Sunday, September 30, 2018

Meanwhile, Over in the UK....

While we suffer through the Brett Kavanaugh debacle, the Brits have something far more edifying to pay attention to: the Labour Party conference! Labour and Jeremy Corbyn are taking the lead these days on a progressive politics with teeth and it's heartening to see that party put its bet down on an aggressive program. The Post's William Booth had a good sum-up, covering Corbyn's electrifying closing speech to the conference (worth listening to if you have the time--he's a great speaker and it's a great speech).
"As Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to strike a deal for Britain to leave the European Union without wreaking havoc on the country’s economy, her Conservative Party faces another looming threat — the popularity of the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
At the close of the annual Labour Party conference Wednesday, Corbyn gave what his critics in the British press called the best speech of his 30-year career, laying out a populist vision for the softer, socialist Britain that Labour plans to offer if May is toppled over her “Tory Brexit.”
“We represent the new common sense of our time,” Corbyn declared as he proposed to “rebuild Britain” with a “green jobs revolution,” with hundreds of thousands of workers paid to erect solar panels and wind turbines to slash greenhouse gas emissions and put the country in the vanguard of the fight against climate change. He promised a United Kingdom where child care is free, railroads and utilities are re-nationalized, employees sit on corporate boards and share profits, and owners of second homes pay $4,000 a year in extra taxes....
After hearing Corbyn’s speech, Tim Montgomerie, a former Tory activist who is now a blogger and columnist, tweeted, “Don’t agree with it but Corbyn has a comprehensive and maybe compelling vision for post-crash future of Britain. May doesn’t and that leaves Tories very vulnerable.”
Why is Labour making such a bold pitch? Stephen Bush, the excellent special correspondent for the New Statesman, explains:
"[Corbyn] pledges a host of new clean energy jobs in areas hit hardest by deindustrialisation, or in other words, low-carbon jobs for Brexit voters.
It's all part of the Labour leadership's plan to do one better at the next election by squarely pitching themselves at people who voted to Leave. That's the golden thread of the party's plans and approach, influencing everything from what the policies are to the way they are sold.
One of the things that they've done well at this conference is amass a set of policies that essentially give off the same impression: taking from the rich to give to essentially everyone else, picking fights with the big banks and the industrial lobbies.
In policy terms, too, there is a step change from the 2017 manifesto, which was essentially a better argued version of Ed Miliband's plus some nationalisation. Labour ends conference in a significantly more radical place than it started.
Labour may not have started the culture war but they certainly benefited from it at the last election. Now they essentially want to bring that to an end, bank their gains among social liberals, graduates and the middle classes and win over voters with an economic offer. The party will hope that the result is a combination of their 2017 voters with the Leavers currently keeping the Conservatives in office."
Sounds like a plan! The left in the United States would do well to consider an analogous approach for 2020 and beyond.
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The leader’s speech at a party conference laid out a populist vision of a socialist country.

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