The UK leaving the European Union naturally dominates the news in Britain. At some point in the not-too-distant future the debate on a whole range of issue is going to shift. The ills of the modern world will no longer be seen as being caused by the undemocratic bureaucrats of Brussels or by immigrants.
The logic of our times is a reaction to the financial crisis of 2008. This is a crisis still going on and it could actually result in a new phase in capitalism, one that takes account of new technology and the need for far fewer working hours. For those that demand that we should “look after our own first” a new reality might hit.
That new reality could be one where capitalism is put under the spotlight, but it is far more likely that new scapegoats will be found to explain why “our own” still can’t be looked after first. People have seen their communities lose services, their friends lose benefits and work doesn’t pay as well as it used to.
Right now we are in a very interesting position. This is being played out around us and we need to speak out. The scene is set. Government policy and capitalism is to blame for the mess that people see. The European Union and immigration were not the causes of the crisis and they did not exacerbate the effects unduly. Government decided to use the financial crisis as an excuse for an austerity programme. The market readjusted causing bosses to stagnate wages. The interim result may be the UK leaving the EU but it is not the end result. The end results are unknown.
So we have a role in not allowing new scapegoats to be found to “explain” why there are winners and losers. Such arguments are toffsplaining and need to be exposed. We need to ensure that one group of people is not used by ruling class interests to explain away the continued siphoning of funds away from the workers and into the hands of the elite.
Official politics, with a left wing Labour leader, should be showing the way. But it won’t and it can’t. I recently saw a call out by a local Momentum group planning a big protest. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s really nothing wrong with a small protest either. Choose your target and strike, speaking truth to power and making ruling class interests wet themselves. That’s surely got merit. But instead of doing that this group has chosen to protest the offices of the New Statesman because they perceive that the magazine has not been fair to Jeremy Corbyn.
Literally anything is a better use of their time than that kind of naval-gazing, pissing in a strong wind “protest.” There are people facing deportation, the cuts made from 2010 onwards are only now starting to really take effect. Yet they choose to protest outside a magazine. The logic is sick and twisted. Presumably they think that if only Corbyn had a fair ride then Labour would be a better Opposition and the Tories wouldn’t be able to get away with quite so much. There’s so much bullshit as many on the left scramble for some answers to the world’s problems. It’s not surprising that they feel some investment in getting Labour into power but such investment can send people down some dead ends.
If the idea of new scapegoats can be defeated before it really starts then we have a chance of changing the narrative. An end to toffsplaining in the workplace, in politics and in our communities. A new narrative around the failings of the system could emerge. Maybe not immediately but over time, we can start a discussion on a new economics, an economics for us.
Photo: UK Parliament