The Left’s Elusive Message: Old hats are still old, the Anglo-American case (part II)

  • 0
  • 12 September 2017

The phrase ‘old hat’, as one would expect, means something that is tediously familiar or outdated. Yet, walking through Shoreditch or Brooklyn, old hats seem stylish. What the owners of such hats probably aren’t willing to admit is that they paid around five times what the original owner did. This could be a metaphor for the political climate in the US and UK today.

Last week I wrote about who the left in British and American politics isn’t talking to. Short answer, white people, long answer, the majority of their constituents. This week it’s worth looking closer at what they are and aren’t saying. Now, I’m not suggesting that neither country caters to white people enough. However, the Brexiteers pulled off a neat trick and so did Trump. They made white people feel like a minority and not included. As such, the Democrats and Remain side couldn’t get their message through. Even Theresa May learned the horrible lesson of not having a message. ‘At least we’re not crazy terrorist sympathisers’ didn’t work.

What are the Democrats besides the ‘party of not Trump’? Labour are anti any Tory policy, but what are they for? The Liberal Democrats and Greens have a similar problem, too. Nobody knows what the Liberal Democrats’are apart from ‘not Brexit’. Asides from saying nothing about themselves to voters, it does quell their biggest fears and concerns.

The fact is, attacking Trump and May is much easier than actually taking a position. Ask the Republicans how after eight years of opposing everything Obama did is going now they have the majority of political legislatures across America. Labour in the past three weeks alone has made three changes to its Brexit stance. The Democrats before the summer launched their new economic programme ‘A Better Deal’, only to come back from vacation and strike a deal with Trump. Besides, ‘A Better Deal’ does little else but reaffirms the party’s traditional positions.

I ended last week’s piece by saying that renationalisation isn’t a kitchen table issue, nor will it help anyone buy a house or put them into higher paying more meaningful employment. Labour moving to the left isn’t a bad thing, but old solutions in modern times don’t usually work. Listening works, and coming up with left leaning solutions to people’s concerns does. This is, after all, what the infamous Beveridge Report and New Deal were; modern (quasi-socialist) solutions to fundamental problems experienced by the majority.

A modern equivalent is needed, but resurrecting old ideas is a mistake because the problems of my grandparents are not those of this generation. On that note, when it comes to politics the younger generation is far too preoccupied with social issues and micro aggressions to do anything about their own economic inferiority and exploitation. That has to change and be addressed in the progressive message.

In the UK, there have been stories of nurses going to food banks[1] and families with two parents staying on welfare because finding a brings in less money. Meanwhile CEO pay is up 50% since 2008. Across the pond it’s arguably worse: one in four Americans make less than $10 an hour, about half don’t earn enough to make basic ends meet, meanwhile college tuition debt is in the trillions and 42% of Americans in their 20s still live at home with their parents. Certain restaurants and shops are struggling because wages in real terms have gone down, and Deliveroo, eBay, and Amazon have a solid ally in lazy people. Lower end supermarkets like Aldi, Walmart and Lidl are doing much better because people have less money to spend on their weekly shop.

The left were once the parties who rescued people from a hole and gave them a safety net. Nowadays the progressive left has gone from the parties who protect people to the parties who protect feelings. Something that is extremely off putting for swing voters.

The reason Democrats’ focus on the ‘middle class’ instead of the ‘working class’ is not just because it’s shrinking, it’s the forgotten American Dream. Working hard to get to the top of society, not an apartment block at age 30. The Brits too dream of buying a house, moving to the suburbs, building a conservatory and having their friends over for BBQs. You can’t do that in a London box room at age 28.

Labour and the Democrats need a platform aimed at lifting people out of a hole and into the middle class. In the modern era, the route there is no longer so straight forward; a university degree no longer guarantees decent paying employment, and many trades are set to disappear with technological advances. Lifting the public sector pay cap or raising the minimum wage is necessary and a nice gesture. Butthis is more of a cushion than a safety net.

The ‘little guy’ in Appalachia, the North Dakota farmer and fruit machine blokes in little England need to hear that maybe their lives don’t have to suck, nor should they worry so much about what tomorrow will bring. ‘A Better Deal’ from the Democrats and Old Labour’s[2] resurrection doesn’t give people this impression. Old Hats look nice, but there are reasons we don’t wear them anymore.

[1] Food banks are a place where stocks of food, typically basic provisions and non-perishable items, are supplied free of charge to people in need in the UK.

[2] ‘Old Labour’ refers to the Labour Party before Tony Blair became its leader in 1994. In 1995, he ditched the ‘Clause 4’ which committed Labour to traditional socialism through the ‘common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The issues of strategic communication at the fifth annual International Conference “Transformation of International Relations in the XXI Century: Challenges and Prospects” (TIR 5) which was held at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on 26th, April 2019

  • 0
  • 5 May 2019

On April 26, 2019, the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation organized The Fifth International conference “Transformation of International Relations in the XXI Century: Challenges and Prospects”. The scientific event has become a reputed platform where Russian and foreign experts, diplomats and young researches come together to discuss the contemporary state of the international relations and try to predict th

citește mai mult

Russian Researchers on Strategic Communication in South Africa

  • 0
  • 22 March 2019

DSc. Prof. Evgeny Pashentsev, leading researcher at the Institute of Contemporary International Studies of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, director of the International Centre for Social and Political Studies and Consulting (ICSPSC), coordinator of the GlobalSt

citește mai mult

Artificial Intelligence and Challenges to International Psychological Security in Internet

  • 0
  • 7 February 2019

On February 5, 2019 the international press centre of MIA “Russia Today” hosted in Moscow a round table on “International Safer Internet Day. Global Trends and Common Sense”. Safer Internet Day was originally started in 2004 by InSafe – a European network of Awareness Centers promoting safer and better usage of Internet. However, it quickly spread out from Europe and became a worldw

citește mai mult

Azebaijan, cheia geostrategică a Asiei Centrale

  • 0
  • 13 February 2018

După destrămarea URSS, Azerbaijanul a fost statul ex-sovietic care alături de    republicile Baltice a avut o dezvoltare constantă și durabilă. Desigur, aici pot fi adresate unele critici regimului de la Baku cu privire la democrație, care în opinia multor analiști este doar mimată la Baku. Însă faptul adevărat este că acest stat a reușit să își gestioneze eficient resursele de care dispune pentru a deveni o societate prosperă. I se atribuie Azerbaijanului etichet

citește mai mult

What Can Democrats Learn From Alabama’s Doug Jones?

  • 0
  • 30 November 2017

In ordinary circumstances, Doug Jones would already be preparing to move to Washington DC. The former prosecutor famous for convicting KKK members for a church bombing is up against gay bashing, God and gun lovin’, twice kicked out of elected office, Judge Roy Moore. A man who has eight accusers of sexual assault, all of whom were underage at the time of the allegations.

Yet, if one looks at all the recent polls, they show a ti

citește mai mult

Azerbaidjanul, petrolul și românii

  • 0
  • 7 October 2016

Întotdeauna, statele sunt nevoite să își apere poziția pe marea tablă a geopoliticii, uitându-se cu grijă la vecini, dar și la puterile regionale. Această regulă presupune nu doar poziția ofensivă, ci și valorificare atuurilor, astfel încât să devină piese care contează pe „câmpul de analiză”, iar nu elemente neglijabile, care sunt măturate dintr-o dată de cei ce au suficientă putere să mânuiască piesele.

Caucazul, ca regiune geopolitică, nu face nici ea excepție

citește mai mult

Chinese Psychological Warfare in Countering Domestic Challenges

  • 0
  • 19 December 2018


The People’s Republic of China is considered to be an emerging geopolitical power in the world. Firstly, it has the second-largest economy in term of nominal GDP and its economic power is one of the most influential[1]. Secondly, in addition to the military power – according to – is the third after the US and Russia; China is becoming also p

citește mai mult

What are Europeans Thinking about Britain?

  • 0
  • 14 December 2018

Something that the British deserve some credit for is their lack of care for how other countries perceive them. Rarely does it tickle our curiosity and we are unapologetic about it. If it did bother us, the tourist hotspots of Marbella, Benidorm, Zante, Napa and the like would be unrecognisable today. Historically speaking, few Britons also want reminding of slavery or atrocities in the colonies.

This is down to both an unabash

citește mai mult

Falii și axe geopolitice de impact pentru securitatea globală (III)

  • 0
  • 19 October 2018

  1. Rolul Japoniei în regiune și în plan global

Poziţionarea contemporană a Japoniei – rolul său politic în lume – nu corespunde puterii sale economice. Condiţiile politice impuse de către Statele Unite Japoniei, la mijlocul secolului XX, dar şi prudenţa liderilor politici şi a popoarelor din statele care au fost ocupate de Japonia militaristă îi limitează guvernului de la Tokyo libertatea în elab

citește mai mult