At The Economist: Mrs. May vs. Jeremy Corbyn. Almost Marx comments

Now the retooled Soviet Socialist Realist paintings of Lenin preaching to the Proletariat, with Corbyn’s face superimposed into the image, is a propaganda tool now discarded by the wily Oxbridgers of the Economist editorial staff. But the Oakshottian contempt for the ‘lower orders’ and its current political instrument, Mr. Corbyn, remains the political mainspring of this Tory tabloid.

Headline: Theresa May’s failed gamble

Sub-headline: The Conservatives’ botched campaign will bring chaos—and opportunities

Her political career has been defined by caution. So it is cruel for Theresa May, and delicious for her enemies, that it may have been ended by one big, disastrous gamble. Eight weeks ago she called a snap election, risking her government for the chance to bank a bigger majority against an apparently shambolic Labour opposition. With the Conservatives 20 points ahead in the opinion polls, it looked like a one-way bet to a landslide and a renewed five-year term for her party. But there followed one of the most dramatic collapses in British political history. As we went to press in the early hours of June 9th, the Tories were on course to lose seats, and perhaps their majority.

Notice that the opening paragraph ignores the arrogance, not to speak of  self-destructive character of the Tories, under the leadership of both May and Cameron, demonstrated by their penchant for calling elections, when they were far ahead in the polls. May failed to learn from the Cameron debacle. Which leads to a pressing question: where was Rovian Political Guru Lynton Crosby? Was he advising Mrs. May to bank on that old Rovian standby of the 1% margin of victory? Notice this sentence fragment that was once a cornerstone of the Economist’s Party Line on Corbyn: an apparently shambolic Labour opposition. Mr. Corbyn’s campaign seemed to be very well organized, with help from Bernie Sanders and one of his campaign staff, so the use of shambolic describes the thought of the May campaign. The Economist editors/writer seek to distance themselves from this once mainstay of their Anti-Corbynism.

The best case for the Tories today is a wafer-thin majority under a prime minister whose authority may never recover.

What constitutes that ‘wafer-thin majority’ is described in detail by Robert Mackey of The Intercept:

Headline: After Election Setback, Theresa May Clings to Power in U.K. Thanks to Ulster Extremists

At the end of an election campaign that was nasty, brutish and short, British voters punished Prime Minister Theresa May at the polls on Thursday, depriving her Conservative Party of its governing majority in Parliament, and forcing her to rely on the support of a small party of extremists from Northern Ireland to stay in office.

Despite a late surge in support for the opposition Labour Party, whose leader Jeremy Corbyn offered a more uplifting vision of the future, the Conservatives managed to hold on to most of their seats, but are now the largest party in what’s known as a hung Parliament, where no single party can rule without some form of support from at least one other.

May said on Friday that she would govern with the backing of the Democratic Unionist Party, or D.U.P., extreme social conservatives from the Ulster Protestant community whose main aim is keeping Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.

As several commentators observed on Friday, the British public generally pays no attention to politics in Northern Ireland, and so might be in for a shock to discover just how extreme members of the D.U.P. are.

The party, founded by the virulently anti-Catholic, evangelical preacher Ian Paisley — who once denounced Pope John Paul II to his face as “the antichrist” — still includes fundamentalist Christians who believe in creationism but not climate science, and have fought to keep U.K. laws permitting both abortion and same-sex marriage from being implemented in the province.

Mrs. May, that product of Church of England carefully cultivated moral/social respectability, is now forced into a political alliance with some very unsavory political actors. Will she recognize the weakness of her political position? Will she, like the adroit Rovian, accept her position?

Ignoring the above, or just exercising the myopia of Neo-Liberals, the editors at The Economist posit three crises that will challenge the next Prime Minister. The ‘as if’ here being that May will no longer be Prime Minister.

First is the chronic instability that has taken hold of Britain’s politics, and which will be hard to suppress.

Second, the economy is heading for the rocks in a way that few have yet registered.

And third is the beginning, in just 11 days, of the most important negotiation Britain has attempted in peacetime. Brexit involves dismantling an economic and political arrangement that has been put together over half a century, linking Britain to the bloc to which it sends half its goods exports, from which come half its migrants, and which has helped to keep the peace in Europe and beyond.

Note on the first ‘crisis’ that the ‘chronic instability of British politics’ is posited as in need of ‘suppression’ this is, on its face, authoritarian. The fact is that Thatcherism and its political epigone New Labour have failed! But that kind of honesty is beyond the ken of the writers and editors of this publication.

The second ‘crisis’ is a product of the utter failure of the Neo-Liberal model as noted in my comment on the ‘first crisis’.

The third crisis is the Brexit negotiations and who will lead them. The Economist writers are in search of a Strong Man who can successfully lead Britain out of the wrong turn of The Brexit. The Economist scribes offer this:

…no politician has seriously answered the question of how the economic pain of Brexit will be shared.

The concluding paragraph of this weak, even craven editorial:

And yet it is just possible that something better may rise from the ashes. Last week we lent our backing to the Lib Dems in this election, not because we thought they would win, but because we identified a new gap in the radical centre of British politics that was being neglected. The election result suggests that voters, too, are not much convinced by the inward-looking bent of either Mrs May’s Conservatives or the hard-left factionalism of Mr Corbyn’s Labour. Our backing of the Lib Dems was a “down-payment” for the future. As the Tories ponder a new leader to replace the tragic Mrs May, that liberal future is once more in play.

What is the meaning of  ‘the radical centre of British politics’? The ‘inward-looking bent of either Mrs May’s Conservatives’? The ‘the hard-left factionalism of Mr Corbyn’s Labour.’ ? The positing of the Economist’s Our backing of the Lib Dems was a “down-payment” for the future.? Or the ludicrous claim that Mrs. May is ‘tragic’ instead of just hubristic? Call all of this the rhetorical garnish for the the protracted deathbed soliloquy of a  Thatcherism, in it various iterations.

Almost Marx





About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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