The interesting thing about Jeremy Corbyn’s win in the UK and Bernie Sanders gaining in America is that their ‘old’ ideas of radical left wing policies are actually new to Gen X and Gen Y who have been brought up in a consumer culture with no idealogical compass.
Corbyn and Sanders messages have the ability of connecting with the disconnected who don’t bother voting and it can appeal to the middle who see the injustice of the current system and who are suffering from economic Darwinism as universal public services privatise.
Voters remember they are citizens when they can’t afford to be consumers.
When the economic system crashes, people demand more from Government than helping corporations.
But Corbyn has real challenges and it’s his own Party. As David Cunliffe found out when he tried to take Labour left in NZ, the power brokers who rule these parties refuse to wake the sleeping dogs of the free market argument. These power brokers only concern is to manage the system when the pendulum finally swings back their way rather than challenge the system and leaders who demand real intervention for the people and ask the hard questions of our corporate overlords will always face the most danger from within.
NZ is yet to hit the levels of economic hardship that can go beyond our stoic masochism to generate the anger that demands real change, but it’s coming.
Key has maintained his ‘moderate’ aura because the wealthy middle class pundits who still benefit from the maintenance of middle class subsidies haven’t been impacted the way the working poor and beneficiaries have.
That facade only works while the numbers can be massaged, but beyond rebuilding from a natural disaster, putting all our cows in one Beijing paddock and feeding a property bubble in Auckland, National have no economic plan whatsoever.
The short term planning of the hands free let the market decide National Government have chickens that are all catching taxis back home. However the official narrative on how everything is fine sounds more reminiscent of America declaring the War in Vietnam is close to being won.
The Rockstar economy has passed out and is choking on its own vomit…
…5.9% Unemployment set to increase to 6.5%, 305 000 children living in poverty and Auckland housing market looking ready to pop – these are the realities of National ramping up of dairy (which also increases our climate change pollution) and borrowing billions in tax cuts to the richest.
In NZ, the 2014 election was such a meltdown that the belief is that politics needs to gallop to the ‘middle’ because the missing million who aren’t voting are poor, and young and won’t vote. James Shaw’s desire to work with National and give farmer’s a free ride and Andrew Little’s immediate dumping of the Capital Gains Tax are all perfect examples of this.
If the economy however slumps beyond our usual ‘she’ll be right’ mentality – that strategy may miss the political realities, and progressive left wing ideas that were once considered old will in fact sound completely new to that missing million.
But for Corbyn to succeed in leading the way, he will need to conquer the enemies in his own party first.
Chris Trotter will be giving his over view of the rise of Corbyn this Tuesday at IKA. Book here.