"Brexit is a destruction derby's worth of car crashes waiting to happen". This is an almost standard quotation from a rant on Left Futures. Yet the evidence for this is slight, especially after the failed pre-Brexit vote analyses of economic prospects - the expected disaster gets pushed ever further forwards and has now reduced itself to a bout of moderate inflation that is matched by the export opportunities arising and being taken.
The better analysis is that adaptive capitalist entrepreneurialism
offers a greater threat to socialism - apparent success through
not-so-hidden exploitation. Observers are often letting an 'ought' get
in the way of an 'is' as is the way with ideologues.
things partly right by hammering on about those who are going to lose
from adaptive capitalism - the public sector workers, cultural workers
and the near-marginalised (those between the truly marginalised which
adaptive capitalism will care for and the private sector working class
which may well benefit or rather appear to benefit sufficiently to
continue voting for it rather than higher taxes) - and those 'hidden
costs' that the weakening of welfare causes to the wider population even
in times of economic growth (social care, lack of housing stock on
which he could say more and so on).
The problem is that the
analysis stops there. A bloc is mobilised but not one sufficient to take
power democratically. Meanwhile middle class ideologues engage in
constant misdirection by predicting (or hoping for?) some economic
meltdown in a one-off gamble that is as likely to help the populist
Right as the Left depending on the circumstances of the time.
Since the Tories under May are almost certainly 'in' for up to four
years, they have considerable room for manouevre. Even the strike at
their own base with self-employed NI (which Corbyn cannot exploit for
ideological reasons) is happening early with deliberation in order to
store up giveways later.
Their internal contradiction is their new-found interest in
‘strengthening the state’ for security reasons and their need to contain
radical populism that wants either lower taxes or more expenditure and
it is in thrusting a pole into that hole that their model can be wedged
But that is not what we get. Beyond the social mobilisation strategy
to get the existing bloc in line, all we get is short term ranting and
obsessions with ‘done deals’ like Brexit from the ‘intellectuals’ while
the old base of the Party drifts into the other camp.
What is required, on the back of the bloc mobilisation strategy, is a
second level of national economic strategy that deals in a non-Luddite
fashion with techno-innovation, especially techno-innovation in the key
areas of social care and the NHS where one suspects it is the public
sector unions who are in danger of being the block to changes that could
considerably improve lives of citizens and workers.
I have seen robotics used safely for patient-lifting to end or limit
back injuries for NHS workers – Labour should be engaged fully in the
socially responsible process of assessing, analysing, regulating,
promoting and state support for technologies that would make the UK a
global leader in the new cost-effective mass welfarism. The People’s State should be the intermediary between capitalist innovation (which, I
am afraid, works in its clumsy wasteful way) and the condition of the
By engaging in a national debate about the future rather than the
past, the middle ground no longer has to be secured on Blairism (minimal
taxes, foreign adventurism, cultural manipulation and adaptive
neo-liberalism) but on something very different – a neo-socialist
commitment to life cycle welfare, lifetime education and retraining to
adapt to new innovation, application of innovation to social needs and
increasing income security for all citizens within a national sovereign
Worrying about who will succeed May is almost certainly idle. She has
control of the levers of power until she loses an election and that is
at least four years away – if then, at this rate.