Britain’s Choice Is Socialism or Barbarism – Alan Minsky | TruthDig

Alan Minsky | TruthDig

I am an American with a partner from England and a daughter with dual United Kingdom-U.S. citizenship. For a Yankee, I follow British politics closely.

During the past few years, thanks to the Brexit mess, the Gordian entanglements of U.K. politics have been vertigo-inducing, to say the least. However, since U.S. politics are also in a constant red-hot crisis, I’ve been unable to follow the U.K. tragicomedy at the granular level.

Paradoxically, this has been helpful, per my understanding of U.K. politics. While I’ve missed out on innumerable headline-grabbing absurdities, my distance has allowed me to maintain perspective on the big picture — at least, that’s my sense.             

In that spirit, here are my observations about the Dec. 12 U.K. general election from the western shore of the Atlantic.

Corbyn is offering, by far, the best option on Brexit.

Whatever you might have heard about how Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has handled the Brexit crisis, here’s what’s important: As of right now, he has arrived at the best solution going forward.

No political issue in my lifetime has been more mind-numbingly tedious than the Brexit morass. Suffice to say, an ocean’s distance is helpful in maintaining one’s sanity, let alone clarity. So, apologies for sounding like a scold — but, c’mon you Brits, wake up and recognize that Corbyn is providing a simple, sane pathway to survive this cluster-f*ck.

Here’s his plan, which, if you ask me, makes a lot of sense.

If elected prime minister, Corbyn will negotiate a new Brexit deal, aiming for an arrangement similar to Norway’s current relationship with the EU, which means the U.K. will remain part of the EU common market. Then, he would put that deal up for a popular vote with the only other option being to remain in the union. The whole thing will be resolved in half a year.

The only other option is a Tory-led government that eliminates any Remain option and that will present the familiar anti-worker, deregulatory, pro-finance Brexit that’s already proved very unpopular, and which, among other things, will almost certainly lead to the breakup of the U.K.

So, it’s very simple. If you support Remain, you have only one hope left: Defeating the Tories. That means voting tactically for Labour and its allies, i.e., those parties that might be willing to form a Labour-led government so Corbyn can pursue Brexit sanity.

Also, if you support Brexit but actually want a positive arrangement with the EU — one that prioritizes the concerns of average people and the environment, as well as respects the Good Friday accord – you should also support Labour and its allies. This argument is not a pro-Remain sleight-of-hand. I am pro-Remain, but I sincerely believe that a Norway-like Brexit deal will have a very good shot of winning a second referendum. Norway, after all, is doing pretty damn well these days.

So, if you’re pro-Remain — you have to vote Labour and friends. If you want a decent Brexit — ditto. Those two positions have to represent two-thirds of the electorate. Why is this not a landslide?

Boris Johnson is the U.K.’s Trump, part of a global ethno-nationalist, anti-Democratic far-right revival. He must be vanquished.

This is obvious to the rest of the world, but for some reason seems lost on much of the U.K. public. I’m baffled.

Boris Johnson has spent his entire time as prime minister so far making a series of anti-constitutional moves and political power plays that would make Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán or Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro blush.  Whatever Johnson’s past as an occasionally moderate Tory or a disarmingly witty caricature, he is now Team Trump. Nigel Farage, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump certainly understand this.

A question for the British: If Johnson’s Tories win an outright majority, how often do you think he’ll have to “withdraw the whip” on members of the majority – i.e., kicking Tory members of Parliament out of the party for disagreeing with him? The likely answer is never. Having won the majority that eluded David Cameron in 2010 and Theresa May in 2017, he’ll have a Conservative majority as pliant as the American GOP and just as contemptuous of parliamentary procedure as they are of inconvenient facts.

In other words, a Johnson victory will be a blow to constitutional democracies on par with Trump’s 2016 win — and provide the Donald with a talking point he is sure to trumpet in 2020. Even worse, it will be readily understood as the greatest validation yet of global Trumpism.

Neoliberalism brought us Trumpism. The Labour Party’s Manifesto is the humane alternative to both.

After four decades as the dominant socioeconomic order, neoliberalism is in crisis. The general population now understands that the system’s prevailing logic, “the market knows best”, works for the investor class (aka the rich) and leaves the vast majority (very far) behind.

Of course, an economic oligarchy is a difficult fit for a democracy — eventually the people will vote in their interests.

Hence, the rise of Trumpism, an anti-constitutional political tendency that preserves the neoliberal economic order — effectively buying it time through appeals to xenophobic populism — while simultaneously weakening democratic institutions.

On Dec. 12, the British electorate can take the other path — the one once offered not by Mussolini, but by FDR.

The 2019 Labour Party Manifesto (i.e., its party platform) is about reallocation and reinvestment of wealth away from the oligarchs and to necessary services the market doesn’t care to fund (health, education and affordable housing), to populated regions that capital has abandoned, and into green technologies we desperately need but investors see as too long-term. It spreads the wealth and generates more wealth, a formula conducive to a healthy democratic society.

The U.K. started neoliberalism with Margaret Thatcher in 1979, and it owes the world to take the lead again in the opposite direction. Our collective future depends on it. We have to move past neoliberalism. As a wise soul once whispered, “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime. What better place than here, what better time than now.”

Only a Labour-led government will adequately address the climate emergency.

In an emergency, how long do you continue with the same strategy without getting positive results?

YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF if you think “the market” by itself will change course when it comes to the climate emergency.

YOU ARE LYING TO YOURSELF if you think a Tory-led government will do anything but rely on markets. If you vote Tory, you are complicit.

The outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Canada-born, Mark Carney, has already explained how markets are responding to the climate crisis — with a frenzy of investment in fossil fuel technology. According to Carney – hardly a socialist – if current investments across the globe in fossil fuel infrastructure are used to their capacity, as the investors believe they will, the result is a catastrophic 4-degree Celsius rise in global temperature. In other words, a radical intervention is necessary or humanity is toast – way to go, markets!

When markets fail, and large-scale investment is required, government action is an absolute necessity. Thanks to the ambitious Green New Deal outlined in the Labour Manifesto, the British voters have an opportunity to lead the world in addressing the greatest crisis of our time.

Corbyn is an honorable man; BoJo is a self-serving inveterate LIAR.

I’ve followed politics my entire adult life and I have never encountered a politician more nakedly self-serving than Johnson. This is not a novel observation. Why anyone would put their faith in him is beyond me.

Corbyn is the exact opposite. Like Bernie Sanders, he has stood for the same things throughout his long political career. He is a model of integrity, a man of his word.

Regarding the matter of anti-Semitism in the U.K. and Corbyn’s relationship to the matter — an issue that has come up throughout the Labour leader’s tenure — I have two observations as a self-identified Jew who travels frequently to the U.K. and who loathes all instances of anti-Semitism.

First, a Corbyn-led government will make a long-overdue adjustment in U.K. policy towards Israel / Palestine, grounded in Corbyn’s deeply held belief in the human rights of all people. This is not anti-Semitic, though it will be called such by people with a transparent agenda. It’s also not anti-Israel, which will find it has many more friends on the global stage if it shifts course and begins respecting the rights of Palestinians.

Second, a Corbyn government will inevitably place anti-Semitism under the microscope in Britain — and this is long overdue. I’m certainly sick of hearing how this or that bloke is too “Jewy” to pick up a tab at a pub in the U.K.  and whispers of how Jews control global finance — almost always from folks who are distinctly not pro-Labour. I understand these are petty instances, but I’ve heard enough to know Britain needs a national reckoning on this matter. I, for one, will welcome the scrutiny — and know that Cornyn will be all-in on this. Indeed, he has promised to call out all variants of racism, including the frequent instances of explicit Islamophobia inside the Tory Party and across British society. He has said so, and Corbyn is nothing if not a man of his word.

Lastly, the matter of Jeremy’s integrity is of special importance as we approach Dec. 12.

Vote Tactically on Dec. 12 

On this, I break with Labour orthodoxy. The task at hand is simple: PREVENT A TORY MAJORITY. This requires throwing all support behind whatever non-Tory candidate has the best chance of winning the constituency. This is not hard to figure out in the digital era.

What about the Liberal Democrats, a party that claims to be pro-Remain but has a stated policy of not cooperating with Corbyn to defeat Brexit?

The Lib Dems won 12 seats last election and took a “close” second to a Tory in another handful of constituencies (about 16).

My advice is simple — Labour supporters need to be the adults in the room and accept that only the Lib Dems have a chance of defeating the Tories in those 28-odd districts.  Of course, don’t trust me on those numbers — do the research yourself for each district, and then coordinate with people in the district itself to make sure.

While the Lib Dem’s opposition to Corbyn show them to be inveterate apologists for neoliberal economics, they can be counted on to disrupt the Tories’ Brexit plans, and that is the first order of business at hand.

Having said that, Lib Dem supporters in every other closely contested constituency in the land have to understand that a vote for the Lib Dem in their district is a de facto vote for Brexit.

Simply put, if the final results show that Lib Dem voters in competitive districts are greater than the difference between the Tory candidate and the Labour candidate, they will be exposed as the people who, on the final day that mattered, voted to ensure Brexit. [If your party is running in third place, behind the Tories and Labour, vote Labour]

So, if you are a Lib Dem, but the Labour candidate clearly has a chance to win in a tight race against a Tory, you must vote Labour. Same for Labour supporters in which the Lib Dem has a better chance — and, by all measure, both Lib Dems and Labour supporters in those 12 seats that the Scottish National Party (SNP) can reclaim from the Tories, need to vote SNP, and so on and so forth. Apply this strategy with unrelenting rigor in every region of the country.

Now, I don’t want to create the impression that the SNP and the Lib Dems are ready to be full coalition partners with Labour. Britain being Britain, it’s much more complicated than that. The SNP, though, are pretty close — they’ve stated they are willing to support the formation of a Corbyn-led Labour government even while not entering into a formal coalition. So that’s pretty benign. The Lib Dems, much less so. In fact, they’ve gone right out and stated they will refuse to support any Labour-led government with Corbyn as the prime minister. Pretty toxic, right? So why am I calling for any voting, however tactical, for the Lib Dems?

Two reasons: Anything is better than a Tory majority and in roughly 30 districts only the Lib Dems has any chance of beating the Tory; and because if the Lib Dems do end up with the fate of the next government in their hands due to a hung Parliament, which is quite possible, the odds of the Lib Dems  backing the Tories as opposed to Labour seems pretty slight.

After all, only a coalition with Labour will produce a revote on Brexit, which is the Lib Dems’ central policy position this election, not to mention they’re still paying for the last time they went into a coalition with the Tories.

The main issue is that the Tory and Brexit parties are perfectly aligned on their side. The tactical voters (Labour, Lib Dems, SNP et al.) have to equal their efficiency or they will lose.

Once Brexit is settled, you can return to your obstinacy, but this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime election. You need a coalition of 326 to block the Tories, nothing less will do.

If this tactical approach gives you pause, it shouldn’t. Unlike Johnson, Corbyn believes in the parliamentary system. He is a staunch constitutional Republican. If Corbyn becomes prime minister through a coalition; and frankly, that looks like the only way he can get to 10 Downing Street in this election, he will stick to his word, as he always does, negotiate a new Brexit deal and put it to a people’s vote.

After all that dust settles, both Labour and the Tories will want new elections, and you’ll all head back to the hustings.

Then, finally, the people of the U.K. can set about determining their future with the Gordian knot of Brexit untangled.

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 9, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    • kamtanblog  On December 10, 2019 at 2:08 am

      Clyde
      Thanks for the clip…
      Interesting …but she nah exiting in a
      hurry….think next heir to throne should
      be Harry …not Charles or William.
      In my opinion

      There are more royals arround the world
      if the DNA of Royals was ever tested.

      Hope the old trout last another decade

      RESPECT !

      Kamtan 🇬🇧🇬🇾🇬🇧🇪🇸🇬🇧👽

  • kamtanblog  On December 10, 2019 at 1:31 am

    Absolute hogwash if an opinion.
    If the author chose to reside in USA and
    be an American citizen may I humbly
    suggest that he sticks to politico Americans.
    Why did wealthy kick British out of USA.
    To avoid/evade taxes/royalties.
    USA is just another banana republic
    ruled by dictators….in my opinion.

    Suggestion
    Author of above stick to wealth creation
    not wealth accumulation. Principle and practice of raw capitalism.

    Lord Kamtan aka commie …ha ha

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 12, 2019 at 10:05 am

    GUYANA-born, Gina Miller ….

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    France

    France’s media have been following the UK election campaign closely and did not take long to draw their conclusions. “Boris Johnson: The liar weakening Europe,” was the splash in Le Parisien, a popular tabloid, last month.

    The paper called the prime minister “Europe’s bogeyman”, a politician for whom “pretty much everything is either an empty promise, economical with the truth or a downright lie.”

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 12, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    The British people know what to expect
    from Blarney Boris — All they need to do
    is look across the pond — this way!!

    They shit their pants the day after the
    BREXIT Referendum Vote ….

    They are about to shit their pants AGAIN – TOMORROW!!!

    GO – CORBYN – GO !!!

    • kamtanblog  On December 12, 2019 at 1:16 pm

      Clyde
      Go Bojo go !

      Corbyn will never be PM of UK

      Too far left !

      Kamtan

  • Clyde Duncan  On December 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Art Burrows – UK, wrote:

    It is that magical time of the year where young, immature minds believe that a grey-haired, bearded man will bring them lots of FREE GIFTS.

    Meanwhile, Everyone else is voting Conservative!!

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