Saturday, August 12, 2017

What Might It Look Like If/When Neoliberalism Crashes Down?

The Brits are openly discussing what we've lacked the conviction to raise in Canada, the need for a new political party.

Ever since Layton/Mulcair and Ignatieff/Trudeau followed dutifully in Harper's steps as he shifted Canada's political centre well and truly to the right, the left/centre-left has languished in Canada, largely unrepresented by parties that had embraced the free market fundamentalist orthodoxy.

The game is up. Neoliberalism, while still practised by Justin Trudeau, has run its course. John Ralston Saul proclaimed the neoliberal era dead in his 2005 book, "The Collapse of Globalism." Since then the IMF and the World Bank have denounced the sham of neoliberalism. Apparently neither Justin nor the Tory or NDP leaders got the memo. The political spectrum in Canada has been so narrowed as to crush any hope for real change from this lot.

There has, however, been movement in Britain, a desire even among the Tory ranks to chart a new path, abandoning the old, corrupt and failed neoliberal model or what Theresa May's campaign literature called "the cult of selfish individualism."

The Guardian's Paul Mason says nothing short of a clean break, a new party not bound by Tory or Labour ties, will save Britain from the iron grip of dying neoliberalism.

James Chapman, a former Daily Mail journalist and former spin doctor for George Osborne and David Davis, who now works for the PR firm Bell Pottinger, wants to launch a new centrist party called the Democrats, consisting of diehard anti-Brexiters from all parties. He claims that two cabinet ministers, several former Tory frontbenchers and even members of the Labour shadow cabinet have been “in touch”.

Chapman’s gambit is welcome because it comes after the early summer promise of a Tony Blair-led move to create a new centre party (emulating Emmanuel Macron’s) fizzled out. Private Eye claims that Blair asked Labour donor and Brexiteer John Mills for money, to no avail. At the annual conference of Progressthere were few takers for my suggestion that they “do a Macron”; in fact, Progress itself is a shrunken force inside the Labour movement and does not look capable of launching anything in the near future.


I want to suggest to those contemplating a new party a different course of action.

The global system is in trouble because it does not work. The European Union likewise. $12tn worth of unconventional monetary policy by central banks has bought time, and filled the cities of the world with speculative apartment blocks and shopping malls, but it has not restored dynamism to the world economy.

That is because the model is broken. A model based on wage stagnation, excess financial profit, relentless privatisation and stagnant productivity was always going to blow up – and that’s what happened in 2008. The decade since has been wasted because, among the wider elite that now fantasises about a new party, there was actually no new thinking.

It is not just political careers at stake: if neoliberalism is dying, thousands of PhDs are worthless; entire legal codes will evaporate; career paths will have to be rethought. Easier to blame the electorate for their stupidity in reaching for the gun of national-centric solutions than re-examine your own flawed assumptions.

Britain has a new and unstable relationship with Europe, in which the EU27 will always have the upper hand, and the resulting frictions will always threaten a repeat of June 2016. And the difference between Corbyn and the Tory right is clear: under no circumstances could Labour present to parliament a deal worse than the present situation, let alone vote for it.
For people who really cannot live with that, who would rather idealise the Europe that smashed Greece while tolerating racists and antisemites in power across eastern Europe, maybe a new party is the only place they’re going to be happy.
But the world has still changed. The global system is fragmenting and demands radical answers that neither Blairism nor Coalition-era Conservatism can offer. A new party would form an emotional comfort blanket: braver to expose yourself to the strategic problem of the age – to ditch the economic strategies of the past 30 years and rethink.


Trailblazer said...

That new party 'could' be the Greens; yet alas they too have fallen.
People will not vote differently until they admit to many inconvenient truths.
Until then the electorate will squabble over the crumbs that fall from the table.

Toby said...

First step: fire any and all with a MBA.

the salamander said...

.. my thoughts ?

- Canadians are not well served by majority governments ..
- Yes, we need a new party, willing to serve as a minority government
- we need riding candidates, put forward.. of no particular party leaning at all

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, you make the argument for electoral reform and explain why Trudeau backtracked on his solemn promise. He will obstruct any measure that imperils the continuation of this neoliberal order.

the salamander said...

.. well Mound .. having lived & worked & thrived.. across Canada..
I don't feel any affection for political parties or partisans, I especially loathe reading about 'star candidates.. being gleefully parachuted in to 'safe ridings' at any level. Civic, provincial or federal.. knowing of course at prov and fed levels their 'vote' in the House.. will be 'whipped'. That a political party could have a Rob Anders or Pierre Poilievre elected in a 'safe' riding, truly angers me. Like when Dr Kellie Leitch - 'Miss Asbestos' was airlifted in.. Or Julian Fantino into Richmend Hill plus Harper's guy with the red goatee specializing in live & robo calling via databases. And what exactly did that majority government accomplish aside from election fraud, wiping out any and all environmental legislation across Canada - arranging tax giveaways to Big Energy.. and giving us a boogie man child named Khadr ?

I'm becoming more and more certain.. than Canada needs Political Party Reform - prior to Electoral Reform. We need to see political animals & lobbyists fenced off from our governments. Further, we need a limit put on such public servants period of service.. even. a 'best before date' to get them out of government and back to whatever it is they were doing before elected. How else to rid ourselves of parasites like Alison Redford or Jason Kenney or Gord Campbell? And what they hell was going on with Ray Novak being the 2nd most powerful politician in Canada, anyway ? I don't recall him being elected.. unless being a poli sci grad out of U of Western Ontsrio gets you a ticked to ride. Jenni Byrne? Who ever elected that witch? She went back and forth like ping ball getting paid by tax payers, then by Conservatives during elections. We ended up with Gail Shea & Keith Ashfield 'running' a scam called Ministry of Fisheries & Coast Guard under a majority government plus a Toronto stock broker named Joe 'tidewater' Oliver on Resources & faded jaded news reader Peter 'the wolf poisoner' Kent on Environment

We could start with a 4 year max for such public servants.. plus stringent reqs that they are in fact, long term inhabitants of good standing within the riding thet are nominated in. Of what use are well to do creeps like 'last breath' lawyer Arthur Hamilton in a prairie or marine riding?

On a final note.. make 'election polls' illegal for a full month prior to elections. Yes, a full embargo. They end of as 'news' .. and all they are is speculation bred to partisanship.. the bastard children of lazy or sellout mainstream media. Sure there's some that can be useful.. but look how Stephen Harper trashed the census & left Canada in the dark about evolving society & culture. Instead we were informed daily via polls.

Anyway.. just some 'blue sky' ideas Mound.. Keep up your fine fine work !

Northern PoV said...

Not so fast there Poindexter...

The only 'new party' that presents any hope in the UK is the Corbyn-Labour party (not the elite-Labour faction that is currently quiet)

this other group is an attempt to recruit the Labour-elite into an ongoing "centrist" (ie Trudeau, Blair, Obama style creeping-capitalism) coalition, just as May and her bots become toxic.

The Mound of Sound said...

"Poindexter" NPoV, really?

Anonymous said...

The Grauniad has become mainstream establishment and was virulently anti-Corbyn during the election. The BBC treated the man horribly. Water off a duck's back - he'd won twice against the Blairites trying to dump him as party leader. After he did very well in the election, these journo people fell over themselves saying they'd been wrong about him. Humiliating.

But wait! New hope! A new centrist party, that's the ticket! It can be neoliberal and bypass the old codger Corbyn. Kind of like the Trudeau Liberals, say one thing mean another. Perfect!

That's about how the establishment is trying to wiggle out of the bankrupt austerity Tories, and marginalize Corbyn at the same time, the only man trying to represent real Britons with renewed socialist ideas and not bow down to the financial shysters and old money harumph types.

He was anti-Brexit, remember? A Remain person. But the establishment is now trying to peddle the fake story that at heart he was a Brexiteer, just posin' to Remain. "We can't share the wealth with the great unwashed masses," said a House of Lords spokesman, "and are currently seeking options to wean the public away from their likeness of this man who will destroy Britain if given half a chance!"