Has Social Democracy Failed
Has social democracy failed, in Europe and the UK? It might be seen to have failed because by its very nature it allies the middle and working classes and offers improvements for both, those in the middle rise higher and so join the establishment class and those at the bottom also appear to be more secure better off and some will rise to a more middle class position. This is social mobility and Social democracy then starts to struggle with how to represent those whose lives it has improved. But how from this do we get to the ridiculous site of a political party representing working people based on democratic socialism but run by millionaires who have never had any other source of income than politics or family wealth?
At its zenith social democracy in the UK it could have introduced challenges to the establishment like PR, state funded politics, media control, common ownership by commonwealth or co-op but refused, instead leaders lined their pockets and those not taking the Kings shilling such as Brown were isolated and destroyed.
As to the state of unions, European and UK, this largely depends on how and who it benefits as nationalism of left and right rears its head. The EU largely created to stop war has become a saviour of the new entrants to the establishment, how many failed politicians of this election will end up like the Kinnocks established in Europe or its local branch the House of Lords. At present this cosy band is under threat from Greek poverty where a new social democratic set is knocking at the door and asking for a new set of rules in order to be let in, or else they will need to administer a violent sort of parasitic medicine. And so in this battle let us introduce the uncontrolled over lords of communication and media, who have confused us in this battle as to who is the body and who the parasite and so it goes. Social democracy says little or is over awed.
As an active participant in social democratic politics for many years I look at the leadership in the parties or the unions and see no one of any value. A new politics needs to emerge as it has in Southern Europe and a new transparency and access, we need to cast aside our fear of the future, take the medicine and live a new….as the quote goes we have nothing to fear but fear itself…but we won’t unless our hand is forced, too busy looking the other way.
What of the political system that social democracy has of so long upheld? Is the political system is done for? First past the post does not and will not deliver. But what can we put in its place and how coould we persuade those who have won by this election model that a different one would serves us better. The democratic pillars in the system have not been protected, so we became too reliant on the finance system and the media to support it. As to what happens on social media, politically for the left and I included social democracy in this, it is an ouroboros, with communication mainly with the converted and people boasting who they were blocked by. It ends up eating its now tail.
In this new world and a new economic environment The politicians are just trying to convince us of what they wouldn’t do, the only honest thing on that stage is in fact Liam Byrnes letter, leaving them with little or nothing, so they can do nothing effective.
There is no money, the system is defunct, they just want power, it’s time to change the way things are done but no one will give up the power they have easily.
Recent in depth polling shows labour to be ahead in every age group except the over 60s. This of course is the age group with a higher percentage of voter turnout.
This age group fears the story of economic incompetence that will hurt their pensions and has damaged the return on savings. This age group fears social liberalism because it means they fear to walk the streets where they feel vulnerable, this age group is already catered for by previous labour governments, the only thing that is not covered is the thing they need and prize the most …the NHS. Cameron has already woven his story on the other issues that appeal to this age group, so they are more inclined to accept his NHS lies as they did in 2010.
What argument, presentation or story would persuade this age group, they are in part silver surfers but more inclined to read a paper and believe what they are told. Which papers still have the largest circulations and reach? Does social democracy need to court these papers or fight them?
In politics we often drive for outcomes without really understanding mechanisms. Many active now in the politics of social democracy have no true idea of the impact of the intricacies of economics. Why are oil prices falling to such a low level, the last time the saudis had such an influence on world markets was the mid 1970s when the surging democratic socialist movement was halted in its track by new monetarism and the neoliberal path finders on the back of an oil price that rose massively 3 times in one week. What now? what will the impact be on the asian markets on India, on China and how will that reflect on the ideals that democratic socialist hold dear. Don’t you think you should know. As one specific example, what effect will it have on tax. Indirect taxes like those on fuel and insurance allow income tax to be kept at relative low rates, as fuel prices drop will more or less fuel be used or available and more or less tax claimed or allowed? What are the economics of war, how can money be spent on wars, battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, yet money not found for social programmes. We need new economists who understand the new changing global economy centering around China and Oil.
And now Whatever happens, the wealthy will be ok, it’s the other part of the population that will take the brunt. Looking at all of the politicians and media types ( brothers and sisters in wealth and position)they talk a good talk but the reality of getting the Queens subjects ( remember we have no citizens) out of a debt cycle of their own (that the economy relys on), away from the food bank queue and into a healthier lifestyle that puts less pressure in the sacred health service is a harder job than losing weight, leadership and lambasting the Union. Neo liberal economics has not worked, but neither did centralised command/control economics of the immediate post war period. I do not see or hear enough new thinkers or theorists talking up answers. Take renationalising rail, what form will that take? The old form doomed to failure or one based on Cooperation, or John Lewis style ownership or perhaps run like the staff owned multinational Scott-Bader commonwealth (Scott-Bader ltd). Who is actually offering real alternatives? Politicians, social activists? I don’t think so, but at least they are crying out that there should be an alternative, and it is why they have got everyone’s attention.