Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Rightward Drift of Politics

It has been claimed that there is a right-ward drift in US politics. I don't know enough about it to say either way, but the Republican gains in the recent US election are depressing. Not that the White House under democratic rule was doing much to be happy about. As ever the US elections have implications for us globally and again I'm depressed that political parties there to represent the working people are either so hamstrung or so two-faced due to the corporate funding they get, that there seems little hope for mainstream politics. Here's a couple of examples of what I mean:

In the US:

The Democrats aren't preparing to stand up for anything, either. They're already talking about backing down on the repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military. I didn't vote for the Democrats so that they could turn tail at every Republican whim: they're supposed to work for the policies Democrats claim to stand for.

In the UK:

Thirteen years ago, I had my defence epiphany on the lay committee for Labour's first and only strategic defence review in 1997. This was under George Robertson. I vividly remember our first meeting when we were given our terms of reference. Such was the radical mood of those euphoric early Blair days that were told to think the unthinkable and discuss everything, no holds barred.

This lasted about five minutes. It turned out we could not discuss the nuclear deterrent; we could not question the Trident programme and its submarines; we could not discuss the Eurofighter contract; nor could we discuss the need for two or perhaps three new aircraft carriers. I remember the smug look on the faces of service chiefs in the room. Our excluded items had nothing really to do with Britain's defence. They were political. Robertson and his colleagues were under instructions not to give an inch to the Tories on defence procurement, lest they be seen as soft on defence. We could think the unthinkable – but not the thinkable.

Thanks Labour, 'cos it's worth spending billions of crappy weapons systems of little use to us to keep the Daily Mail and crew of your back... Thanks Democrats, your inability to fight for things you believe in and push to compromise with people only willing to compromise to the right has now given us a man running for House Energy and Commerce Committee, John Shimkus, who thinks we don't need to worry about climate change because God says it's all ok.

And behind all this pumping out piles and piles of shit is the rightward media...

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