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Are Left And Right Wing Political Labels Rapidly Becoming Redundant?

20/02/2017 13:20

Is it just me or is anyone else struggling to work out just where the hell their views now fall on the political spectrum??

For example:

I've always self identified as broadly 'left leaning.' In the EU referendum I voted Remain but find deeply alarming the attempts by apparent political 'liberals' and 'moderates' to override the democratic will of the people and to keep pushing until they get the result they want. Until recently this was known as attempting to subvert democracy and stereotypically the preserve of the hard left and extreme right.

In the past week, the darling of Guardian leader writers Tony Blair deigned to take the morning off from his extraordinary money making enterprises to re-enter the political fray. The deep irony of a man whose government did so much to sow the seeds of Brexit by alienating millions of traditional Labour voters now calling for the people to "rise up" to fight Brexit should be lost on precisely no one. Blair's social liberalism allied with economic liberalism carried forth by his natural successor David Cameron was always going to be a ticking time bomb for Labour but also, as it turned out, the country. But, still, it was good of Tony with his record of sublime long term judgement to let us all know where we'd gone wrong...

On the subject of Britain's most complex political beast - the Labour Party - now, I'm no particular fan of likably ineffective Jeremy Corbyn, nor am I any kind of socialist but I can find little even remotely 'hard left' about the overwhelming majority of his ideas. For the thirty years after the Second World War the ideas he's espousing would have been universally described as the epitome of social democracy. A limited programme of re-nationalisation, investment in infrastructure, economic intervention to protect industry and support for small businesses as they struggle against globalisation are all straight out of the social democratic textbook. Yet when I switch on the TV or radio news, advocates of such policies are usually subjected to varying degrees of ridicule and introduced by apparently neutral broadcasters with the epithet 'far left' or 'hard left.' Okey dokey, but has nearly thirty years of drip fed normalising of extreme free market liberalism really pickled the brains of most 'neutral' commentators to the degree that unfettered capitalism is now the only show in town?

Across the Atlantic, like the vast majority of semi rational beings, I find Trump and many of his ideas regressive, disturbing and downright stupid but the determination of a liberal American establishment, horrified at a thaw in Russian relations, pushing the 'reds under the bed' narrative is absolutely risible. In the same country hardline conservatives like John McCain are currently being clutched tightly to the bosom of US moderates. Work that one out!

Likewise, in Western Europe the liberal left are now the biggest bangers of the anti Russia drum and de facto best friends of the arms dealers and warmongers by keeping tensions as high as possible with Moscow. And, let's not even try to understand the thought processes that lead 'progressives' to support quasi fascists in Ukraine...

The same applies with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. A man on the same page as Donald Trump on many issues and one of the few international leaders to be enthusiastic and vocal in support of the new US president. One could be forgiven for expecting the liberal/left in Britain and America to take to the streets in their tens of thousands to protest at the recent visits to Washington and London of such a divisive figure as Netanyahu. In reality? Barely a murmur of disapproval.

We really are in a 'through the looking glass' phase of national and international politics with a dangerous growth of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' dogma. Self styled moderates behaving like the right. Vexed liberals coming over all authoritarian. Reactionary western nationalists having a love-in with long time foe Russia.

These are strange times indeed. An era where conventional political labels no longer cut it.

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