Monday, June 30, 2008

"It's like Serco started doing burgers"

Lenin's pal offers a pretty fair assessment of New Labour's electoral strategy:

"What happened was the Labour Party could no longer build the alliance it thought it needed for its project, based around elections and the British state. It went off to build a wider coalition to the right of its considered natural constituency. Based on the theory of triangulation, its leaders considered traditional supporters would have nowhere else to go and so follow them. As far as they wouldn’t follow the party to the right, the leaders came up with some interesting (and deeply ideological) justifications for what they were doing. All sorts of things became “socialist”, from PFI to the Iraq war to (in one case) copyright law etc, etc..."

I don't know why this theory is called "triangulation" when it involves the adjustment of only one variable. I suppose it makes it sound more complicated! Basically it's the application of Harold Hotelling's principle of minimum differentiation. The only problem with this is that middle class voters have a visceral aversion to the Labour Party. The doxa of neoliberalism's ingrained in their emotional life. Labour imaginatively represents surplus, in the form of state handouts or Lesbians' Theatre. The Tories represent austerity; in ideal terms: the birch! It doesn't matter that this putative austerity doesn't necessarily trade off against greater efficacy in the pursuit of society's goals (if such goals can be conceived). It doesn't matter that many among the middle class owe their few privileges to the state's corporatist policies. Or that Michael Foot was twenty odd years ago. New Labour's actual fasho responses to more or less imaginary "harsh realities" do not persuade. They dislike the Labour Party, and not for the right reasons. That's what I reckon. Anyway what an interesting article from "Lenin"'s "pal".

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