Category: politics

The Dilemma at the Center of the UK Labour and USA’s Democratic Party

I’m an American living in the UK for the last six years. When I lived in the United States, I was involved with Democratic politics on a state and national level. Reflecting on that experience has made me conclude that the Labour Party and the Democratic Party share many of the same traits.

In the USA, it’s “vote blue no matter who”, and in the UK, it’s similar, “Anyone but the Tories”. There’s an undercurrent of thought that leftists can’t win, so you should just support the most left party and try to move the party left. In real-time, that isn’t the case. In Nevada, the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) won every seat in the Nevada Democratic Party’s leadership positions. They did what their opposition in the leadership always told them to do, win elections. How did they react? They stripped the party of its financial resources and then quit. Here, you can read a complete takedown of the whole thing at the Intercept and their sister audio podcast version.

Labour has a similar version of this story. In 2015 Jeremy Corbyn was elected to be the leader of the Labour party. In 2017, Labour outperformed expectations (winning more of the popular vote than Blair in 2005) and brought the Labour party just shy of gaining power. Teresa May called this election to coalesce power around her Brexit deal. The loss of seats for the Conservatives was enough to oust Teresa May as Prime Minister. They had to find a “magic money tree” to stay in power.

During Corbyn’s rein as the leader, the Forde Report found that there were forces within the party itself that were attacking Corbyn:

“The factions ended up in a cycle of attack and counterattack, with each side assuming that the other was acting in bad faith (sometimes justifiably, sometimes not) and responding in kind.”

That there were Trotskyist witch hunts:

“I was advised that the bellringing was conducted by the ‘compliance’ unit and represented the successful suspension or expulsion of a member – often surrounded by the description of such members as ‘trots'”.

and that there were factional, racist messaging by senior party staff:

“We find that the messages on the SMT [senior management team] WhatsApp reveal deplorably factional and insensitive, and at times discriminatory, attitudes expressed by many of the party’s most senior staff. The substance of the quoted messages is concerning – and totally inappropriate from senior staff of a purportedly progressive political party”

These factions were DESPONDENT at the idea of a Corbyn-led party taking power:

“WhatsApp transcripts included in the original 2020 dossier analysed by the inquiry had suggested that some staffers became despondent as Labour climbed in the polls during the election campaign despite their efforts.”

Looking at both political parties through the lens of recent history shows their moderate base operates both when in and out of power. They’re only focused on holding on to the reigns of power (at all costs) while not changing much while in power.

Right now, POTUS Joe Biden, who campaigned on being able to work with Republicans, cannot get legislation through Congress that the Democratic Party controls. As Peter Daou points this out at Direct Left:

This is Joe Biden’s actual record:

NO minimum wage hike

NO serious student debt cancellation

NO effective pandemic strategy (more deaths than Trump)

NO medicare for all — or the promised public option

NO more Roe v. Wade

NO filibuster reform, just speeches

NO voting rights protection, just more speeches

NO court expansion, just a sham commission

NO end to racist policing

NO end to gun violence

NO end to deportations & abuse of asylum-seekers

NO end to cages for migrant children

NO end to brutalizing Afghanistan and Yemen

NO end to droning civilians without repercussions

NO end to huge military budgets (bigger than Trump’s)

NO end to arming and coddling oppressive regimes

NO meaningful climate action

NO end to oil drilling and fossil fuel subsidies

NO end to poverty, hunger, and homelessness

NO end to billionaires pocketing trillions

That’s just a partial list of Biden’s broken promises — and broken moral compass. Corporate Democrats like Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi have always relied on performative opposition and theatrics to pacify their supporters while preserving the status quo.

UK Labour is now leading in the polls (even though they said they’d be leading by 20 points— and they aren’t) and may win the next general election. That may sound great, but as Biden has shown, if you don’t lead a party of change with ideas that you implement, you won’t be able to get anything done and “nothing will fundamentally change.”

Things might not be that bad if that was all that would happen. But the promise of “hope and change” and to “fundamentally transform” America by Barack Obama that didn’t materialise led to the election of Donald Trump. This lack of political movement had consequences.

Saying that you “must vote blue, no matter who”, if it were in the context of a personal relationship, would be considered gaslighting, DARVO-like abuse.

Performative opposition is the name of the game for both of these supposedly liberal political parties. They have nothing to offer except more of the same, making the rich richer and the poor poorer. This kind of do-nothing politics will eventually lead to radical change or hyper-nationalist fascism, resulting in much innocent bloodshed.

Who Is To Blame for Trump’s Win?

I’ve seen many Facebook/Twitter friends post this story from Newsweek:

FireShot Capture 121 - newsweek – Facebook Search - https___www.facebook.com_search_top__q=newsweek

The implication is that if not for Sanders supporters, Hillary Clinton would be POTUS, not Trump. It wasn’t Bernie Sanders supporters that sunk the Clinton campaign. It was a team effort. It also wasn’t the fault of:

No, it’s not any one of those things…IT’S ALL OF THEM.

It’s Foolish to Think of the Saving of Obamacare is a Victory

Many Democrats are celebrating the defeat of the Republican’s attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare this morning. What the hell are Americans celebrating?

I’m an American ex-pat working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. I’ve been a health care provider in the US system for 29 years before coming to the UK. If you’re a citizen here, you get free healthcare at the point of service. It’s true that your hospital may not have:

  • a football field
  • a swimming pool
  • a basketball court
  • a grand piano

But you do get good quality health care.  That’s my opinion as a provider and as a patient.


But that’s not just my opinion, it’s a fact. Health care in the UK costs less and has better outcomes than in the USA.

You’ll have US politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths. They’ll stand there flag waving, saying America is the greatest country in the world, while saying America can’t afford to do what the rest of the civilised world already provides for its citizens. They’ll say this while spending more on defence than China, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Japan, France, India, Iraq, Australia, Brazil, Israel, and the United Kingdom combined (and Donald Trump wants to spend 54 billion dollars more).

If you’re an American citizen, do you feel safer? Since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent 4.79 TRILLION dollars on two wars and the so-called “battle on Islamic terrorism.” Do you feel like the world is a safer place making that kind of investment?

If you’re celebrating Obamacare, you’re like this guy:


He might be happy that he’s got a car to drive, but he’s still driving a clunker.

Now that’s not to say say that the NHS is perfect. It’s underfunded and stressed, but what do the people being served by it fear? They fear the NHS becoming something that mirrors the US health care system.

I understand why people are relieved that the health care they have now won’t be taken away, but celebrate. Being screwed over a little less is no reason to celebrate. This should be a wake-up call, not a party.

Bernie or Meh, The Clinton Path to Defeat

I’ll say it up front, I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter that:

  • thinks Sanders has a very narrow path to the nomination (almost impossible).
  • will vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee.
  • thinks Democrats and the Clinton campaign are setting themselves up for a massive defeat in the fall.

The Democratic Party seems to want to have a fight with Bernie Sanders. Today’s post from the Hill:

Bernie’s not a Democrat. What are we worried about? Why would Bernie want to play nice?” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “I’m just saying if a person doesn’t even want to conform to be Democratic, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘OK, all of a sudden you have to do all these things.’ ”

Sanders isn’t a Democrat? Huh. I guess then they didn’t count him as a Democrat from 2008-2010? He wasn’t a Democrat when Obamacare passed by 1 vote? The reality of this election cycle is that to win, Hillary Clinton supporters need Sanders supporters. Sanders may not be a Democrat, but a very large portion of HIS SUPPORTERS ARE.

There are no super-delegates in the November general election. Clinton my be on the verge of clinching the nomination of the Democratic Party, but she may also be heading for a massive defeat in the fall.

Trump could just rerun Obama’s 2008 ad:

The ad said:

“The Washington Post says Clinton isn’t telling the truth. […]

“But it was Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, who quote ‘paid tribute’ to Ronald Reagan’s economic and foreign policy. She championed NAFTA –- even though it has cost South Carolina thousands of jobs. And worst of all, it was Hillary Clinton who voted for George Bush’s war in Iraq.

“Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page. Paid for by Obama for America.”

Since 1994 Ohio has lost 320,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was enacted. You can argue whether or not those job losses were from NAFTA, but what I don’t think is arguable is how effective a talking point it is in states that have been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.

If Trump keeps hammering Clinton on her support of NAFTA and the Iraq War, while stoking anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, he has a very good shot at becoming the next President of the United States.

Clinton and the Democratic establishment aren’t going to win over Sanders voters by falsely labeling them as violent. They won’t win Sanders voters over by painting Sanders as a lonely outsider, effectively aligning his voters out in the cold with him. Say 2/3 of Sanders voters do vote for Clinton, and most Republicans vote for Trump? Trump would win Pennsylvania and Ohio. Clinton’s ahead in the polls in Florida by 1 percentage point.  I have a  question for establishment Democrats. How’d that whole letting Florida decide the election in 2000 work out for you?

James O’Brien on Jeremy Corbyn: “I Believe in Faeries”

Listening to the podcast of the Thursday edition of LBC’s James O’Brien’s radio show, I was surprised that he’d admit that he might be wrong about The Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Previously he’d said that Corbyn supporters were akin to people who “believed in faeries.”  He’s repeatedly said that Corbynites were not pragmatic, that Corbyn isn’t electable, and the end of the Labour Party was near if he wasn’t put down.

Then came the Oldham West and Royton by-election on Thursday (December 3rd, 2015):


Now O’Brien is starting to ask if all the media is wrong about Corbyn.

I don’t think that the British public has had a change of heart since the national election in May. Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership mandate because people are looking for an opposition party.  Corbyn voted against the Iraq War and he’s anti-austerity,

In the USA many people support Bernie Sanders, for the same reason that many people in the UK support Corbyn. Blair/Brown’s “New Labour”  party of the 00’s moved the Party to more centrist right corporatist party in the same way that “New Democrats” transformed the Democratic Party in the 90’s  in the USA.

It’s hard to tell if this revolution in politics will be sustained or win elections in the coming years, but as per normal the revolution will NOT be televised.


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