The next 5 years will be hell, possibly made worse by #Mayhem
Britain is in long term decline. Our economy was ‘rebalanced’ by Thatcher in the 1980s and we were all promised that capitalism would be great for all of us. But Britain’s economy has been slowly declining since the Second World War. We aren’t a ‘great power’ any more.
This decline is being accelerated by Brexit. The economic consequences of Brexit will be terrible for working people and middle class people. Ripping Britain out of its economic relations that it has spent decades building up will destabilise capitalism and further erode the standard of living in this country.
Of course socialists aren’t here to defend capitalism and find ways of making it work better. Social Democracy was always a compromise between working class and capitalist interests (a little bit for the workers and fat profits for the bosses) and as that compromise further unravels with each passing year we have to see its death rattle as an inevitable consequence of the wider problems of capitalism. The point is that if the Tories win the election then they will be ruling a country that is embroiled in chaos.
Economists sweat over GDP figures, ‘are we seeing a 1.2% increase or 0.4%’ or whatever. But GDP is only part of the story (it is also a hopelessly inaccurate method of recording economic activity since it measures both production and consumption meaning commodities are effectively counted twice) but the reality of economic life for people is more important that an abstraction of economic measurement.
Wages have declined by 10% since the financial crash despite the increase in the minimum wage. We are back to 1930s levels of income inequality. The collapse in our wages are matched in Europe only by Greece, a country which is a complete economic disaster caused by the Eurozone.
Living standards are declining for young people and only Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has any conception of that and even the beginnings of a plan to tackle it.
Mental health issues are increasing massively, especially among teenagers, especially among teenage girls. Mental health issues at work are getting worse as precariousness, lack of union power and economic uncertainty makes everyone more anxious and stressed. Again Corbyn has sought to address this.
It isn’t just working class people and youth, even the middle classes are seeing their material conditions decline. Soaring house prices, unsustainable debt, shrinking career options. Labour have been a better defender of the middle classes over taxes recently than the Tories. Imagine that!
And now, thanks to the BNP then UKIP, there is a solid racist vote in Britain whose primary concern is immigration. The backing for UKIP far outweighs anything the old National Front managed in the 1970s. UKIP might be collapsing but those “I’m not racist but…” voters will head straight for the Tories. This explicitly racist vote (nearly 4 million at the last election) is only the most pronounced example of a general shift to the right in British politics where Labour and Tory MPs are all quick to jump on the anti-immigrant bandwagon to ‘appeal to the white working class’ by throwing BME working class people under the same anti-immigrant bandwagon.
And the inability of the political elite to connect with voters reveals a profound crisis of capitalist democracy. From Trump to Brexit to Le Pen, the insurgent forces of the right exploit the chaos, revel in the decline and know how to marshal their forces against a political establishment that is ruling over a system that can no longer meet the needs of so many people. It is tragic that when the left tries to challenge them we are shot down by ‘moderates’ who sabotage and undermine us at every turn, assuming that their liberal politics will save the day. As Clinton found out to her cost, they won’t.
If May wins her election it will be a poisoned chalice, ruling over a system where corruption becomes endemic (as it is already doing). Her government is actually weak, with no idea how to handle Brexit and her only policies are Thatcherite on steroids. Her ministers are third rate. Her fear of the public and proper debate with political opponents exposes her to as the weak coward she is, someone who only became leader of the Tories because the others stabbed each other in the back and the other was a proven fantascist.
Labour winning this election is a chance to take back control from an elite that are absolutely hell bent on inflicting disaster after catastrophe on us. From schools to health care to democratic rights all of it is under threat. Labour offers a chance to stop the rot.
But if Labour doesn’t win this election it will be #Mayhem on top of hell. Then the question will be, how can we build a meaningful resistance to the chaos and how can the left come back even stronger next time?