This is an interesting article. It takes in the result of Brexit, the Trump victory and the general retreat of, as Buldioski calls them, the ‘Progressives’.
The tone of the article, which seems unintentional, feels sneering. Just into the first page he says:
“It suddenly struck me that the world’s biggest democracy has just endorsed gender inequality, a form of discrimination that progressives like me had recently considered dying out in the developed world.”
This shows a complete misunderstanding of what has and is happening. Brexit and the Trump victory were not predicated on gender inequality – another term for sexism. The victories were built on messages which touched a nerve in people whom Buldioski and those he represents stopped taking notice of or even deliberately ignored, having done so for 40 years. Initially disguised as feminist or anti-racist movements, they failed to note that promoting and supporting what are even now minorities slowly built up a tidal wave of resentment that ‘broke’ over the so called ‘progressives’.
Buldioski claims that he is frightened that the mainstream parties have in effect pandered to these right wing extremists. It would be more honest to say that the reason these parties have and are prospering is that ordinary voters have stopped doing what they have been told to by the ‘progressives’. In election after election the main parties, as Buldioski calls them, have moved closer together, all endorsing to a greater or lesser extent the same policies.
We heard the same messages in the UK from both Labour and Conservatives about immigration concerns. David Cameron vowed to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands when even the most basic investigation of facts showed this could not be achieved. Gordon Brown claimed he would introduce a policy of “British Jobs for British workers”. Emphasising the total disconnect of the Islington intelligentsia, Brown was then caught out by the most basic of political slips, calling a voter a bigot whilst being recorded.
Buldioski investigates the wealth gap, identified in his article from OECD data, and designs this wealth gap as the problem. The inequality, he says, is ‘shocking’. On that point he may be right but the reason for the inequality at the bottom of the scale is the abuse of mass immigration into all countries, never mind the UK and US, were giant conglomerates and multi nationals have made politicians allow untrammelled immigration to the detriment of the people who live in these countries.
His article suggests he is against these so-called elites – when he is actually part of those elites! It is difficult to understand this avoidance of what seem to most as the true facts. Perhaps he does not actually understand those whom he claims are the ones who are disadvantaged by these elites.
In some way he seems to suggest that there is “unfairness at the heart of populism”, which, rather like Brown’s ‘bigot moment’, identifies the disconnect. The suggestion that anyone should resent the cause of the unfairness which has been deliberately visited upon them is clearly not allowed under this new system. It is reminiscent of the concept of the deserving and undeserving poor. His idea of who should and should not be helped is at the heart of the problem.
In the UK immigration is the subject which is polarising the argument. Those who opposed the EU, further integration and uncontrolled immigration reflect that the 17 million who voted out had this at the forefront of their minds when they voted. Labour politicians have been at the forefront of the arguments in favour of Remain. Debbie Abrahams, shadow Secretary of State for work and pensions, argued that the nation had not voted to control immigration but to have a conversation about it! It is this short-sighted attitude that has driven the revolt that the progressives just don’t understand.
This view is reflected in a comment about how Buldioski defines as the failure of the parties to address these so-called needs:
“By failing to respond to the needs of significant portions of their populations, they have left people little choice but to turn to extremist groups who tailored their message accordingly.”
This assumes he is right about the messages that these other parties are putting out. They have reflected the concerns about immigration not, as he would have us believe, from a dislike of ‘foreigners’ but from a concern that immigration has become a tidal wave that people have to accept because the elites say they have to. No mention of the strain on public services that even left wing commentators are now reflecting on – school places, housing and health – all of which impact on the same people he sees at the undeserving poor.
As the article unfolds Buldioski becomes more specific in his criticism of the mainstream politicians.What he alludes to but does not spell out is their adoption of these ‘right wing’ ideas as a way of shoring up their position. No mention is made of the Labour Party and the Democrats shoring up their voter base by importing voters without any legitimate mandate to do so. Mandelson, Blair and even Clinton and Sanders have supported the fully open door policy with no permission to do so from the existing electorate.
It seems legitimate for the so-called progressives to talk right wing agendas but for the same people then to be offended and deny that they are pursuing any alternative.
Another side-swipe is aimed at the current government and the possibility of the introduction of a UK Bill of Rights, as if the UK cannot survive as a reasonable country without some intervention from a court which UK citizens reject as undemocratic.
He goes further with France and clearly criticises Francois Hollande for suggesting stripping immigrants who carry out terrorist atrocities of French citizenship. Whilst he implies that this is wrong he fails to say why.
As the article draws to a close he turns to the media and what he says is their coverage of these undesirable political movements. Trump, he claims, was given more and better air time because he had a more ‘sellable’ presence and message. Buldioski suggests that this should have been restricted, and that the US should prevent, as he says the Greek government did, the access of these right wing populists to the media, shutting them out and preventing their ideas spreading.
This, I have to say, is the most unpleasant suggestion he makes. The Nazis, Fascists, Communists and so called Socialists when they take power first control the media, then the lawyers, and finally the political process. In America, Clinton decided, as did the collective left, that she only had to stand to be elected. In Europe the EU normally allow for the occasional electoral outburst but that is always put right by another referendum, which reverses the decision. On this occasion, as in America, this has failed and failed spectacularly.
We are, as they say, in unchartered territory. The Remain camp is doing its best to stop Brexit. In America, Dr Jill Stein is pushing recounts in at least Wisconsin.
After 40 years of being repressed, the Right of Centre has woken up and started trying to represent that sizable part of the electorate the Left feel is irrelevant and very embarrassing.