Janan Ganesh as Madame Arcati? Political Cynic comments

Title this ‘The Enlightenment of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’ ? Mr. Ganesh doesn’t need to dust off his Madame Arcati shtick, he uses C-Span to demonstrate that Bill Clinton’s utter betrayal of the New Deal Tradition, in America, might just work in Britain: thus was born, the post WWII Labour Party and its Welfare State morphed into ‘Thatcherism Light’? Political opportunism, wedded to what would evolve into the myth of ‘The Third Way’ (Edward L. Bernays wrote the manuel.)that led to the economic/political catastrophe of 2008!

The archive of the US broadcaster C-Span is among the internet’s little wonders. In January 1993, an “Anthony Blair” toured Washington with another British MP named Gordon Brown. Their brief: to divine how president-elect Bill Clinton had won office and what their four-times defeated Labour party might learn. Their interview with a C-Span anchor of the just-the-facts school (“How many MPs in the House of Commons?”) is immortalised.

That ‘C-Span anchor‘ is Brian Lamb. He conducts a polite, and informative interview, aimed at an American audience. Not much more to be said. Except, of course, from Mr. Ganesh’s lofty perch.

Then the reader confronts more Ganesh mis-readings, misapprehensions, or just ideologically inflected chatter e.g. :

President Joe Biden’s centre-left peers are out of power and often out of sorts in the UK, France, Australia and the Netherlands.

A vexing question arises: how can a Neo-Liberal be ‘Center-Left’? The ‘Center’ in Western political life is now defined by the alliance between the Neo-Liberals and the Neo-Conservatives. Such is the toxicity of a collapsed Neo-Liberalism, that an actual rational political Center cannot exist. Except as a pose, a self -created mirage, a simulacrum.

 If the Democrats stand out from a centre-left malaise, it is for reasons that are not much imitable outside the US.

I’ve run out of patience with Mr. Ganesh! How telling that Right-Wing Populism is the watershed of a failed Neo-Liberal Swindle? After the Crash of 2008, the fate of the Working and Middle Classes left to a rapacious Capitalism, and a politics controlled by sycophants to that Capital, and their Media allies.

On that ‘Center-Left Malaise’ in Europe see Phillip Ther’s ‘Europe since 1989: A History’ Chapters 4 & 5 that describes the toxic effects, that a fully embraced Neo-Liberalism, that left the Mitteleuropean states ripe for the Populists. That might just be first step toward an understanding of the ‘center-left malise’? Mr. Ganesh’s ‘center -left’ could be a stand-in for ‘Liberal’ or even ‘Left-Wing Social Democrats’?

With his political parameters in place, Mr. Ganesh is at full political gallop, the ‘Left’ in all its political iterations, is the enemy of choice. But the garnish is all important, the catalogue of reasons, a political symptomology is offered.

What can the reader make of the continuing rebellion, in France, against the Neo-Liberal Macron, which the Corporate Media ignores, although twitter is its life blood. And Corbyn’s ‘Project for Peace and Justice’ are the signs that the ‘Rebellion Against the Elites’ has simply reached a new stage of political development, maturation?

Mr. Ganesh final paragraph, the highfalutin notion of ‘the social contract’ dresses up his intervention with a quandry, or is it a conundrum?

What is distinctively American is the gap between the two parties on the social contract. And the subsequent indispensability of the Democratic voice. That the Biden and Republican plans for pandemic relief are $1.3tn apart could not be more eloquent of the stakes. To look at their electoral record, then the lot of the US poor, it is hard to tell if the Democrats are the most successful progressives in the rich world or the most consistently disappointing.

Political Cynic


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.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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