The life, and death, of a party.
In a previous article, I discussed in general terms how a mainstream political party can die. There are always several contributing factors to this rare phenomenon, but the main one is that it becomes too inward looking and disconnected from both its power base of voters and too many of the representatives its voters have elected.
There’s also an extra contributing factor at work these days; the electorate’s profound disenchantment with what is termed mainstream politicians, irrespective of the party’s nominal right or left-wing leaning.
Electorates have simply run out of patience with politicians and their uncritical cheerleaders in the media, both of whom seem to inhabit a world in which none of the voter’s deep concerns matter or even appear to exist.
This disconnect between politicians and electorates seems to be a global phenomenon. If you look at a selection of the main parties in the democratic countries around the world, which I’m going to do in this article, you can see the same process at work in all of them.
These are very dangerous times for the establishment parties in Europe and America, and I see the same peril growing in Australia in the come back of Pauline Hanson. All the tired old tricks of lying, breaking promises and ignoring the basic wishes of electorates in pursuit of some sort of vanity morality that only exists in their rarefied circles is leading to two phenomena; the destruction or structural change of what were establishment parties and the rise of new so-called radical ones accurately reflecting the electorate’s real concerns.
The policies espoused by new parties are nearly always termed radical by what is overwhelmingly a herd-minded liberal leaning mainstream media, which has essentially cosied up too close to the political establishment. Most ordinary people see nothing particularly wrong with so many of these policies, and indeed the harder the media criticise policies that offend their liberal sensitivities, the more electorates tend to ignore whatever the media is saying.
There is a feeling that the media is telling them what they should properly think and increasingly people out of sheer irritation, are doing the opposite. The media, like the political establishment, are disconnected, live in their own little cocoon, insulated from the real world and increasingly they, again like the political establishment, are under serious threat from new media, which feels no need to cosy up to anybody.
That’s the reason newspapers are closing down or scraping along running an annual £85 million pound deficit like the Guardian, and despite the noblest intentions in the world, that sort of financial bloodletting isn’t going to last for much longer.
At the end of the day and despite what some people might flatter their own egos to believe, the media is a business just like any other, not some sort of noble financial self-immolation to be allowed to burn a hole through a company’s profit and loss account. The product just isn’t selling now that there are internet alternatives which are not in the pocket of some special interest.
A shining example of the declining influence of the legacy media is the storm this week over a decade old recording of Donald Trump making some lewd remarks. None of us have ever done anything like that, have we? After a firestorm of criticism by every organ of the media and being roundly condemned by all the old Republican dinosaurs who failed to stop him in the primaries, he comes out of Trump Towers the next day to be greeted by a large impromptu crowd of people cheering him on.
The beautiful people may have been thoroughly offended and scandalised by him, but the ordinary people couldn’t give a damn about the issue; they were just worried he’d cave under the pressure and withdraw from the race. He came out fighting rather than cowed, so the whole campaign of faux outrage by assorted media turnips, GOP dinosaurs and assorted SJWs essentially backfired on them all.
It is yet again a vivid illustration of how totally out of touch the GOP establishment are with popular sentiment. The last thing they should ever have done was to rush to condemnation and demand he withdraw, because it’s obvious he’ll never withdraw under any circumstances and his defiance of all the pressure he was put under gave him yet another chance to reprise his role as the plucky David up against the Republican/Media Goliath.
I find it barely creditable that career politicians can be so incredibly inept at reading the public’s mood. With political nous like that, it’s no wonder they’ve only won two of the last six presidential elections. They’re finished, because that last escapade made them look like the complete bloody fools they are to any remaining grass root Republicans who had any lingering faith in them.
People are only too aware of the media pouncing on Trump’s words, while steadfastly ignoring multiple accusations of rape and sexual harassment by Bill Clinton, and Hillary’s active participation in smothering each of those scandals as they came along over the years, even if that meant destroying the reputation of the victim.
She seems to have some history on the unusual sex games front herself. Confirmation finally came out this week of all those rumours which have swirled about her for years from none other than Yoko Ono that she and Hillary were lesbian lovers. Other tales that her same-sex shenanigans went on long after her supposed youthful experimentation are just unconfirmed rumours at this point. Poor Yoko, I don’t think she quite realises the pressure she’s about to come under to retract.
I rather suspect that little titbit of information won’t be in the information pack Clinton hands out as she campaigns her way across the bible belt.
Add in the history of her defending a man who raped a 12-year-old girl called Kathy Shelton so severely, she was in a coma for five days afterwards. Hillary trashed the child’s reputation in court, got the rape charge pled down and the rapist ended up serving just two months in the county jail. Everyone, including the guilty, are entitled to a defence lawyer, but that’s not what repulses me. It’s her crowing about winning the case.
A number of years later, Hillary had a good laugh over that case in an interview with a journalist. I doubt if Kathy Shelton ever laughed about it. As an adult, she has suffered life-long clinical depression and because of internal damage could not conceive a child.
And that’s the person leading the condemnation of a private locker room conversation that occurred eleven years ago, and painting herself as a champion for women …
The harder the legacy media and political establishment come down on him, the more it shows their hypocrisy and the more popular he becomes. They really don’t have the foggiest idea of how to handle the Trump phenomenon.
Electorates are suffering a double whammy of frustration. The reality is they know politicians are simply not listening to their unfashionable views and because of the consensus lock down of the mainstream media, there is no outlet for their opinions, except again in the new media.
The Republican party handled the Trump situation with an ineptness that was simply beyond astonishing. By the time they stopped sneering at him and recognised the danger, he’d already backed them into a corner and they never saw it coming. Trump represents the necessary restructuring of the GOP’s offering to their traditional support base and the end of the old order.
They know they’re finished if he wins – that’s why they’ve got to stop Trump at all costs, and to hell with the presidential election.
He connected directly with the real concerns of the electorate and if the GOP had sabotaged his run at the presidency, it would have destroyed the party, because it would have created a schism between them and most probably a new independent party created by Trump, never mind splitting their vote and handing the presidency to Clinton on a plate. They are going to have to change the way they do business in the future.
The establishment Democrats staved off their own version of the Trump danger, in the form of Sanders, but I’m not convinced this is as good a piece of fortune as they think it is – far from it. The manner in which Sanders was dispatched and the subsequent email revelations that the supposedly neutral party had actively connived with Clinton against him alienated the first time youthful supporters of the party who had really believed in him and it.
They were the young enthusiastic foot soldiers of a party who usually go on to be lifelong party workers but after the sense of betrayal they feel over Sanders, I doubt if they’ll warm to Clinton or any other Democrat politician of her ilk. In the long term, that is bad news for the party. Losing the youth party worker now is laying down election wolfsbane for the coming years.
Sanders was not as politically astute as Trump nor as daring, but if he’d just been more aggressive, a very vulnerable opponent like Clinton was his for the taking.
That weakness was graphically on show in the second presidential debate. At one point she was floundering around so much, one of the two “moderators” started debating Trump in her stead to save her embarrassment while she sat silently and looked on with a relieved smile on her face. It was effectively three against one in the debate, and Trump still walked it.
Incidentally, I thought it was a brilliant touch that Trump had four of Bill Clinton’s alleged rape victims sitting in the front row of the audience. The message was clear, feel free to drag me over the coals for a private locker room conversation, and I’ll just as easily swing into a discussion of your husband’s rape allegations. You could feel the fear palpably radiating out of Bill and the whole Clinton camp. The tapes were barely mentioned.
For the elements of the establishment of both parties in America who recognise structural change is now inevitable, the phrase damned if you do, damned if you don’t seems most apt. However, both parties survived although they’ll never be quite the same again, especially if the establishment candidate of Clinton loses to the upstart Trump in November.
If that happens, out will go the political androids in suits rolling off ivy league production lines, and in will come a whole new type of gritty but more relevant politics in America.
In Europe, the same pattern is emerging. Politicians detached from their electorates, and the electorates casting around for outspoken representatives who will listen to their concerns and act in their name.
In France, Marine Le Pen of the National Front party is taking voters from the mainstream parties, though at a leisurely pace. If terrorist attacks on the scale of the last Paris one continue, that process will almost certainly accelerate. Islands within its large metropolitan cities have already become Islamic no go areas and continued terrorism has claimed hundreds of lives. Perhaps because of the large loss of life, the politicians there finally seem to be addressing people’s security concerns.
Sweden, a small country with a small population, has been swamped by immigrants, and the very fabric of its liberal society is coming apart at the seams under a sustained assault by alien immigrants who share none of its values, and don’t want to either. The rest of the smaller countries of Europe have taken note of that, and consequently will not accept any so-called immigrants, even if they have to pay a nominal fine for not doing so, as Switzerland did.
The EU’s threat to compel quotas of immigrants on each member state is an empty one in its current fragile state, simply because that would almost certainly spark off more equivalents of brexit.
In Germany, things are changing very fast because of the sudden impact 1.3 million aliens are having on the everyday life of people there. These immigrants were welcomed with open arms by Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) and have proved to be nothing more than welfare seekers, shiftless and came with a chronic rape culture that the establishment politicians are not only determined to ignore, but even try to suppress the reporting of the growing crisis of sex attacks.
A new and fast growing party called Alternative for Germany (AfD) is making large inroads into the electorates of the mainstream parties like Merkel’s CDU.
It’s obvious to the ordinary German that the mainstream parties are in denial about too many things; how bad the immigration problem has become, sex attacks on both women and children becoming a daily event, the EU project unravelling and Germany having to write large cheques to keep the failing southern EU states in the euro zone.
The big fear is that it’s only a matter of time before Germany itself has a mass casualty terrorist attack, similar to what happened in Paris.
There is as yet no sign of any of the mainstream German parties facing up to any of these serious problems, never mind doing something effective about them, which is why I can see the AfD continuing to hoover up the dissatisfied voters from the other parties. Time will tell.
The situation in Britain again follows the same pattern, but with two distinctly different reactions to it.
The “radical” new party in Britain is the UK Independence party (UKIP). It’s been the beneficiary of increasing numbers of disgruntled voters migrating from both the Conservative and Labour parties because it led with basic issues of immediate concern to working people which the traditional parties wouldn’t even discuss.
The two big causes it championed were immigration totally out of control and consequently driving working people’s wages down through the floor as employers took advantage of cheap immigrant labour, and a demand for a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the EU.
Both of these issues were of concern to most of the electorate but the response of both the mainstream parties and their pals in the media to anyone raising these concerns was to label them as little Englanders or racists. Patently, when you’ve lost your job because an immigrant is prepared to do it for peanuts and the response of the politicians who are supposed to be looking after the welfare of their own citizens first, is to ignore the whole problem, people will look for a party prepared to fight on that issue. Enter UKIP.
The reason Cameron decided to hold the brexit referendum, and the only one apart from his misjudgment that he could win it, was the snowballing of support for UKIP fed by desertions of life-long voters from the traditional parties, including his own. He had no choice going into the last General Election but to promise a referendum, or he wouldn’t win it.
Having got their referendum and won it, their leader Nigel Farage after 20 years running the party retired from politics and a new leader was decided on. She only lasted 18 days, and he’s been forced back in to resume leadership on an interim basis.
Like all one issue parties or movements, having achieved their primary objective, they appear to be at a loss as to what to do next. If they can stop the internecine power struggles, keep their squabbling behind closed doors and start acting like a grown up party, then they’ll very likely become a big beneficiary of ordinary voters fleeing a disintegrating Labour party.
But they need to get their act together, and right now.
The Conservative party, representing the right-wing, under the leadership of David Cameron held the brexit referendum, confident of winning it. In yet another colossal miscalculation of the popular mood by the politicians and the establishment, they were astonished to have lost and haven’t stopped whingeing about it on a daily basis ever since.
However, Cameron did the honourable thing and resigned, which resulted in the usual tussle for who was to become the next party leader. After a merciful short period of briefing, counter-briefing, back stabbing and promises of power for support, a winner in the form of Theresa May emerged, to become the second female Prime Minister of Britain.
She comes from the modest background you’d expect being a vicar’s daughter, early education in the state system but eventually reached university at Oxford where she read Geography. I like the look of her, if only because her actions within the first 24 hours of her premiership were exactly the kick up the ass the party needed.
Fire every one of the rich, public school, Oxbridge educated, never had a real job, smarmy “in” set that have been running the party to suit themselves and their cronies for over a decade, and replace with some real shakers and movers. Just as appointing idiots and yes men as subordinates is the sign of a weak leader, appointing strong capable people is a very good sign of a confident leadership.
Within a short time, she’d completely restructured party policy to accurately reflect the concerns of the electorate over EU control of the country, brexit actually being implemented, out of control immigration, job creation and security against terrorism. She obviously saw the structural problems with the party’s offering to the electorate, and probably realised that if the Labour party opposition hadn’t been in such complete disarray, winning the last election would have been problematic.
The foundation for 18 years of Conservative party rule have just been put in place, especially as she’s astute and ruthless enough to go in for the kill by courting Labour’s disaffected voters who are currently homeless and momentarily up for grabs. She took time to do exactly that in her party conference speech last month.
That brings me nicely around to discussing the Labour party in Britain. There’s so much wrong with it, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The basic problem is the party is being led by a Marxist backbencher called Jeremy Corbyn who is not only unelectable in a conservative country with a small “c”, but doesn’t care about that anyway. After all, winning elections is a despised Capitalist activity.
To compound the problem, because of a disastrous change in internal leadership election rules, he was chosen to be party leader by the party members and not the MPs. He can’t be got rid of, because the party membership has expanded massively with a flood of extreme leftists who only had to pay a paltry £3 to join the party and therefore have a vote in electing its leader.
The party got hijacked on the cheap by extremist left wingers.
When his own MPs saw the numbers on how fast their traditional supporters were fleeing the party, they promptly tabled a no confidence vote in him, which was duly carried 170 votes to 40, but he just ignored it and them. Most of his shadow cabinet resigned, so he just filled the vacant posts with flunkies who’d do as they were told. This led to a rather unwinnable leadership contest which Corbyn, thanks to the invasion of extremists into the party, won handsomely.
In the wake of his “victory” he’s had yet another cabinet reshuffle, this time around getting rid of the few remaining moderates and totally surrounding himself now with incompetents and ignoramuses, but their saving grace is they’re all solidly welded to an eighties retro dream of a coming worker’s utopia. How exactly this is to be achieved without winning an election has yet to be determined.
As part of the reshuffle, he fired Labour’s highly-respected chief whip whose two deputies immediately resigned in protest. This gave him the opportunity to fill all three posts with suitably loony Marxists. There’s a slow, creepy efficiency in the way that every significant post in the party is gradually being filled with his biddable lackeys that’s reminiscent of Stalin slowly taking over the Communist party.
People think of Corbyn as somehow a gentle but out of touch idealist, but his ruthlessness in exerting complete control over every organ of the Labour party tells a completely different story.
The woman he appointed to investigate anti-Semitism in the party wrapped it up in weeks flat, giving it a clean bill of health. Her reward for what is commonly perceived as the most blatant whitewash in years, was a peerage elevating her into the House of Lords in the reshuffle.
It’s beyond certainty that Corbyn will lose the next election, but in the meantime an extremist organisation called Momentum, which is essentially Corbyn’s battalion of brown shirt thugs used to intimidate his internal enemies, is deeply embedded inside the party and is pushing for deselection of standing MPs before the next election. That means moderate MPs will soon be replaced by hand-picked Marxists.
An additional factor is that the party has become a nutter magnet and is now being swarmed by all the Jesus-sandaled, granola nibblers traditionally drifting in the Oort Cloud well out beyond the political fringe, who are welcomed in with open arms. This is really helping Labour out on both the credibility and electability fronts.
A Labour friend of mine in despair at what was happening to the party he’d supported all his life remarked that the only hope they had was if Corbyn got run over by a bus, and he’d volunteer to drive it. I reminded him that even then, the party members would just elect someone just as extreme, if not worse.
Under the new leadership election procedure, there’s no way out for the party, no way back, no way of saving it.
Even after losing the next General Election with what will undoubtedly be biblical losses of seats outside the fashionable areas of north London, the leadership won’t resign and still cannot be changed.
It’s a party in its death throes.
The only way forward for the moderates in the party is to split off and form a new Labour party, since courtesy of Momentum it’s only a matter of time until they get purged anyway. Forming a new party based on the moderate socialist policies of the original Labour party will take at least two more General Elections to form an electable opposition, but unless the attempt is made soon, traditional Labour supporters will already have migrated to UKIP or even more disastrously to the more genuinely centrist and inclusive Conservative party that Theresa May is carefully constructing.
On balance, I think habitual but disgruntled Labour voters would have less of a problem moving over to UKIP than the Conservatives, whom they’ve always seen as their natural enemy.
As always, timing is vital in politics. At this moment, traditional life-long Labour voters who cannot support what used to be a political party turning into nothing more than an eccentric protest movement not interested in winning elections, are casting about for a new home. Provide one now by doing the break away and they’ll flock to it. Leave it too long, and they’ll already have moved over to UKIP or the Conservatives, and they’ll be disinclined to move yet again.
The Labour party was conforming to pattern and steadily losing voters to UKIP. Its leader Ed Milliband was simply too politically thick to see that by taking the leadership election choice away from MPs and handing it over to party members who could join for a pittance, would make the party ripe for a takeover, which was the end game all along.
He did it in exchange for the union barons’ support for his leadership bid, but they knew he’d never win the general election, would resign in the aftermath and by having already flooded the party membership with their own foot soldiers, they could pick the leader of their choice to hijack a mainstream party, and that’s exactly what they did.
They laid the trap and he walked straight into it.
It’s actually the same process; a party disconnecting from its traditional electorate, but merely being accelerated by the Marxist hijacking and with the same result.
As I said at the start of this article, these are dangerous times for mainstream parties. Nearly all of them have already been wounded to some extent or another, but the Labour party of Britain looks to be the first fatality.
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