Saturday, May 15, 2021

Michael Barone: British Labour Problems Could Hurt Democrats, Too

 Five years ago next month, British voters, in the largest turnout ever, voted to leave the European Union by a 52% to 48% margin. It was an unexpected result, and a harbinger of Donald Trump's even more unexpected election as president five months later.

In both countries, key votes were cast by white non-college graduates. In the U.S., blue-collar Democrats in Pennsylvania and the Midwest switched to Trump. In the U.K., working-class voters long loyal to Labour joined leading Conservatives in supporting Brexit. 

Supposedly ascendant coalitions of metropolitan professionals and racial and ethnic minorities were, to their self-righteous rage, defeated. Metro London, with 20% of the nation's votes, voted 60% to 40% to remain in the European Union. But the rest of England, 70% of the U.K., voted 57% to 43% for Brexit. 

Five years on, the realignments that produced 2016's surprise have continued, with seemingly different results in the two countries. Here, Democrats regained the White House in 2020 and won majorities in both houses of Congress.

In Britain, the Labour Party, split between metropolitan leaders and working-class Brexit voters, suffered its worst defeat in decades in 2019 and did even worse in local elections last week. It looks to be in danger of joining the old socialist parties of France and Germany as extinct major parties.

But the differences can be overstated. Joe Biden's Democrats have only tenuous majorities and face increasing tensions between woke leadership and historic constituencies on important issues such as crime and immigration.

In Britain, such tension has resulted in Labour losing dozens of House of Commons seats in its "Red Wall" -- the traditional textile, steel and coal mining communities in the Midlands and north of England. Conservatives won more than 40 Red Wall seats as Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives won 365 seats to Labour's 202 in December 2019. 

After that, Labour ditched its London-based leftist party leader Jeremy Corbyn for London-based barrister Keir Starmer. Like long-serving (1997-2007) Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, Starmer is moderate on economics, but he joined Blair in trying to overturn the Brexit referendum and proudly took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter. 

Starmer's stances won him record support, 65% and 70%, respectively, in his home constituency of Holborn and St. Pancras (you've been there if you've ever been a tourist in London). But he foolishly chose an anti-Brexit candidate in last week's special election for the Red Wall seat of Hartlepool, a 70% pro-Brexit port on the North Sea (which few American tourists have ever seen). 

Hartlepool was a Labour seat since its creation, won by Blair consigliere Peter Mandelson with 61% and 59% in 1997 and 2001, respectively, before he was European Union commissioner from 2004 to 2008. Last week, Hartlepool voted for Conservative over Labour by 52% to 29%.

"Labour," writes Telegraph columnist Janet Daley, "has not just, as everybody keeps saying, 'lost touch' with its traditional supporters: it now holds them in open and quite febrile contempt." And she adds some historical perspective: "What is the point of a political party that began as the voice of the industrial proletariat when there is no more industrial proletariat?" 

The Labour Party was founded in 1900 as the political arm of labor unions at a time when the working class was the majority of the electorate. Continental parties with similar heritages are in even more trouble. France's Socialist Party, which won the presidency in 2012, got 6% of the vote in 2017. Germany's Social Democratic Party, founded in 1863, has now fallen to a distant third place in polling for next September's election, with the Green Party emerging as the chief competitor of the governing CDU/CSU. 

It may be natural that, as the working class grows smaller and high-education cultural leftists more numerous, an environmental and anti-nationalist left will replace socialists as major parties in parliamentary systems or as dominant forces in the left party in two-party systems like ours.

One lingering problem: Working-class-dominated parties have concrete goals relevant to large constituencies. But high-education- and class-dominated parties tend to fixate on the abstract aimed at increasingly microscopic groups (transgender rights) or virtue signaling their own superiority over the benighted masses ("systemic racism"). 

Neither is a winning tactic in a Britain, which "has fundamentally shifted" and "become a more open society," as its multiracial Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recently concluded, or in an America, which elected a black congressman from a white-majority district in 1972 and a black president in 2008 and 2012. 

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.



Anonymous said...

Democrats will never allow themselves to lose an election again. And there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it or else you will be labeled a terrorist.

But remember this. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Anonymous said...

This country is a one party system at this point. Sorta like, dare I say, Russia?

Anonymous said...

It would be something very different if we were under a single party system that was at least nationalist like China. But we are ruled by rootless cosmopolitan globalists that look upon “we the people” that live between the coasts with utter contempt. That is, until we have elections.

Anonymous said...

Boris Johnson isn’t Donald Trump. The Tories there didn’t commit an insurrection and storm Parliament there. Tories in Britain aren’t cancelling fellow Tories who don’t pay enough lip service to their Dear Leader. Tories in Britain aren’t as anti-science as their counterparts across the pond, as evidenced by their vaccination rates. In fact, they appear to have gotten better deals on the vaccines than the Continent, which puts them in a better place for it.

All that’s to say that, arguably, the Tories aren’t absolutely vile. Here, the Republicans, to everyone that isn’t a regular Fox News viewer, are seen as such. You cannot win elections, even under the lopsided electoral college, with only Fox News (and newsmax, oan, etc) viewers. It wasn’t enough in 2020. It won’t be enough in any election. I don’t care how much Tucker Carlson gets you worked up. It’s just you and 35% of the country. Again, I repeat, that will never be enough.

Britain’s Labour Party problems are not American Democrat problems. To hit the Democrats, there needs to be an alternative that can win over swing voters (moderates, not conservatives who used to vote democrat because their union told them to but who were always conservative and now waive Trump flags from their trucks). And since January 2020, Republicans have focused on energizing their base at the expense of alienating and disgusting everyone else.

Democrats won’t be punished in the near future because Republicans have made sure there isn’t a viable alternative.

Anonymous said...

You are delusional and the election was stolen.

Anonymous said...

You are more delusional than an OANN Q believer if you think that the 2020 election had zero irregularities. If the Democrat Party were as powerful and popular as you claim, they wouldn’t have resorted to so much suspicious activities that got caught on video. Doesn’t matter that Rudy and Co. were intentionally incompetent and failed to make a case.

Anonymous said...

7:42/58 (same person), there’s that charm your party is so famous for that’s just sure to win over enough voters to win.

*rolls eyes.

Anonymous said...

2:14pm " Freedom fighters" don't try to over throw a legitimate election or make it harder for legal citizens to vote. They offer an alternative to the existing system of government that expands the power of the citizenry...all of them... and a rationale for going forward.

Freedom fighters attack the military and police. They don't trash historic buildings and sweep up innocent bystanders in their attacks.

Terrorists are those who see one or more named groups among their citizens as " enemies" based on religious beliefs or racial prejudice. They not only use violence, they are willing to kill innocents to achieve their objectives. They don't offer a plan or policy ideas, only anger, bullying and oppression.

And, since you aren't paying attention, the Supreme Court and the Senate still are in control of the GOP. It's the Trumpsters willing to trash the rules of law to create a one party system.

Anonymous said...

7:42 and 7:58 am

It's bizarre to expect any election to be mistake proof. But, if there were enough mistakes to overturn ANY race, it'd be provable in court ( especially to judges appointed by Trump) .

And, that you believe the down ballots for the GOP and Trump faithful were accurate and only the Presidential one inaccurate shows a complete ignorance of how votes are counted and checked.

Beyond that, Trump's appointed commission on voter fraud couldn't find any in the 2016 election either or the ones before that!

So, you are believing that there are NO competent Trump lawyers or supporters or financial backers , with government still in his control for 3 months. who could find EVIDENCE in all the recounts with the DOJ still in his control? Those would be some mighty dumb ole boys!

Please! As an Independent, I don't want a one party system, but if you continue to make the GOP a party of liars, those who say one thing one day and something else the next, bullies and screamers who think yelling over someone is persuasive, and people that make the worst, meanest, most inaccurate gossip in town look sane, I can't support you.

Trump lost not because of support FOR Biden, but because Trump and his followers seemed insane or pathologic. I'd vote for Wagon Wheel Blair before I'd vote for Trump or any of his acolytes ever again after Jan 6th.I watched and this " any tourist day" lie is beyond the pale! I saw some innocents caught up in the insurrection not behaving badly but the terrorists changed that quickly as they took over. I did vote for down ballot Republicans, but won't now they've kissed The Donald's ring and continue to ask me not to believe my own eyes are ears when watching LIVE interviews and events!

Anonymous said...

@6:21 is crazy and delusional. I am no QANON supporter but this election was definitely stolen by the Deep State. All of those states changed election laws without the legislature's approval. The Dems have it where the GOP will never win again.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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