liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
I feel completely out of step with most of my friends politically. Before the election, there were a lot of voices telling me I should definitely vote Labour. And nobody gave me a really strong reason why Labour would be good for the country, just that leftwingness in the abstract is good and the Tories are bad. I read the Labour manifesto, and I thought, well, maybe Labour would only be 90% as bad as the current Conservative government. They have some policies I kind of agree with, and Corbyn seems somewhat less awful than most influential Labour politicians in the last 20 years. And yeah, you have to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Then Labour lost the election and everybody was celebrating except me. It feels really horrible to be going around saying, I don't understand why all my friends are so happy about this, so I mostly kept quiet. But I really don't get it. All these people who days before were proclaiming that another five years of Tory government would literally, without hyperbole, kill people, would destroy the NHS and remove all our human rights, were suddenly... happy that we have a Tory government, because they have a smaller majority than before. It felt like they were celebrating a football score where the underdogs had only narrowly lost instead of being trounced. Or perhaps people really believed that this time Corbyn would change his spots and actually leverage the slim majority to start opposing the Conservative government.

Of course that hasn't happened. Corbyn has continued political manoeuvring to depose any MPs in his own party who don't sufficiently perform enthusiasm for their Great Leader. And has continued to do absolutely nothing to oppose the Conservatives, supporting not only Brexit, but May's ridiculous plan to make Britain economically competitive by deregulating everything and driving down wages. Hardly in line with the workers' rights platform he claims to espouse. Now he'se gone full on xenophobe, foreigners are coming over here (excuse me, they're not even coming of their own free will in his rhetoric, they're getting 'imported'), and taking our jobs.

My first election was 1997 and I felt much the same: everybody around me was celebrating Blair's victory, and I was horrified. In fact Blair turned out to be much worse than naive little 18-year-old Liv was expecting, but at least in 1997 the Labour party had actually won the election, and I could see why Labour supporters would be pleased about that. Now Labour have lost the election, and show every sign of continuing to be completely useless in opposition, not just failing to oppose the government in general, but not even offering any alternative the most destructive policies I've seen in my lifetime. I would be sad, but might understand it, if Corbyn were driving a hard bargain, offering support for Brexit in exchange for guarantees on issues he considers a priority, whether that's keeping the NHS afloat, UK labour rights, helping people in poverty, protecting EU citizens in Britain and British citizens abroad, or even simply the renationalization programme he's committed to. But no, he's purging his party of Blairites, dissenters and europhiles, and letting May do whatever she likes.

And I was wrong in all my other predictions too. I didn't think May would last a week after the disaster of a general election where she gambled away her majority, and there she is still Prime Minister. I didn't think the Lib Dems would end up with a leadership election, nor that they would select Vince Cable who had been ruled out several years before on the grounds of being too old. Much less that they would get on the Brexit, anti-foreigner bandwagon.

I feel that I'm missing a piece, somehow. People keep telling me that Labour is good for working class people, and I just don't see it. I could buy an argument that the benefits of EU membership are more palpable to well-off middle class people. Lots of people have told me that I'm just voting my class interests by making keeping us in the EU a political priority. But I just can't see how any of this is good for working class people, or non-working disabled people, or precariously under-employed people. If I could be convinced that the current political situation is actually benefitting people who are worse off than me, I would be able to join in the celebrations. But nobody explains it to me, I'm obviously just a privileged jerk for not seeing what's so great about an ineffectual Labour opposition and complete withdrawal from every vaguely Europe-related collaboration.

It is possible that Corbyn's purges will bring him a more united party better placed to win an election in 2022. But by 2022 I'm not sure how much will be left of the country to elect a Labour government. Both in a literal sense that I don't expect the UK to last that long, I expect the union to break up, and more broadly. The economic hit from Brexit, the continued sell-off the NHS, the increased xenophobia, the whole programme of reducing immigration by making Britain a less desirable place to live than Romania or even Afganistan... I expect a significant number of people not to make it to 2022. And when it comes, we'll elect a racist who will find an excuse why it isn't actually practical to offer free school meals to white British children, in place of a racist who is ideologically committed to the proposition that starving children is a good way to incentivize people to stop being poor.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-25 06:01 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (libdem)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I didn't think the Lib Dems would end up with a leadership election, nor that they would select Vince Cable who had been ruled out several years before on the grounds of being too old. Much less that they would get on the Brexit, anti-foreigner bandwagon.


I'm going (with my Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate hat on) to object to this.

Yes, Vince Cable did write an article, while he was not an MP or a party spokesman, opposing Freedom of Movement as envisioned in the EU. I disagreed with that at the time and still do. It was against party policy at the time and still is; party policy is not determined by the Leader's private views.

A group of members, including me, who shared your concerns, challenged him to clarify his views; his response is here. Even if you believe that he's being disingenuous and that his views are not as he represents them, his personal views still do not constitute party policy, which is pro-FoM within the EU, and pro-remaining in the EU.

Also: there wasn't a leadership election as such; there was a vacancy in which only MPs were eligible to stand; assuming that previous leadership candidates and first-time new MPs wouldn't stand, there were all of three people who might have chosen to challenge Vince Cable (Jo Swinson, Ed Davey, Tom Brake). For whatever reasons, none did, leaving us with only one option for leadership.

Vince Cable is clearly old, but in my personal opinion he's still capable of doing an adequate job; I probably wouldn't've supported him as leader against Jo Swinson or Ed Davey, but for reasons other than age.

Party position on Brexit is that we continue to oppose it vigorously, and call for its reversal by means of a referendum on the final deal, with Remaining in the EU as one of the options on the ballot. Given that Vince Cable has been encouraging the use of the slogan "prepare an exit from Brexit", I don't think he's about to overturn this policy.
Edited Date: 2017-07-25 06:17 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-25 06:37 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I think one of the "real social impacts on local communities" things (and this is coming from me, a pretty die-hard pro-immigration campaigner) is that when you have changes in population in an area (whether it's from within the UK, from outside the UK, or from changes in birth rates), you do need changes in infrastructure. And governments haven't been ready enough to provide it.

Now, I'm 100% convinced that this infrastructure is readily affordable from the economic growth that immigration brings; but if you don't say this, you risk people thinking that you're arrogantly OK with the status quo, that you think that the actual tangible problems (some to do with population growth (e.g. various public services) and many more that are just to do with inequality e.g. housing prices, cost of living, job losses) that people have been blaming on immigrants aren't indeed problems.

So I want to be able to say to people "Brexit isn't the solution to your problems, this is why, and this alternative is what *is* the solution". Not "Brexit isn't the solution and your life is just fine the way it is" which I think is what far too many people think our position is.

(also yes please, no general election tomorrow, only just got my breath back from the last one)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-25 09:09 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
I hoped the Lib Dems would prioritize dedicated anti-Brexit campaigning over internal matters like deciding who should be party leader

I couldn't agree with this more strongly the decision is somewhat out of our hands though by having in our constitution that we have to have a leadership election within a year of a general election. Obviously there's a lot of a year that isn't right after a general election (and I'm not at all happy about the circumstances in which it seemed to be foisted upon us), but with the way I'm politics is going I don't think any time in the next year will be substantially better for a leadership election!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-25 09:23 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
And the actual "decision" took all of a couple of weeks, and no campaigning. I would've actually preferred a contested election, but the one saving grace of the way it panned out is that it wasn't a distraction from other stuff (and that it means no risk of having another general election while we're leaderless)

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