Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ask Not What Essex Man Can Do For You

I tend to avoid CiF, but got so miffed with Julian Glover's awful articles, I wrote a post today which got 81 recommends, facetious and daft though the post was.

Seems to me that the tide is turning against neo-liberalism.

What really gets me is just how desperate many on the 'neo-liberal left' as it were, are to save far right economic policies. Just look at this. 'Britain's in Love with the coalition' apparently. Ok, maybe a vast percentage of lib dem voters have regretted their decision, and the cuts haven't come into place yet, but lots of metropolitan journos love the coalition, so nuff said.

'One of the biggest reasons for Labour's failure at the last election and for its significant losses in the Midlands and the south-east was its failure to retain the votes of a particular group of voters, termed by companies like Experian as "Happy Families". These families tend to live in new-build housing, many have got young children, have a household annual income of £20,000 to £30,000 and are cash and time poor. They depend heavily on their car and really feel the pinch when petrol prices rise. They are utterly demanding of opportunities for their children and want the very best in terms of service provision. They increasingly expect public services to be tailored to them in the same ways private sector companies like Amazon fit around their needs. While they account for 10% of the total population, in southern marginals like Milton Keynes South, they account for nearly 40% of the electorate.'

The hard electoral arithmetic is that if you don't win with this group, you can't win.'

In other words, try to appeal to the most selfish instincts of lower middle class east Anglians and you'll win? Sounds an ideal policy. After all that's how Atlee got in isn't it? He told a few thousand East Anglians that they'd have some more dough in the kitty if they voted fat boy out? And that's how Harold Wilson won a string of elections?

The truth is that Britain is at an impasse. Neo-liberalism has failed. But what is to come next? I personally believe that Social Democracy is the solution. But will there be a force to articulate this? The money for 'progressive' causes seems all to go towards socially liberal AND economically liberal media sources.

It is mad that our country has such a narrow spectrum of political opinion. Yet I suppose the neo-liberals have something which no tyranny has had: a political and media establishment with a near complete consensus on economic and foreign policy. Given the mood of resentment NOW and Ireland's double dip recession from their slashing spending, I feel certain that some oposition will come up. But I can't guarantee it will be as pretty as social democracy.


  1. Gregor wrote:

    "Yet I suppose the neo-liberals have something which no tyranny has had: a political and media establishment with a near complete consensus on economic and foreign policy"

    Great insight, Gregor. It really is amazing, isn't it? What is really maddening is that so many people have a hard time escaping this consensus because that is all they see coming from the media and political establishment.

    Also, there is a lot of social pressure to not question the neoliberal establishment. Many young people are encouraged to "grow up" after university and accept establishment opinions as part of attaining bourgeois respectability and avoiding being branded a Commie or a hippie, or worse, to be accused of simply being an envious failure and a lazy, incompetent parasite (a favorite of Ayn Rand’s followers).

  2. Yes, and the issue is that any move by the labour party, even to the centre left, would be portrayed by the media as the brink of a communist takeover. The media, particularly slime like the Murdoch media has brought this country to it's knees. The Guardian does not do better, I can't stand Julian Glover's articles and they pander so much to identity politics and pointless frivolities like trumpeting militant atheism for the 1000th time.

    I have no idea how this country will turn out in the coming years/decades. But it is not going to be pretty...

  3. @John
    Agree about social norms, but the irony as I see it is that it is precisely neo-liberalism that leads to high unemployment/ low skilled employment. In fact I think that the British bourgeoisie is, in a sense, going to be major victims of the impending cuts. The 'invisible hand' won't pay very well where heritage projects are concerned.

    Very prophetic words, if you've seen Te Graun's Ed-the-Red swingometer, which is ridiculous. It's true that as a paper it seems to be becoming increasingly irrelevant as the area where it is most right wing (neo-liberal economics) are being discredited, and the areas it is most left wing (radical feminism, radical atheist utopianism) are also being discredited.

  4. That swingometer was certainly ridiculous. Made me seething, as does the coverage of Russia