Party leadership and party policy – South Africa and England compared


No, this post is not about Jacob Zuma (the picture above illustrates what the Western worries are, for the spectre of communism is haunting the “end of history“).

I may have mentioned this before, but I don’t like to use this blog to comment on affairs outside of the Anglo-Celtic Isles. One must have an aim and stick to it – mine is to examine English politics.

So, whilst Zuma’s election reflects the growing strength of working class opposition to the neoliberal consensus in South Africa and is a positive development, I won’t be saying any more.

The leadership election in England today was for the Liberal Democrats – the ideologically feeble third-party of “British” as well as English politics.

The winner, one Nick Clegg, whom I rudely referred to earlier today as “David Cleggeron”, is an Orange Booker.

What does this mean?

The FT tries to explain:

Mr Clegg, a 40-year-old former MEP from the right of his party, won 20,988 votes to edge past Mr Huhne, who amassed 20,477 votes through a tenacious outsider’s campaign.

The lack of a resounding endorsement from the party’s left-leaning activists may make it harder for Mr Clegg to establish his authority and pursue more radical public service reforms to extend choice and diversity.

Now, understand that “choice and diversity” refers not to what is offered to service users and providers, but rather the fat cat corporations that are hungry for some guaranteed profits from the state…

Greenman gives us the lowdown from our perspective:

The chink of light is that there might be a hung parliament at the next election. This might give an opportunity for the Lib Dems to force through (as their main demand when the post-election discussions begin) a referendum on the introduction of a form of PR. This is one of the few uses for which that particular political party is fit – and something the leadership would presumably find it difficult to trade away given its’ totemic value to the bulk of their membership.

I expect Clegg will have to walk the tightrope between his economic liberalism and his need to assuage the party’s left – so, this means out-playing Cameron as “progressive“, downplaying the neoliberal aspects as a consequence. He’s done this already during the campaign, backing away from his previous support for NHS privatisation. That’s total privatisation, note.

In light of Toque’s analysis, I may have to reverse ferret on my prediction the next Liberal leader would pounce upon the English Question and come out for devolution to be extended to England. We’ll have to see if Clegg will continue to be as evasive as he has thusfar…

3 Responses to “Party leadership and party policy – South Africa and England compared”

  1. Dalton Cusack Says:

    I was reading something similar about this on another blog. Interesting. Your linear perspective on it is diametrically opposed to what I have read to begin with. I am still reflecting over the different points of view, but I’m inclined heavily toward your point of view. And no matter, that’s what is so super about modern-day democracy and the marketplace of thoughts online.

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  3. Saundra Abboud Says:

    I :love: this! This whole operation is amazing! This is a big :) in my books!

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