Monday, November 22, 2010

The UK's lessons for Canadian Progressives

In the UK support for the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition plummets as Labour's new leader ushers in polls that would mean a slim majority for Labour if an election were held today.  The coalition the British public reject is the one between neo-liberals and conservatives, you know, like the government we have in Canada now in all but name.

Maybe its the natural result for any government in power in times of such intense economic uncertainty, or the afterglow of Labour electing a new leader and potentially heading in a more progressive direction, or maybe the UK public just figured out who's side the Lib-Dems have shown they are on the first chance they got for power.

Nick Clegg bleats about 'new progressives' being more about social mobility while 'old progressives' are about 'reducing inequality'.  This after he announced his coalition's massive increases to tuition costs drastically reducing access to higher education for anyone below a certain economic level.
The deputy prime minister claims that Labour, under Ed Miliband's leadership, is becoming the new conservative group of British politics, wedded to outdated ideas and stuck in an anti-pluralist rut.
Labour, he says, is in danger of turning high marginal tax rates, a large state, and "snapshots of income inequality" into shibboleths. For old progressives, personified by Miliband, "reducing snapshot income inequality is the ultimate goal", he maintains, and for new progressives it is "reducing the barriers to mobility".
What else is education, expensive beyond the range of the few without starting life in crippling debt, but a barrier to 'social mobility'?

No, there's nothing new about Nicholas Clegg's warmed over quasi-libertarian Thatcherism with a dose of sunny Reaganism.  Revealing that you are just another neoliberal who has abandoned Keynesian economics and progressive policy because you're still captive to the long since discredited cult of deregulation and starved government trickle down economics doesn't make you a 'new progressive' just an old fashioned sell out.

Speaking of Michael Ignatieff,
The Liberal caucus is clearly split over Mr. Ignatieff’s decision to support the Harper government. The leader’s support was given even before the details of the new training mission were announced.
The government formally laid out its plan on Tuesday. Last Friday morning, however, Mr. Rae told The Globe and Mail he supported the government, saying there was no need for a debate or vote in the House of Commons. Later that day, Mr. Ignatieff supported Mr. Rae’s view.
Liberal insiders believe Mr. Ignatieff would not win a vote and that is why it is being avoided. The Liberal leadership does not want to reveal a split in the ranks.
“If there was a vote, I think Michael would lose the vote,” the insider said. “He would lose the vote. I don’t think caucus would support him.”

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