Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

UK Election: Anticipation and Afterthoughts

UK Election: Anticipation and Afterthoughts


Keith Rankin, 11 May 2015

Last Thursday's British election (7 May) result was a surprise to just about everyone in the United Kingdom. But not to me. I correctly anticipated the result on 23 April (United Kingdom General Election on 7 May), and on 2 May (First-Past-the-Post will be the Winner on the Day).

The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) gave an indication of the left-populist anti-austerity approach that UK Labour will need to follow if it is to have future success. Certainly their London-left approach cannot get Labour back into government. Nor can a 'Blairite' approach. David Cameron does Blairism better than Tony Blair ever did.

Looking more broadly, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) now represents the middle ground, much as NZ First does here. While 'First Past the Post' denied UKIP seats, it still represents over 12 percent of frustrated voters who Labour must be able to speak to. The SNP did speak to these voters in Scotland.

Labour has to find a policy programme that will draw UKIP voters. This is not impossible, but requires a shift in their mindset. Politics is, more than anything, a numbers game. And, as well as votes and seats, those numbers include personal pounds or dollars, not the esoteric and ultimately meaningless government Budget balance.

Japan, where they see government debt as a solution - a natural complement to private savings - rather than a problem, has got half the recipe. The other half of the recipe involves reframing the 'redistributive welfare state' into a distributive welfare society.

We note that the words 'redistributive' and 'state' are essentially pejorative; they represent negative framing on the part of the plutocratic right. Further the normal English meaning of the words 'welfare' and 'benefit' is simply 'what is good'. But, under plutocratic framing, these words have come to mean 'hand-outs to the improvident'. Much of the problem arises from such framing of the language of public discourse.

It may only require public accounting reform to unveil a distributive welfare society. Such reconceptualisation around taxes and benefits can open the door to possibilities in the medium-term future that most of us cannot yet see; we cannot see these possibilities because the door to the room that holds these solutions is closed.

One big problem here is that public accounting reform involves intellectual numeracy, and most people who identify with the left are number phobic. So is the mainstream media. The challenge for the left is to make public accounting concepts sexy.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Veronika Meduna on The Dig: Kaitiakitanga - Seeing Nature As Your Elder

The intricate interconnections between climate change and biodiversity loss, and how this disruption impacts Māori in particular. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On China And Hong Kong (And Boris)

In the circumstances, yesterday’s move by Lam to scrap – rather than merely suspend – the hated extradition law that first triggered the protests three months ago, seems like the least she can do. It may also be too little, too late. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Ensuring Boris Gets Blamed For Brexit

Everyone needs to step back and let Johnson have his ‘no deal’ Brexit, since that’s the only way of making sure that the current Tory leadership gets to wear the consequent turmoil. More>>

ALSO:

Dave Hansford on The Dig: Whose Biodiversity Is It Anyway?

The DOC-led draft Biodiversity Strategy seeks a “shared vision.” But there are more values and views around wildlife than there are species. How can we hope to agree on the shape of Aotearoa’s future biota? More>>

ALSO:

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction… These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

ALSO: