Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

My centrist mates

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    My centrist mates

    Okay, well much as the word “centrist” is as crude a catch-all term as “the left”, it’s a slight misnomer to call them my “mates”. Some of them are longstanding and dear friends, others I only know via Facebook. But they seem to be extraordinarily highly represented on my feed, more so than in society at large.

    I have some political sympathy with them, primarily over Brexit, on which, sadly, I find myself in far more agreement with Blair than with Corbyn. I agree with them about Syria and the egregious support for Assad offered by some on the far left as if it would be a betrayal of the glorious Soviet motherland to say otherwise. In other areas I do not. They appear far more exercised when someone down in the sewers of Twitter somewhere says something fatuous, arguably (or unarguably) antisemitic about Israel than they are about the actual, murderous crimes of the Israeli state, which they blithely ignore as if they were simply a fact of life.

    They claim to represent some sort of true socialism but detest “the Left” with the gleeful heat of a thousand Nick Cohens, more than anything on earth. They share on their feeds instances of some maverick Labour council lunacy or some dubious Ken Loach statement as if this represents “the Left”’s terminal malaise since it made the lunatic error of electing Jeremy Corbyn as leader. They sometimes appear convinced that in the nightmare event of his becoming Prime Minister, there will be a resurgence of the IRA, Stalinism and pogroms. They monitor George Galloway closely as if he were deputy leader of Labour or something. In each instance it’s hard to disagree with them - yes, if you trawl social media, it’s as easy as fishing for shopping trolleys in a canal to find examples of gross idiocy, Rothschild memes, and so forth from people espousing leftwing politics. But so what? On sharing these items, their fellow centrists flock to support them, often with the sarky cry of “Your a Tory!’, the misspelling intended to ape the leftist caricature that dominates their minds.

    It’s hard to know what they actually believe in themselves as they never outline their own beliefs. Are they for renationalisation? Aggressive taxation of the super-rich? They vary in commitment - some actually campaign and leaflet for Labour, which is more than I do in fairness, others would never go on a demo lest they find themselves standing within 20 yards of a tankie. What bugs me about them, these friends, is their utter lack of political reflection. Corbyn’s surprisingly good performance in the 2017 General Election incontrovertibly removed one of the key planks of their argument - that his sort of politics was anathema to the general public. The truth is, centrist parties across Europe have generally performed abysmally, with Labour’s last share of the vote exceptionally high by comparison.

    Unfortunately, when centrists do soul-search, their impulse is to become still more “centrist” - redouble the number of Controls On Immigration mugs. It doesn’t occur to them that it’s not the 90s any more and levels of inequality have reached a tipping point that renders their own, business-friendly pragmatism utterly irrelevant. There was a brief moment of chastened humility after the 2017 election but this has been replaced by rage that the centre right is no longer the controlling force in Labour; the “sensibles”, or the “grown-ups”, as they like to say. Their analysis is that the UK has simply turned moron for no apparent reason (resulting in Brexit, as well as Corbyn) and that it is simply a matter of time before they come to their senses and vote for Yvette Cooper, or whoever.

    I don’t ultimately think Jeremy Corbyn has the calibre to lead Labour in the direction it needs to go. He’s an old man, not a great man, prone to binary simplicities. It would take an extraordinary talent, a youthful Harry (or Harriet) Perkins to pull off what’s required, something that only really happened once last century and then after a World War. However, I’ve no regrets whatsoever for voting for him. Thanks to Blair/Brown spending years ensuring that his wing of the party was barely represented, the only option on the ballot paper for those who wanted Labour to be truer to itself was Corbyn. He was the only doorway available. As for the centrists, as with the Democrats in the US, they need to spend a good deal less time harping on about the basket of deplorables they see all around them and more time contemplating their own failings. Right now, that just isn’t happening.

    #2
    As an occasional collider with some of the threads you're talking about, I understand and feel your pain Wingco. It has caused me to ponder whether the most left-baiting left-hating demographic in modern Britain is middle-aged white male music journalists. Is there something about rock'n'roll that actually encourages a latent conservatism, or disdain for the 'earnestness' of political activism?

    Comment


      #3
      Haha, yes, it is odd. Maybe they all think they’re going against the rock journo grain but nowadays they are the grain. Older school types like Charles Shaar Murray must look on in bewilderment.

      Comment


        #4
        It’s good to have you back, wingco. I’d like to post something on this later but I’ll briefly say that Owen Hatherly and When Saturday Comes contributor Joe Kennedy are good on his topic on Twitter, for anyone interested.

        Comment


          #5
          I also wonder about the correlation between people who were having the time of their life in their 20s in 1996, bawling along to Parklife in patronising Mockney accents, and yer modern centrist Dad, utterly befuddled by things not being like they were back then.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by E10 Rifle View Post
            Is there something about rock'n'roll that actually encourages a latent conservatism, or disdain for the 'earnestness' of political activism?
            Is part of it, not just for rock journalists, that while the centrists were in control you could consider yourself to be quite radical if you were marginally to the left of them, just as an impression took hold (unfairly perhaps) that Blair et al felt that very slightly less to the right than the Tories was all that was required. Corbyn's ascendancy has shaken that up and his critics' venom comes partly from their having their images of themselves, or how they like to be regarded, exposed to scrutiny. Ironically, Corbyn himself could equally stand accused of having a sentimental attachment to the trappings of revolution while his policy offering so far is nowhere near as extreme as his former public image might have suggested. Exposed on policy, the centrists fall back onto the competence/realpolitik issue, despite it having the inbuilt booby trap for them that all they had to do to demonstrate that commanding savoir faire was, erm, beat Jeremy Corbyn.

            Comment


              #7
              Maybe they all think they’re going against the rock journo grain but nowadays they are the grain.
              You've seized on the takeaway here: they're the grain.

              Life has, broadly, been pretty good for the kind of Stokey Newey media class hip dad types. They have no actual truck with neoliberalism and unchecked US/UK power. They won't serve, their kids are set up pretty well, they're on the fringes of the actual elite.

              It's why they're so spectacularly woeful at convincing anyone with their shit #FBPE Twitter screeds. There's nothing about the rights and freedoms being lost, the regulatory hellhole the UK is going down, the fact the EU has changed itself scores of times to external pressure and maybe if the UK wasn't run by neoliberals the EU might have gone down a different path (the UK playing a significant hand in reworking the EU to favour capital). They just shout and scream that anybody who doesn't love the EU must be a fucking idiot, and probably a crypto-bigot or just an actual bigot.

              Comment


                #8
                There was a great article posted on thr Corb Blimey! thread about this sort of thing - the problem is that the Sensibles have to admit that if one thing is wrong, but that starts a cascade where they have to admit everything they think is wrong.

                Found it: https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/jer...ew-right-wings

                Comment


                  #9
                  That piece Taylor Parkes wrote for the quietus was shocking.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Has anybody put together a "liberal/modern centre left/take that Corbyn!" manifesto?

                    When the centrist sort were in the ascendant in the 1990s and early 2000s, they had policy stuff coming out of their ears. whatever their faults. I haven't seen anything much like that today. The nearest thing I've seen was something a bloke from The Economist put together, and they're not even left, but did have some liberal stuff that I liked.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Nefertiti2 View Post
                      That piece Taylor Parkes wrote for the quietus was shocking.
                      Link?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by WOM View Post
                        Link?
                        Really, you hadn’t read it? It got huge coverage on here when he published it (pre-election). Anyways, here it is.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tubby Isaacs View Post
                          Has anybody put together a "liberal/modern centre left/take that Corbyn!" manifesto?

                          When the centrist sort were in the ascendant in the 1990s and early 2000s, they had policy stuff coming out of their ears. whatever their faults. I haven't seen anything much like that today. The nearest thing I've seen was something a bloke from The Economist put together, and they're not even left, but did have some liberal stuff that I liked.
                          Nope.

                          They define themselves by Not Being Corbyn. The problem is that if they drew up a set of popular policies (raising taxes on the rich, nationalise certain public services, removal of tuition fees and so on), they end up right next to Corbyn. And then their heads explode.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Snake Plissken View Post
                            Nope.

                            They define themselves by Not Being Corbyn. The problem is that if they drew up a set of popular policies (raising taxes on the rich, nationalise certain public services, removal of tuition fees and so on), they end up right next to Corbyn. And then their heads explode.
                            I think those aren't good policies, as it happens. Certainly I don't believe you can do what's being said with "asking business and the rich to pay a bit more".

                            But I agree, nobody seems to be doing much work putting together better policies, just glowering at Corbyn. At least he's having a go, and I think that came across very strongly in the election, and people responded to it.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I guess this is as good a place as any for Ben Judah's piece on Momentum for the FT

                              Judah himself Jewish comments on how many Jewish people are involved.


                              But Ruth Smeeth....

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Reginald Christ View Post
                                Really, you hadn’t read it? It got huge coverage on here when he published it (pre-election). Anyways, here it is.
                                Cheers. But I thought something recent had been published.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Snake Plissken View Post
                                  The problem is that if they drew up a set of popular policies (raising taxes on the rich, nationalise certain public services, removal of tuition fees and so on), they end up right next to Corbyn. And then their heads explode.
                                  As with Tubby, I don't think those are particularly good policies. And I suppose that makes me a centrist. The trouble with the kind of centrists that I think Wingco is on about, though, is that they pick the wrong policies to be right wing about - they are Blairite triangulators, who think that centrism means being hostile to foreigners, and immiserating people who're already poor. Making sure they're seen to be tough because they're afraid as looking soft and wet, they seem to want policies that kick the most vulnerable in society.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Erm, sorry, but I think I'm one of them? While I am seemingly far less politically minded than pretty much everyone on here, I'd probably describe myself as a Blairite who doesn't like Blair (That is assuming that "Oh can everyone just shut up and leave us alone" is not a valid policy stance).

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      That's exactly it, San B.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by San Bernardhinault View Post
                                        As with Tubby, I don't think those are particularly good policies. And I suppose that makes me a centrist. The trouble with the kind of centrists that I think Wingco is on about, though, is that they pick the wrong policies to be right wing about - they are Blairite triangulators, who think that centrism means being hostile to foreigners, and immiserating people who're already poor. Making sure they're seen to be tough because they're afraid as looking soft and wet, they seem to want policies that kick the most vulnerable in society.
                                        And then wonder why they are called Tory lite and no-one bothers voting for them.

                                        I've said it often enough, but Corbyn isn't bringing back Communism. He's pretty much European socialism which is quite central. It is just thanks to the Lib Dems and New Labour that the Overton window has shifted so far to the Right.

                                        As for "getting business to pay more" then I fundamentally disagree. Of course I mean Super Global Mega Corps and not small businesses, but I'm thoroughly sick and tired of the knee jerk "oh we can't do that". Yes we can. There is a moral argument and there is an economic argument to do so. Hell, there's even a political argument - ask a Trump voter or a Leave voter.

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          I've said it often enough, but Corbyn isn't bringing back Communism. He's pretty much European socialism which is quite central.
                                          Except that European Socialists don't claim business and the rich can pay for it all, and they're not shitting on their biggest market. See rail for instance. The main reason some other places have much better and cheaper trains is that they've been paying for far more tax towards it for 30 years. There's hardly any sense of this from Labour.
                                          Last edited by Tubby Isaacs; 27-04-2018, 17:40.

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            Apart from the getting business to pay more tax bit.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              I'm going to play my regular role of raising questions that have nothing to do with the point of the thread.

                                              A) Why *are* there so many shopping carts in canals? I recall the pond in the middle of my college (university) campus had one that would occassionally be pulled out, used for some shenanigans, and then thrown back in, like Excaliber.

                                              B) Are there really lots of people drinking out of Controls on Immigration mugs? That seems needlessly provocative. Especially around the office. What's wrong with "World's Best Dad," etc.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                It's not just business and the rich that pays more elsewhere.

                                                https://www.theguardian.com/money/20...e-australia-us

                                                Germans, French and Swedes on £25k all pay a lot more tax. These measurements aren't always exact, but Patrick Collinson is a good journalist.

                                                Sure, we can get more out of people higher up, no argument about that. In particular, McDonnell deserves credit for starting rises at £80k, which others hadn't dared to propose, and many thought would backfire politically- it didn't. But nobody is being very up front about tax rises on incomes much closer to the average.
                                                Last edited by Tubby Isaacs; 27-04-2018, 18:19.

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post
                                                  I'm going to play my regular role of raising questions that have nothing to do with the point of the thread.

                                                  A) Why *are* there so many shopping carts in canals? I recall the pond in the middle of my college (university) campus had one that would occassionally be pulled out, used for some shenanigans, and then thrown back in, like Excaliber.

                                                  B) Are there really lots of people drinking out of Controls on Immigration mugs? That seems needlessly provocative. Especially around the office. What's wrong with "World's Best Dad," etc.
                                                  There are probably fewer shopping trolleys in canals than there used to be because a lot of supermarkets use deposit locks now. In the '70s/'80s people would just wander off with them and quite a few would end up in the cut (canal).

                                                  The Control On immigration mug was an item of merchandise that Labour briefly had in their online shop. I can't imagine that very many were sold but there was (rightly) considerable outrage that they had ever been produced.

                                                  Comment

                                                  Working...
                                                  X