After WW2 Democrats and Republicans agreed on most issues.
Each party was a broad church — there was diversity on both sides.
But in the 50s they started to eye up each other’s voter base.
The Democrats were starting to get more votes in the north so they decided, on a national level, to become more ‘liberal’.
This alienated many of their southern voters. The Democrats had turned their back on them. By 1960 they had chosen to become a party of ‘principle’.
Lyndon Johnson warned against such a move.
Perhaps he believed in more transactional politics. Do something because it is going to work. Not because it’s ‘the right thing to do’.
Meanwhile the Republicans went a step further and openly debated whether principles even belonged in politics.
Their decision to court Southern Democrats on the basis that they were opposed to civil rights alienated the liberal parts of the Republican party that backed equal treatment for all.
My own research into Conservatism has taught me that conservatives rarely believe in anything. They are hardly ever idealistic. Their views change over time. They are generally pragmatists. They opt for what is convenient.
Trump, like Reagan, managed to get a lot of Democrats to vote Republican.
So where does Jeremy Corbyn’s gentler type of politics fit into all this?
50s Republicans objected to the New Deal because it gave people the impression that the government would look after them.
Silicon Valley and the Labour Party are talking about Universal Basic Income.
Given that many of the tech firms park their profits in Ireland and the Caribbean their commitment to solidarity looks flexible to say the least.
A friend and I recently agreed that Naomi Klein’s latest book No is not Enough appeals less to Brits than North Americans.
We have other things going on like Corbyn and Brexit.
I like how the American media are so upfront. They openly discuss their administration’s white nationalism and deregulatory stance on health insurance, tax, guns, & net neutrality.
Here in the UK our deregulation is not so much spoon-fed as subliminal.
Just like with shadow banking, we know it’s naughty, we know it’s happening, but we act as though everything’s above board.
Too much Red Tape, Mate
The Brexit vote of June 2016 was sold as the perfect opportunity to take back control of our borders, recover sovereignty and cut Red Tape.
Click the image below for the original Sun article.
But exactly which regulations we’ll be cutting remains to be seen.
After all we’ll still need to retain the right to trade with Europe.
We’ll also need to keep our rights at work, protect our food, and look after the environment.
Countries will only trade with us if they trust our regulatory standards.
How will that happen if we become a totally unregulated space?
As Tax Justice Campaigner Richard Murphy puts it:
“We need rules. Try playing football without any rules. It doesn’t work.”
The lack of clarity from our journalists and politicians may be part of the problem.
Academics like Daniela Gabor, Prem Sikka, David Graeber, Vickie Cooper, David Whyte, Steve Tombs, and commentators like Frances Coppola, Ann Pettifor, Nicholas Wilson, and Ian Fraser are all reliable.
But few out and out hacks are prepared to rock the boat by asking difficult questions.
Even fewer politicians make meaningful commitments, give straight answers, or admit mistakes.
We don’t need no Education
In the midst of all this emerged Nigel Farage.
While the left and right were playing musical chairs in the centre, a gaping chasm opened up everywhere else.
All anyone had to do to occupy the space was point out the contradictions in the system.
Engineering of Consent
So in a strange social experiment the British public briefly entered an age of demagoguery. One that can’t be undone.
Where Thatcher, Blair and even Cameron got their voters mildly excited, unelected Mr Farage got the nation to say “No” to the Establishment and replace it with — the Establishment!
The only problem with all this was that nobody ever thought that the Brexiteers could win. The Brexiteers themselves had no idea what they’d do once they won their coup.
As Hannah Arendt said of the British Empire:
It has often been said that the British acquired their empire in a fit of absent-mindedness, as consequence of automatic trends, yielding to what seemed possible and what was tempting, rather than as a result of deliberate policy. If this is true, then the road to hell may just as well be paved with no intentions as with the proverbial good ones.
In the following clip Nigel Farage strategically attacks ‘diversity’ before claiming that English is no longer spoken in many parts of the UK.
He’s our very own Donald Trump. The influence he’s projected over global politics is staggering.
Earlier this year after asking if Trump’s an anarchist, I asked anthropologist David Graeber to distinguish between corporatists like Farage and fascists like Marine Le Pen.
It was Auntie wot won it
Before the referendum I asked the BBC how frequently Farage had appeared on Newsnight, Question Time, and The Today Programme — they refused.
I assume someone like Rupert Murdoch was supporting him.
In the wake of the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry James Harding moved to manage BBC News after having edited Murdoch’s Times for six years.
Maybe he was leaned on by Murdoch to include Farage on the BBC’s radio and televised debates.
Despite being a fully paid up member of the Metropolitan Elite and presumably a Remainer, Harding knows which way his bread’s buttered.
Amusing ourselves to death
Though humouring his old boss would have been logical, what started out as a joke led to a constitutional crisis.
By attacking the EU and political correctness in the way that he has, Farage has managed to overturn forty years of food, employment, financial and environmental standards.
Farage is currently employed by Rupert Murdoch in the US and by LBC talk radio in the UK.
Neo-liberal economics was underpinned by a belief in the idea of infinite growth. But the rapid growth of the ‘left behinds’ who under Thatcher had been written off as the acceptable rate of unemployment led to a growing divide.
They had no way out of a life of austerity.
At the same time came the rise of the Metropolitan Elite with their skinny lattés and Polish plumbers
Plenty of newspapers also told their readers to vote for Brexit.
They weren’t all convinced by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove.
The Sun, the Mail, the Express, the Sunday Times, and the Telegraph are all still fervent Brexiteers.
But according to those Brexiteers who aren’t in the Cabinet, the Government are making a hash of Brexit.
The potential benefits of a Brexit deal are fast disappearing as the Government commits to paying more and more money to the EU.
Who is going to stand up for UK regulation?
How will a balance be struck between protecting UK business, UK citizens and non-citizens?
Like Murdoch and unlike Corbyn, Le Pen uses immigration to divide.
Lots of people in the UK are now sceptical about Globalisation – many vote UKIP, Labour, Green, and SNP.
By stealing Labour policies and rhetoric the Tories are picking up plenty of ex-UKIP votes.
With the media’s help they try to convince voters that Blair, Cameron and even Corbyn are far too metropolitan and somehow un-British, and that we should all get back in touch with our socially conservative inner-Tory.
Many of these voters are against excessive immigration and open borders.
Which Corbyn and Lib Dems are seen as soft on.
We’re constantly told that we want a strong leader. Like May, Trump, or Le Pen.
Now is Le Pen’s time because she goes one further than Corbyn, Sturgeon, Lucas and even Theresa May.
For Le Pen is both fully racist and fully anti-capitalist — wanting total protection of both borders and markets.
She needs to solve France’s unemployment and lack of productivity without acknowledging that the EU has historically protected its borders and markets (often to benefit France!)
Is Le Pen more scared of the Eastern Europeans who’ve used free movement since communism fell; the refugees from US / UK / Coalition operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria; or of immigrants who’ve moved to France not because of the EU but because of France’s own kleptocratic African, Asian and Caribbean adventures?
Unlike Trump, Farage and Murdoch — and very much like Corbyn — Le Pen is fervently anti-Deregulation.
Farage ran a very confused Brexit campaign that focused on Brussels’ authoritarianism and ignored the degree to which Brussels had been infiltrated and in many ways captured by the City of London’s lobby group.
For evidence of this lobbying just look at the EU -US trade agreement TTIP.
This policy was announced by Obama and Cameron in Northern Ireland at the G7 / G8 meeting in 2013 and would have harmonised food, labour and environmental regulation on both sides of the Atlantic.
It’s precisely that model of Anglo-Saxon style capitalism that Le Pen and Corbyn both reject.
Farage just pretended to hate it. He is actually a big fan of the financial services lobby. It’s where he gets his cash.
But still, lots of Brexit campaigners, including Farage, jumped on the momentum that had been generated by the Anti-TTIP movement to push for Brexit.
In France, Le Pen used TTIP to push for her own election.
This is the most irresponsible manner in the way the French election is being covered here in the UK.
There is not enough parallel context being drawn with the UK political scene..
Is Le Pen being praised by the British press simply because our newspaper owners think she is a bit like Theresa May?
The way the European Central Bank is run is severely flawed but little discussion of its policies are permitted to take place at any level.
Therefore even though many people know there is a problem, our media and politicians don’t permit us the space to discuss it.
Many Labour and Lib Dems seemed to have swallowed deregulation whole and by aggressively campaigning to remain in the EU didn’t permit debate of its flaws.
Jeremy Corbyn was an exception to that as he said he was against TTIP and deregulation. But he wasn’t given the platform that he deserved.
He was co-opted by the Remain camp.
His biggest failing on Europe was that he didn’t take more of a stand in public over TTIP.
Despite letting people know his views on Trident and Bombing Syria Corbyn never engaged in a public debate with his party about TTIP and so the deregulation lobbyists captured the entire debate.
They’re doing the same with the NHS and PFI.
So despite having some great ideas about taking back control, Corbyn’s project is being treated as a joke while Le Pen’s is taken seriously.
Corbyn’s patriotism is being rejected by the tax-avoiding foreign-owned media in favour of Theresa May’s lies which are designed to mask the looting of the UK public sector by the financial services sector.
Will Labour come up with a plan to save the NHS by prosecuting bankers for fraudulent PFI?
I asked them that very question this week and have been told Labour’s PFI announcements are due later in the campaign.
I suggested that we need ideas circulating asap in order to persuade people to ignore the spin. But so far no reply.
The man who ran the Medicare programme when UnitedHealth allegedly overcharged the American taxpayer by hundreds of millions of dollars was Simon Stevens – current head of NHS England.
According to his current LinkedIn Profile, Stevens was Chief Executive Officer, UnitedHealthcare Medicare between 2006 – 2009
His CV goes on to say:
America’s leading seniors health company, with $30 billion revenues and serving one-in-five Medicare beneficiaries nationwide in partnership with AARP – the world’s largest voluntary organization. Launched the largest Medicare Part D benefits plan, also managing the largest Medicare-focused PBM.
So if Simon Stevens knew about the multimillion dollar fraud cases that took place on his watch – did he declare or disclose any of this to Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, or to NHS England?
It is now in the public interest for all correspondence between Simon Stevens, NHS England and Jeremy Hunt prior to his 2014 appointment to be made public.
Stevens advised the Department of Health and Blair throughout the period when the NHS was using PFI to build hospitals. So he basically aided and abetted the bankruptcy of the NHS and now looks to be finishing off the job.
This ought to be an election issue. I hope Shadow Health secretary John Ashworth raises this conflict of interests during the campaign.
Can such an individual be trusted to look after the NHS?
Despite all this grassroots sentiment would the Tory Party Strategists still gift a seat to UKIP?
To many such pragmatism could be a step too far.
From Nasty to Neo-Nazi
In the eyes of many this could shift the Tories from the Nasty Party to the Neo-Nazi Party
As for Stoke Central itself, wouldn’t it be something for them to lose their Old Etonian former shadow cabinet member to the Victoria and Albert Museum and to replace him with a UKIP leader who to many is nothing more than a neo-fascist thug?
Nuttall once stood for the Conservatives in Bootle, his hometown, before becoming a UKIP MEP.
The following story appeared in yesterday’s Evening Standard in London.
Should you find yourself in Stoke this week the Repertory Theatre is staging : One Man Two Guvnors