Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Voting Labour is not insane

Blogging will continue to be sparse over the next period.

Most people don't run the spreadsheet over party policies, preferring to rely upon gut feel and general impressions.

My personal impression of the Tories is summed up by Theresa May's unguarded remarks (to her neoliberal critics) that her 'Blue Labour' nationalist turn to the traditional (northern) working class was, in fact, the only way to save globalism. She has a point.

The Conservatives have run a cynical, patronising campaign. They initially thought Theresa May would appear impressive as a leader, but, as they say, 'she has been found out'.

In focus groups, when asked to compare political leaders to an animal, Corbyn is likened to 'a labrador'; May is described as 'a snake'.

In management terms I'd describe her as clearly stressed in the top job and showing little sign of growing into it. She lacks natural authority and vision. Most senior managers would not have assessed her as being ready for promotion - it was the referendum wot done it, removing the better-qualified 'remainer' candidates.

Turning to Labour, the powers-that-be have slung a lot of mud but little of it has stuck. This raises the question: what would a Corbyn administration look like?

Firstly off, it's plainly not going to abolish capitalism; it seems likely that it wouldn't even have the dogmatic idiocy to trash it à la Venezuela.

I suspect that once the dust had settled, the issue would be whether the new administration could find a different path for UK capitalism - and I think such an outline is faintly discernible.
1. The neoliberal global-interventionist thrust of UK policy since whenever might be further blunted. As it is, it's barely affordable. A foreign policy which is more Scandi might be the result (it could be termed 'minding your own business'). It's not clear the world would be a worse place as a result, to put it mildly.

2. Public services would be rebalanced: reorganised and somewhat-better funded. It is true that the economy has to grow - productivity has to grow - to afford ubiquitous public services. As immediate problems health and care for the elderly loom large; housing too.

But capitalists - especially globalised capitalists - are not much interested in those outcomes, their concern is rather valorising their rather large mountains of capital. The Tories are not trusted on mass-welfare issues - regardless of what they say - because people know instinctively that the rich really don't care, except defensively, to keep the masses from getting too excited.

I would like to think that the unfortunate statist DNA of a new Corbyn administration could be overcome. Wasn't it Lenin who identified the malign effects of monopolies as being one of the defining features of imperialism?

3. Taxation would be increased. The rich complain, but then they would .. after all, they are the ones who have the money. However, there is both a lot of ruin in a rich capitalist economy and far less elasticity of behaviour than is commonly argued by the rich and powerful, and their media mouthpieces.

It would do no harm to move some wealth from private hands to public services: it does not happen spontaneously or without some protests. The effects, if managed carefully, would not be dire.

I would also recommend that a Corbyn administration should encourage the development of the productive forces (a well-funded focus on R&D) - as Marx would have wanted.
So to summarise, I think an incoming Labour Government would effect a rebalancing and redirecting of UK capitalism; that Corbyn himself would be a Reaganesque figure, an affable front man; and that there would be significant visionary and operational talent behind him to execute the new course*.

A Theresa May government, by contrast, would flatter to deceive - mouthing the words while actually implementing under the hood a continuing neoliberal governance model in alliance with the US administration.

I believe Stephen Hawking agrees with me.


* People might say - evidence? - but power has a way of attracting talent, and nothing here violates core Labour norms and values.


Putting thought experiments to one side, is any of this going to happen in this election?

Not a chance.

1 comment:

  1. Writing this on election result day May is still PM, but the management style criticism I have seen is "not enough breadth of advisors". Various mistakes were made due to lack of wide enough consultation. Seems to be a frequent comment on holders of the top job though.

    Jeremy Corbyn was telling us this AM that Labour is ready for power, and it may yet happen if this setup collapses over the next few weeks...

    Hawking's candidate won in Cambridge too.


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