(9:00AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
“A week is a long time in politics.” Harold Wilson
The European election results were published last Monday, following on from the local election results of a few days earlier. They showed Labour behind not just the Tories, but even behind UKIP, a lunatic fringe party, on just 15% of the vote. For the first time since 1918, Labour had been beaten by the Tories in Wales. Labour was smashed in its other heartlands, where working class voters just sat at home in disgust, and was completely marginalised elsewhere in the country. Labour came 5th in the South East with just 8.2% of the vote. In Cornwall they came 6th behind the Cornish Nationalist Party, whom presumably even the local folk see as a lost cause.
Labour, in the UK, is traditionally the party of the working class. If you read their history, you’ll find that sometimes they have gone to the far left and sometimes to the right, but the unions and workers have generally supported the Labour party.
As a result of the low turnout the far right British National Party got two seats in the European parliament for the first time ever. For once Alistair Darling got it right when he admitted, “People felt disillusioned with us and didn’t vote for us. That’s our fault. We should be able to inspire confidence”, he said.
The Labour party has been dominated by New Labour for the current terms of the government. The most famous of the New Labourites is Tony Blair. New Labour, much the same as New Democrats in the States, has been neoliberal to the core, having shunted aside the working class in favor of the money men from the City of London (UK’s version of Wall Street). Now, some of you have probably heard about the scandal where MPs have been making claims against second homes, etc. where they shouldn’t have. This probably played a role in keeping down voter turnout, but Labour was sliding down quickly even prior to these revelations.
Let’s cast our mind back a couple of years. When Gordon Brown got the top job he was seen by some (not us though) as a refreshing change from the lies and spin of the Blair years – for a while. There was a ‘Brown bounce.’ But the idea that Brown was different was always a myth. Then the electorate tumbled. Brown was the co-founder with Blair and Mandelson of New Labour. Not only did he share their bankrupt ideology, their blind faith in capitalism and adoration of the rich, as a result he also shared their slimy methods. New Labour has taken the Party it parasitically invaded to the abyss. New Labour must be destroyed utterly if the principle of working class representation in politics is to be maintained.
So, what sort of lesson might be learned for the States from what’s going on in the UK? This pertains to the Democratic Party for the most part (although Republicans may see some similarity to their situation as well). Here are some thoughts.
First off we have Barack “He’s only been in office for x days, weeks, months, years” Obama as President. Remember how the First100 Days was going to set the agenda for his administration? Well, it did. From continuation of the Iraq Occupation, to the escalation of the Afghan War into the AfPac War, to the appointment of an economic team only a bankster fraud could love, to the continued sweeping under the rug of the torture shame he’s pretty much shown that he’s a New Democrat to the core. Let’s face it, single payer was off the table before health care reform even got to Congress. While his poll numbers are strong for the time being, he is (if reading the left blogosphere is any indication) slowly losing the hearts and minds of the ‘progressive’ supporters and those further to the left.
Next, we have the Congress, which is controlled in both Houses by a strong majority of Democrats. Remember back to the last session, where we thought of many of them as spineless? Holding both houses hasn’t improved the situation at all. Once again, health care seems to be held hostage by the insurance industry, ‘Bipartisanship’ appears to only apply to the Progressive Caucus, and the Blue Dogs are showing that their actually Red Elephants in disguise.
The comes the Progressive ‘Movement.’ Gate crashers have become gatekeepers. Dissent is becoming verboten. Power appears to have been the goal, not progressive policies. At the end of the day, the ‘movement’ has, for the most part, thrown it’s lot in with the New Democrats.
Needless to say, the economic crisis has been what has shown the New Democrats for what they are. While the bankster frauds and the like have been lavished with the treasure of the US, the working class and labor in general have been kept out of the corridors of power. The US, already nearly broke from the malfeasance of the Bush years (and, to be honest, from going back at least ’til the Reagan administration), has decided to meet the crisis with it’s best troops: The one’s who took us into this situation. Needless to say, things look gloomy.
So, the lesson? New Labor in Great Britain has betrayed it’s core constituency, the working class. New Democrats are in the process of continuing their betrayal of the Democrats core constituency, the working class and those who are politically to the left. We see that choosing bad instead of worse still get us bad. We see that ‘hope’ and ‘change’ were just catch phrases or worse. We see the in the collapse of the Labour Party a possible script which can be played out on this side of the Atlantic.
Where do we head from here? Is it possible that Obama can actually turn his ship of state toward a more progressive course (possible, but not likely)? Is there an alternative for ‘progressives’ and the Left to regain control of the Democratic Party, or is a break from said Party what is needed? As always, only time will tell. One point, of course, is that we’re a little more than half a year from the beginning of the primary season for the 2010 Congressional elections. The ‘more and better Democrats’ plan hasn’t panned out as was sold to us. It’s time to consider alternatives.