So Now Who Do We Vote For? 252

I can’t recall such utter hopelessness in UK politics, with every political party in the grip of a self-serving cabal of the political class interested purely in personal interest.

The Labour Party is entirely taken over by the Wes Streeting tendency. Its method is to find the most right wing racist in Hartlepool who ever once voted Labour for reasons he is unsure of, and give him everything he wants that might lead him to vote Labour again.

Attack on liberal judges and left wing lawyers? Tick, Labour policy.
Hard Brexit? Tick, Labour policy.
Lock up disruptive climate protestors? Tick. Labour Policy
Kick out refugees quicker than the Tories? Tick, Labour policy.
End support for strikes? Tick, Labour policy.
More public spending cuts? Tick, Labour policy.
Massive defence spending and help bomb the Russians? Tick, Labour policy.

This is combined by throwing in some Labour policies to please the corporate paymasters that not even our right wing nutter in Hartlepool wants, such as massive privatisation of NHS services.

Those of us who are older and left wing will never forget the way that Margaret Thatcher destroyed the social democratic consensus in the UK and shattered British industry as a deliberate policy to that end. But I knew Margaret Thatcher a bit, and I can promise you she was nowhere near as right wing as Keir Starmer.

(Denis was. I once got gloriously drunk with Denis, and ended up hiding on the floor of the car that dropped him back off to a furious Margaret who was late for a State banquet. That is a tale for another day).

One of the very few things Boris Johnson said as PM which was both true and interesting was that Starmer was responsible, as Director of Public Prosecutions, for the decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

This was not merely true, it is impossible sensibly to deny. Yet the entire media and political class rallied round Starmer to attack Johnson when he said it. That was when I first realised Johnson would shortly be out and Starmer foist relentlessly upon us.

As for the Tory Party in power, I don’t know what to say. The United Kingdom has reverted to 18th Century levels of corruption – and of nobody being surprised or alarmed by corruption.

A global pandemic was unashamedly utilised as a means to make vast, corrupt profits for politicians and their friends. I am taking not of millions, nor of billions, but of tens of billions of pounds in excess profits, some of it for vastly over-priced equipment, some of it for indeterminate services, some of it for non-functioning equipment, and much of it that simply cannot be traced at all.

Yet nobody seems to care. The media scarcely mention it, opposition politicians are very strangely silent, the public seem mired in apathetic helplessness. The Good Law Project bang away wonderfully, but in the face of a police and judicial system that does not seem to care either. It is like punching a gigantic, lightly inflated bladder.

Other than looting the public purse, the Tory Party merely enacts a strange set of performative cruelties, where ministers of visibly low intelligence punch down on whichever group drifts into
their sights next, but continually on desperate and sodden refugees.

I used to be a Liberal and my political thought remains steeped in that tradition – Grimond, Beveridge, Keynes, Hobson, Mill, Hazlitt, to name but a few. I left the party when Clegg took over and swung it hard to the right, and I now see no reason whatsoever why anybody would vote for it. I see no evidence of thinking of any kind, let alone radical thinking, coming from the Liberal Democrats.

As you know, I have since 2015 been warning people that Sturgeon had no interest whatsoever in Independence and was turning the SNP purely into a personality cult and a careerist vehicle for the Scottish political class, while gaining popularity through the dead end of Clinton style identity politics.

OK, so I have been proven right. How does that help us? The SNP is so far in the grip of the careerists, albeit by foul means, it is in no sense a radical alternative nor a threat to the United Kingdom.

So where does hope lie? The Green Party in England, (as opposed to the Scottish Green Party which has broken off links with it and contains several of the most unpleasant people on the planet), seems to me to consist of decent and well-motivated people who I could vote for if I lived in England.

The same goes for Plaid Cymru in Wales. In Northern Ireland, while some of my friends say that Sinn Fein have become over-comfortable with the personal luxuries of limited power, I still think the weight of history and community engagement will keep them basically straight.

Il faut cultiver mon jardin and I shall put my back into supporting the Alba Party, but the challenge of breaking into the political system from scratch is a huge one.

But that is it. Of course there are good individual politicians in every political party – yes, including the Tories – but they are increasingly rare. UK politics are a bust. To find someone you can even consider voting for, you are looking for party mavericks, or at the minority nationalities and their representatives.

Yet it is only a few years since Jeremy Corbyn was promising real change on one hand, while on the other Scotland looked able imminently to regain national freedom. From there to hopelessness is quite a giddying plunge.

I urge you to believe that the current, dreadful state of affairs is not permanent. The draining of hope from the sham democracy in which we live does not mean permanent stasis. The exploitation economy and the massive growing wealth gap are not a sustainable dynamic.

Change will come. It will not come through the exhausted charade of the Westminster political system. I do not believe the dystopian nightmare of permanent corporate control which we face, will be able to set its concrete over us before people notice and resist.

I do however now believe things will get worse before they get better. Considerably worse.


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252 thoughts on “So Now Who Do We Vote For?

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  • Fwl

    Nice post. I agree with vote for the Maverick where you can find them. Would be interested to hear more about drinking with Denis and how Keir Starmer is more right wing than Margaret Thatcher. And talking of Mavericks where are the media maverick. Journalists used to be the definition of a maverick. Now they resemble PRs. Devoid of meaningful union backing they quiver and do and say as told.

  • Tim

    I used to be a strong English Green supporter but I have given them up in disgust over their support for the war in Ukraine. They are pretty much a write-off these days

    • Zoltan Jorovic

      If you want a party to be exactly of the same view as you on any topic, always, then I suggest you start your own, and make sure nobody else joins it. Once you have two members, that way leads to compromise or argument, both of which appear to be anathema to most here – the latter ironic given how argumentative and disinclined to listen to anyone else you all are. Every extra person in a party makes purity more impossible.

      What you, and everyone else here (including Craig) seem to be looking for is a political party:
      whose every policy you agree with
      whose every official is blameless
      which consults you personally on every decision it takes
      which never makes a mistake
      which manages to be on the right side of history on every issue, even before history has been written

      I think that’s great to aspire to, but what are the chances of that being true for more than a few days? Events, dear boy. Also, opinions change when the facts change. And people may start off honest, but when tempted,… After all, its only when in power that real temptation starts. Finally, mistakes are inevitable, and its whether you are open and honest about them, not whether you make them that should matter. As for being on the right side, that remains to be seen for all of us. War in Ukraine? We can all agree that we wouldn’t have started from here, but given where we are, what should we do? There don’t seem any good options, just some less awful ones.

  • AG

    this is from naked capitalism today, Introduction by Yves Smith.
    I cannot judge this, but may be of interest to others here:

    “Is Labour Purging the Left? Inside the Party’s Embattled Selection Process”

    Yves here. At the risk of revealing ignorance about UK politics, I was under the impression that Labour purging, or at least marginalizing, the left, has been going on since at least the days of Tony Blair’s “Third Way”. That branding even at the great remove of the US looked designed to distance Labour from socialists like Tony Benn.

    If that very simplified history is nevertheless crudely accurate, it begs the question of what changed under Starmer so as to merit comment. This post suggests that the methods for enforcing a narrower (as in more centrist) Labour positioning have become more open and thuggish. As you will see, the post argues that the purges are so widespread that they amount to (trying to impose) the biggest ideological change in Labour’s history, and they are being implemented in a profoundly anti-democratic manner.

    So the questions to UK readers are: why are these changes occurring now? And are they as extreme as this post indicates?

    By Ruby Lott-Lavigna is the news and politics reporter for openDemocracy specialising in housing and inequalities. Originally published at openDemocracy

  • Boindub

    Diane Abbott said exactly the same about Jews, Irish and travellers.
    But she is losing her job and future only over the Jew comment.
    Is it OK to have anti Irish jokes and prejudice and racial stereotyping as goes on. ?
    Will she apologise to these.? Irish, Celts , Redheads. (very few Irish are redheads).

  • Mr Lee

    So, TPTB have successfully made the membership and vote of political party stalwarts meaningless. Corbyn was removed from Labour and Truss from the Conservatives. So now party members need to vote for the annointed, not who they prefer. Just another small step towards tyranny.

  • Late to the party

    It’s my personal opinion that until we get rid of the trough (and the trappings of power), politics is going to keep on attracting the kind of people who simply cannot be trusted with our vote. They cannot be trusted to govern because they have no interest in addressing the issues we face, their ambition is solely to get so wealthy that the issues don’t directly affect them anymore. Everything they say and do is pretendy nonsense designed to gaslight the electorate into believing that, once elected, they will improve things. Once elected, everything they say and do is pretendy nonsense designed to gaslight the electorate into believing that their vote was well placed.
    I have no idea, short of mass, large scale rioting and possible bloodshed, how we disempower the current batch of troughers and wannabe troughers, empty the trough of all of its tantalising and intoxicating contents, and then destroy the actual trough itself.
    We need an entirely new breed of politician. An entirely new form of governance. But how do we get there?

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