Wednesday, 17 May 2017

All We are Saying is Give Us a Chance: The Failures of Sentimental Progressivism.

Tiny Tim Farron's 'Lib Dem's are flailing around in the political void, trying to pretend as if the Leave verdict has not happened and scrambling around desperately to snatch votes in order to position itself as Britain's third party without actually having much to say or many policies of much appeal or relevance.

The attempt to be the third position party has meant Farron being blokey about town, as Scouse as he can be, verbally jousting a few times with 'real people' as a PR stunt and spending most of his time posing as the nice guy of heart: nearly every news item has Farron in school posing with kids somewhere. It's pathetic.

Legalising pot is an obvious populist attempt to snatch youth votes, though anyone with enough money and a dealer can get cannabis anyway. Farron himself, however, seems to be some sort of alleged Christian; in which case the combination of wish thinking amidst pot smoke would make him appropriately progressive.

The problem is that Corbyn has already inadvertently cornered the political market for soggy half baked progressivism, at least in his foreign policy of 'just give peace a chance'. It's obvious the progressive wars of New Labour failed. But just 'not' doing what Blair and Brown did is a start and not a political end.

Corbyn, in any case, shares Blair's idea that Britain is a Global Player and World Power. He just puts a radical Tony Benn spin on Britain's supposed major role in the world by suggesting that Britain has the duty to set a moral example by promoting peace rather than war, as if Britain was really that important.

Farron, by contrast, positioned himself as being for Trump's missile strikes against Assad while being against Trump. This opened up space for him to be against Assad and for the Special Relationship with the US without actually having to bother understanding the complexities of the Syrian Conflict while Remaining Good.

Corbyn is in a stronger position as he has come out as anti-Trump as a means of hinting that Labour is against having an unconditional Special Relationship and is only against this President. But his wooden platitudes about the need for a political settlement are as obvious as they are superfluous without any deeper analysis.

It's obvious the Syrian conflict needs a political settlement involving all the regional and global players. Corbyn is right on that but needed to have taken on directly opposing arguments from those such as Tom Watson , the Deputy Leader. that the strikes were 'limited and proportional'. He needed to stamp his authority on the debates.

Trump's missile strikes were purest posturing designed to show Saudi Arabia that the US was back to business as usual in aligning with it against its regional enemies. The humanitarian pretext that Assad used chemical weapons remains unproven. Corbyn should have come out immediately with a response but waited a day.

Corbyn's emergence a day later after the missile strikes, merely to repeat a set of lines without much energy or urgency, was one among many examples of his lack of leadership. To an extent, it could be that he has been told to hold back on foreign policy so as to deflect attention away from Tory focus on him as a security threat.

The problem with Corbyn's determination 'not to play politics' and to 'deal only with policies and the issues that matter', is that he appears aloof and unconcerned about attacks on him, incapable of defending himself and turning attacks profitably to use. Many voters pick up on this and sees a leader with no backbone or energy.

Corbyn's manner is too much an attempt to slough off the Tony Blair era and model of highly dynamic leadership. But he has gone too far in the opposite direction with this kitschy form of 'kinder politics' as well as aiming to empower the masses to empower themselves through him, which calls into question what his use as leader is.

Labour is lumbered with the role of trying to be united around policies and presentation that are there 'as if' Brexit was not hanging over Britain. It might be that Corbyn could survive this General Election defeat and reposition the party as a 'real alternative'. After all, the Blairites offer nothing other than reversing Brexit.

Farron is facing obsolescence too as after the Election. Blair and Mandelson are already plotting a Labour Coup or else creating a new Progress Party in league with those such as Nick Clegg which would succeed the Lib Dems and shunt a Corbyn occupied Labour to the side. They are vying to reverse Brexit.

This makes the Election a sort of absurdity, where most of the PLP is simply going through the motions before the next pretext to try and get rid of Corbyn as leader and reposition the party as Anti-Brexit and Farron is affecting to be against an 'extreme version of Brexit' that actually just means he is against Brexit entirely.

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