Sunday, September 13, 2015

Left Turn

Jeremy Corbyn's victory as the Labor Party leader may have few silver linings. One of them is to bury Tony Blair once and for all as the triangulated Left politics master. His endorsement of George Bush's war and UK's subsequent participation, were in the end part of a shameful chapter in UK history. Further it caused some serious damage to 'special relationship' between USA and UK as well. All that will come to a logical end with Corbyn at the Labor leader. Corbyn's at the helm also helps to erase disastrous leadership of Ed Milband. Miliband was the personification of lust for power - he pushed aside his more competent brother, grabbed the Labor leadership and drove the party into ditch due to his completely inconsistent campaign, pandering to all sections of UK voter base simultaneously. He did not provide any strategic direction neither for England-Scotland relations nor for UK-EU relations. At times, I just felt he was UK version of Bobby Jindal - always talking outrageous, with a finger in the air all the time to detect direction of blowing political winds.

Jeremy Corbyn will help Labor Party to get rid of all the non-sense of Blair and Miliband; all the more because he is essentially a strident Communist in today's world. All right, the principle based politics will help get rid of all the brand dilution of Labor as Tory-Lite. But there is no way today's global capitalism is going to go back to Coal Mine and Railway Worker Union world of Britain, circa 1940s. We are all past that world. Sure, Global Capitalism has problems. Economies of the world are more susceptible to waves of Global Capital sloshing everywhere. But answers for those are not in past Labor economic policies which Corbyn is selling. It may be easy to lure youngsters all motivated by 'do good'; but ISIS of the world and Putin's of the world are not making our lives safe. No wonder Tory Defense Minister opened the gates for a blistering attack on Corbyn. One terrorist lone wolf attack, one escalated foreign war with Jihadists; all that is enough to bring the original weakness of Ango-Saxon Left in spotlight - weak on national security. (Democrats in USA would not want to commit that mistake again.) 

Not only Corbyn is likely to get clobbered on national security and economic policies (after the tax increase, where will be those new jobs?); Immigration is the elephant in china room of Western Politics. Syrian refugee crisis is the only start, that is what experts say. Europe and UK are going to face waves after waves of new immigrants from unstable Africa and Middle-East. The real danger is, as Ross Douthat would like to say, UK under Corbyn leadership would absorb more migrants than UK as a society can digest. Not for nothing UKIP is making political life hell for Tories and it will do so to Labor too.

That is where already dead Liberalism of Nick Clegg can get resurrected. Sharing power with Tories essentially decimated Liberal Democrats. With UKIP on rise, there was no political space for them to grow in any direction, with the added complexity of SNP. Corbyn will be a blessing for Liberals if they want to take advantage of possible policy vacuum to be created by Labor as it moves  from Blair Centralism to Corbyn hard Left. [1]

On the other side of the Atlantic, people are naturally wondering whether  rise of Socialistic Bernie Sanders is driven by the same political forces which pushed Corbyn on the top. The political forces are same for sure - vast income inequality generated by Global Capitalism; but there is a big difference in the substance of what Bernie is offering compared to Jeremy Corbyn style Left. Glad that Bernie Sander's Socialism is unlike 'nationalization driven' communist regime Corbyn is advocating. In any case, there is no Market for Corbyn style politics in Democratic Party of America. Besides, it helps that a Democrat is an incumbent of White House who has some serious accomplishments which are to be defended in post-Obama years as well as Barack Obama did not make any blunders like Blair Iraq War which need to be buried. Clearly Hillary is incarnation of triangulation driven politics of Bill Clinton brand. But Obama regime has moved Democratic Politics in USA beyond triangulation. It was necessitated so due to deep polarization of American Politics. Not only Hillary has started 2016 campaign on much more Left note compared to her 2008 bid; she just cannot practice Bill Clinton style triangulation politics in a deeply polarized, post-Obama America. She is aware of that. But if Democratic base even wants to wash their hands completely with any politician named called Clintons; in Bernie or Biden, they do not have dangers of Corbyn.[2]

[1] - Matt Yglesias argues that Labor is adopting Corbynism because Tories moved to Left to occupy the Central position. Some merit is there in that argument. But UKIP will keep pulling Tory towards Right at least in some respect and that is where Liberal Democrats may get the political space to hawk their brand of Centralism. Of course, Liberal Dem Leadership will need to be adroit and smart to exploit this opening; not that I am a fan of their political philosophy or their leadership skills. Just that as these UK political tectonic plates move, I see how certain spaces would get created.

[2] - When Matt's argument is applied from UK to USA situation and one recognizes the obvious hard Right Turn of Republican and Tea Party, one realizes that there is no 'crowding' pressure on Democrats at the Center in USA. Which means Democrats can continue to practice Center-Left Policies without any electoral disadvantages, another reason why hard Left is not required. 

No comments: