly what they believe and will do if elected; or, you can vote for the democratic-socialist in disguise - who might just win.
Because you can't have it both ways.... " It seems that you think that it is necessary to solicit voter support from voters who you do not expect would vote for you if they understood what you intended to do when elected. In the context of a broadly socialist agenda that would seem to suggest that that is not what you think the majority want. So they shouldn't have it if democracy is to function. But do you not believe that a majority care enough about the least fortunate minority's to form a decent fair society? That might be true of corse .
But for my part I would not vote a second time for a party that took that approach, and I assume most others would not either unless they become so cynical of politicians because they all seem to lie so easily and automatically that they don't expect them to do what they say. There's a lot of that sentiment about too, reflected in the poorer and poorer turnout at election time.
So I hope you are wrong about the tactics Corbyn should have used but I acknowledge that you could be right, but Corbyn was never going to take that approach so you are really talking about what someone else should do and saying that Corbyn is the wrong kind of person to be a political leader. Maybe that's true too but it's very depressing.
D J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Love the little concession: at the moment. So nice to hear from one-eyed bigots that it was better in the past and that there's hope for the future."
Nice to see your comments becoming more coherent Tom although to be honest they seem to be much more coherent when you're using invective. Must be something that gets the juices flowing.
That "little concession" means not that things were necessarily better years ago, in a general sense but at least conservatives in the US and Britain had some principles. The present crop seem to have lost them all. Which means that people who support them have to some extent abandoned them as well. The older and more conservative elements of the British working class gave up their principles for brexit. Oh well, their kids will probably never forgive them for it. There seems to be some vague idea that out there in the harsh cold world there is some sort of loving Commonwealth of Nations that will take British goods in exchange for food as we used to. Not going to happen.
I did read your analyses though, and I sort of wonder if you read them both through to the end? Because at least one of them isn't particularly sanguine about Boris's chances of establishing........... well, whatever in his confused mind he wants to establish and keeping the working class vote. (Because all he has is the older working class vote – there's a generational divide here.) That's the extreme right wing one if my memory serves.
I think the most telling analysis I have read suggests that this is a one-off transaction by those older working class people who want brexit, and given that Bojo is almost certainly not going to keep his other promises to them, once they get that they will revert. All I can say is thank God I'm at one remove from given that it is almost certain that British living standards will go down once they get it – unless they establish some sort of face-saving relationship with the EU that enables them to trade with it, and the way things are going I'm not sanguine about that.

As far as Corbyn goes – well, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter – and while I don't like the man he was certainly unjustly pilloried in the press, including the Guardian which should have known better. I just had a comment modded on the Guardian for expressing that view, a fairly mild criticism I might say considering how I could have put it. (I expect a whole lot of letters to the editor from you freedom of speech people about that incidentally.) I recommend the LSE article to those who haven't read it.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jens. You are hereby relieved.

"As an experiment, the push for the ‘ownership society’ was probably a policy that had
a very low chance of success"


https://www.newsweek.com/so-much-bushs-ownership-society-92163

David George said...

The claim that the BBC and the Guardian helped sabotage labour just doesn't quite ring true. Here are the results of some research into the balance of the BBC: "in the decade 2005–2015 of 4,275 interviewees on Today talking about the EU only 132 (3.2%) were opposed to the UK’s membership. And the bias persisted after the referendum result right up to the present moment." https://unherd.com/2019/12/sorry-auntie-you-had-it-coming/
A quick scan of recent output from these two shows they are deeply partisan against (small c) conservatives and their values. The Guardian has become virtually unreadable; predictable, poorly written and researched with an activist agenda, it's readership now largely confined to urban wets. It's difficult to imagine it has much influence among the "Proles". Calling folk bigoted, racist, xenophobic, ignorant, stupid Little Englanders will have that effect I guess, same as it did for Labour.

Giles said...

I am going to try and answer this. I am going to struggle because the idea is so simple and yet so willfully misunderstood because it is confused with capitalism as if they are the same thing.

The left should wholeheartedly embrace FREE MARKETS AND COMPETITION.

The Right say they love Free Markets and Competition, except they don't really.

Competition is hideous. It is hard work, super profits are competed away. You spend the whole timing working , tinkering adapting to competitive pressures. Capital is harder to accumulate. You need to hire good people and be able to keep them.
Free markets and Competition does not mean free of regulation ( regulation is simply the rules of the game) it really means free of rent seeking monopolists.
Pretty sure this is what Adam Smith meant- and the right can't argue with him.

Free markets are Competition sounds like a good idea, and actually is a good idea. It is the idea that keep on giving.

Sell it as allowing entrepreneurs and innovators to compete and giving businesses the freedom to flourish.

What happens is that the right ends up fighting each other , they do not have enough power or energy to fight the left.

The Right will moan and say almost anything not to have to compete.

But the Right can't argue with it because they cannot dare say out load that what they really want is a nice safe monopoly.

We live in a capitalist world, not a world of free markets and competition. The tricky bit will be in breaking up the cozy monopolies ( and near monopolies) that have developed NZ wide in most big sectors eg food industry.

So the left should promote a local Adam Smith Institute that advocates for Free Markets and Competition.

That is what I think anyway.

Cheers and Merry Christmas.


KJT. said...

All the British election proved, was that a right wing press, conservatives and the establishment side of Labour, will work with the right wing media,to bury with lies and propaganda, any candidate that genuinely advocates for left wing policies.

Policies, by the way, that repeated polls on policies shows, are wanted by 80% of people.

It looks like the process, of right wing Oligarchs turning Anglo Saxon Countries into third world levels of dysfunction, is unstoppable.

KJT. said...

https://eand.co/this-is-how-a-society-dies-35bdc3c0b854

"What makes European societies — which are far, far more successful than ours — successful is that people are not battling for self-preservation, and so they are able to cooperate to better one another instead. At least not nearly so much and so lethally as we are. They are assured of survival. They therefore have resources to share with others. They don’t have to battle for the very things we take away from each other — because they simply give them to one another. That has kept them richer than us, too. The average American now lives in effective poverty — unable to afford healthcare, housing, and basic bills. They must choose. The European doesn’t have to, precisely because they invested in one another — and those investment made them richer than us."

Anonymous said...

Yeah... nah.

If you want to know why Labour lost, just listen to some of the people from these places who decided to vote Tory. They're what would happen if YouTube comments coalesced into sentient beings. A lot of them are elderly, ignorant, racist, or, alternatively, elderly ignorant racists. The kind of morons who post on Kiwiblog or read the Daily Mail and spend their days fulminating about immigrants or Muslims. You just can't win with these people.

In the UK politics just isn't going to make your life better–it's overwhelmed by stupid. You'd be better off trying to work your way around some of the more obvious lunacies or leaving, like the Scots will.


Tom Hunter said...

You should also read this article from "unherd.co,", which puts up good, meaty stuff: Does Labour understand why it lost?.

Here's a couple of key parts:

Perhaps a mission can be discerned within the screech-sheet manifesto of Jess Phillip’s Twitterfeed: Boris-is-a-racist, Boris-hates-women, Boris-eats-your-kids, I’m authentic, me, I care therefore you can’t.
...
As though no-one who isn’t Labour could either care or devise a politics to help the troubled souls in our midst. They have no idea why they lost.

I do. He’s called Keith, and he’s my husband. He’s never been political — once or twice in the distant past, when we lived in Hackney, I dragged him out leafletting with me. He loathed it, and told me to stop asking. He’s a working-class Plymothian, an electrician, but with a capable brain and a heart every bit as large as Jess Phillips’s.


[shrugs shoulders] Sandard Leftist take on their opponents: see almost any Guerilla Surgeon comment on this blog.

Do you think men and women like Keith don’t notice, Jess, when you claim that only socialists like you care about people? That his vote in the Brexit referendum was tarnished, because he doesn’t have a degree? Do you believe him so arithmetically incapable that he couldn’t predict what your policies would do to the savings accrued from decades of average-income work?
...
Labour treated Keith – and the millions like him – like a fool, Jess, like your property, to be told what to think and how to speak and how to vote. How to feel shame for his instinct for Leave.


Again, so far, so normal for the Left. But the results are more than just about one election:

But they can, and do, have consequences. On Thursday, without telling me, Keith took time off work. For the first time in his life, he went to the Tory office on the High Street, picked up lists of names, and walked round the homes of our neighbours, in the rain, in the dark, encouraging Conservatives to come out and vote.
...
The dramatic irony! Labour finally achieved its ambition to empower and politicise the working-class: Keith walked 15 miles on Thursday, but he’d have crawled over broken glass to keep people like Corbyn from winning seats like Barnet.


I'd be willing to say that most Lefties who read that will say that "Keith" does not exist. After all, his husband who wrote the article, is not a Socialist.

I don't think more lying is going to convince the likes of Kieth.

David George said...

Anonymous: "elderly, ignorant, racist ......... The kind of morons who post on Kiwiblog or read the Daily Mail and spend their days fulminating about immigrants or Muslims. You just can't win with these people."
You just don't get it do you; it's not about "winning" nor is it helpful to demonise people you disagree with. We have elections and free speech that we may reach a balance, some sort of consensus and that bad ideas and ideologies don't come dominate the direction of society.
Basic stuff.

Jens Meder said...

Yes Guerilla Surgeon, but how could an unexplained and non-debated opinion of the "ownership society" concept having a very low chance of success be credible -

when ownership means more economic security and prosperity(and responsibility) for all who have it, which is the overwhelming majority in any developed mixed capitalist democracy ?

And is not some meaningful personal ownership by all citizens more egalitarian than our current division into haves and have-nots, and more democratic than government monopoly capitalism or the totalitarian "dictatorship of the proletariat" ?

What are your substantiated opinions on that, Guerilla Surgeon ?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Ah Tom, back to incoherent cutting and pasting. You'd be far better off reading the article posted by David Stone which actually makes sense. Instead of course you read someone who is tired of the "herd mentality" and indulging themselves in new and bold thinking. Not surprising.

"The claim that the BBC and the Guardian helped sabotage labour just doesn't quite ring true."
Oh God, you're all into new and bold thinking. So I should believe this new bold organisation over the London School of economics? Yeah right.

You guys probably admire Steve Jobs through ignoring all that expert advice on his cancer, going for bold new thinking ............. and dying.

David George said...

"As though no-one who isn’t Labour could either care or devise a politics to help the troubled souls in our midst"
An excellent essay, thank you for posting it Tom.
Here are the two leaders speeches following the Queens speech. They're obviously have very different personalities but it's not difficult to see the broad appeal for Boris, more particularly his ability to see the world as it is, his freedom from ideology.
https://youtu.be/lunMfWDypx4

Anonymous said...

"I don't think more lying is going to convince the likes of Kieth."

Who cares? You are wrong that left wing people thing that "Keith" is an idiot and a racist. The problem is they have been making excuses for his idiocy and racism for too long. Social mobility has meant that anyone with half a brain can leave the working class, and they have done. It's time to be honest: "Keith" is an idiot and a racist. If he wants to vote Tory, then more power to him–he's not hurting us.

John Hurley said...

The Best Kept Secret of Our Political Divide
Samuel Kronen
12/17/2019

"The ascendent identity on the Left is one of multiculturalism. This identity sees itself as a cosmopolitan citizen of the world—not merely as confined to the local and the particular. Rather, this identity is one of a participant in the unfolding global story. It’s more concerned with the shames of Western Civilization than its triumphs, in an effort to identify and empathize with other cultures and civilizations. Anti-racism is the moral compass of the multicultural self, undergirded by the assumption that grappling with the historical oppression of marginalized people is central to transcending inequalities in the present. Often, “whiteness” is understood as a scourge to be overcome. The shadow side of this identity is guilt and self-hatred, the feeling that our unearned advantages have come at the expense of others. Sometimes, however, this can all begin to morph into narcissism.

The ascendent identity on the Right is what the political scientist Eric Kaufmann calls Ethno‐traditional nationalism, “which values the ethnic majority as an important component of the nation alongside other groups.” This identity sees itself as being intrinsically bound to local settings, within the context of the nation-state, as opposed to conceiving of itself as a global citizen. The ethno-traditional nationalist feels attached to home and carries with him a natural love of country that other places cannot match. It sees historical oppression as a stain rather than a character flaw of the country and the colonial project as a bloody but necessary step towards creating the modern world. This identity feels a connection to whiteness—but more as a cultural archetype than a racial identity; anyone of any background can be an ethno-traditional nationalist. The shadow side of this self is arrogance coupled with ignorance, a false sense of superiority deriving from the successes of the West. And, at times, it can mutate into chauvinism and ethnocentricity when challenged. "
https://merionwest.com/2019/12/17/the-best-kept-secret-of-our-political-divide/

That would put National, Labour and Green on the left and NZ First as either (depending on the day)

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Here are the two leaders speeches following the Queens speech. They're obviously have very different personalities but it's not difficult to see the broad appeal for Boris, more particularly his ability to see the world as it is, his freedom from ideology."

You forgot to add – his freedom from the truth. Here is a guy that has been fired three times for actually lying, and yet somehow you think he's going to be telling the truth now his Prime Minister. Insofar as he is coherent of course, he is only telling you what you want to hear.

Tom Hunter said...

Ah Tom, back to incoherent cutting and pasting.

Shorter Guerilla Surgeon: I can't argue against the article so I'll just continue to throw around my unexplained and undebated assertions of "incoherence" (hey, it sounds smart)!.

You'd be far better off reading the article posted by David Stone....
I did. The usual sort of nonsense that only makes sense within the framework of being a Marxist. Applied to the real world it failed, as in this election.

I'm thankful you'll never teach again and infect young minds with your Marxist poison. And spare me any denials that you're just a Democratic Socialist.

==============
It's time to be honest: "Keith" is an idiot and a racist. If he wants to vote Tory, then more power to him–he's not hurting us.

Brilliant! The Far Left echo chamber in two sentences.

Keith and millions more like have just hurt you by keeping you out of power for another five years. And if Labour get a clue and boot out the "Bennites" and Corbynistas you'll be even more badly hurt.

It's wonderful that you don't get this.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I can't argue against the article so I'll just continue to throw around my unexplained and undebated assertions of "incoherence" (hey, it sounds smart)"
No it just means I can't be bothered reading what you lazily cut-and-paste as an alternative to actually thinking and putting forward a view coherently and concisely.

"The usual sort of nonsense that only makes sense within the framework of being a Marxist. Applied to the real world it failed, as in this election"

Interesting, given that the website is when check for bias considered to be "centre-left".

"And spare me any denials that you're just a Democratic Socialist."

I've often suspected and now you've confirmed that you never read my posts beyond the words that trigger you. Otherwise you wouldn't write this tripe. Just go away and find a safe space.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Incidentally Tom, if I only judged you on what you wrote on this blog, I'd say you were a sexist, racist, far right nutcase. But there you go, it's probably wrong to do that. So I don't.

David George said...

GS "As far as Corbyn goes – well, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter"
You're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts GS.
Attending a ceremony honouring the Munich Olympics murderers/terrorists is bad enough but ongoing support for an organisation with a clearly racist/genocidal motivation is, despite your casual dismissal, utterly inexcusable. From Wikipedia the Hamas Charter:

"The Hamas credo is not just anti-Israel, but profoundly anti-Semitic with racism at its core. The Hamas Charter reads like a modern-day Mein Kampf." According to the charter, Jewish people "have only negative traits and are presented as planning to take over the world."[38] The 1988 Charter claimed that the Jews deserved God's/Allah's enmity and wrath because they received the Scriptures but violated its sacred texts, disbelieved the signs of Allah, and slew their own prophets.[39] It quotes a saying of Muhammad from a hadith:

The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Kiwidave. As usual you are reading things into my comment that I didn't mean. I don't necessarily approve of Hamas, but neither do I necessarily approve of various Israeli terrorist organisations either. Not to mention the various British leaders met with the more moderate elements of Hamas and the IRA in secret at various times. And Corbin expressed regret for his description of them as friends. No more friends to the British than the Saudi royal family either, who are just as terroristic in a different way yet embraced by the conservatives.
Not to mention that he must now accept the 1967 borders and the 1988 charter is defunct.

Tom.

"I'm thankful you'll never teach again and infect young minds with your Marxist poison."

Pathetic but somewhat expected. Tell you what, you're so brilliant at quoting other people, go through my old posts and point out where I'm not democratic. Should be easy right? Not holding my breath though.

Tom Hunter said...

Incidentally Tom, if I only judged you on what you wrote on this blog, I'd say you were a sexist, racist, far right nutcase.

Pfffft. Deal with that sort of unread, mindless abuse all the time from the likes of you. Suits me just fine as it's a clear indicator that you've lost whatever argument you might have put.

Still, as a Marxist you should be used to that by now.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well I'm still waiting for the cutting analysis of my statements that show I'm a Marxist. So as usual you got nothing except bluster and spite. You're a lazy thinker, you prefer to cut-and-paste other people's opinions rather than formulate your own, and when pinned down, you resort to abusive bullshit. Typical "alt right" – and I guarantee I could gather up enough of your statements to show that. Although it is a little difficult being as you simply plagiarise other people's work most of the time

David George said...

GS "you are reading things into my comment that I didn't mean"
Sorry that wasn't clear GS, I was referring to Corbyn's entanglement with/endorsement of terrorists not your (unstated) opinion.
I think the deliberate murder of innocents to advance your cause is utterly contemptible and immediately destroys the legitimacy of any claim for freedom or justice. Whatever opprobrium Corbyn has received over this is entirely deserved.

sumsuch said...

It's about timing, yes, but also about force of belief. Savage was 70. The problem isn't out lack of timing but our lack of force. Where we look to you, Chris. Talk our talk. Moooore forcefully. I and the other demo-cratists will sub you if needed. Being tactical for many years, while understandable in the decades of rich-rule, mean ultimately you're not our Bernie Sanders. And not even getting any reviving retainers for it -- exiled to the south of the south.

Happy Christmas, great New Zealander.