12 August, 2009

Future Markets

Just briefly (if anyone is reading), I wanted to note that Alex has a great post at An und für sich, wherein he shows that Cameron's "new-breed" Conservatives should not be seen as an alternative to the prevailing neoliberal consensus, but would in fact be more of the same. I also want to try and express my fears with a general election nearing:

Relatively recently I was so appalled by the similarity of Labour and the Conservatives that I would have said "better a competent tory government for one term than a 4th term of lacklustre and sleaze-ridden governance by labour." Do I still believe this, that at least a change would draft in some honesty or competency? No, not particularly - it is hard to believe in honest politicians in the current climate. Additionally, I'm becoming fairly certain that while ministers might add a subtle change in emphasis, the hardware on which government runs changes fairly little.

Would a Tory win next year still be a mercy-killing?
I do feel that with the present status quo the best-case scenario is to have the two major parties extremely close. My formative years (in political terms), were spent watching New Labour enjoy an unassailable lead in the polls, and watching a succession of Conservative leaders propose batty schemes in a desperate grab for votes, but in no position to actually oppose the government.

It is important for a party's rule not to drag on: the Conservatives were not damaged from 1997-2005 because Hague and Howard were particularly poor leaders or thinkers (IDS, granted was weak on PR, although I have a good degree of respect for him), but because the last of their 18 years in power were still fresh in the nation's memory. Strong candidates detract from the party leadership, but don't want the poisoned chalice for themselves - I rather suspect that David Milliband is holding off his leadership challenge because he doesn't want to be PM for 6 months, but instead Tony Blair mk.2.

I fear the long-term destruction of the Labour party by its current weakness, because though I loathe the current government, it is only from within Labour that a government I could really be happy with could emerge. Never the Conservatives, and I'm convinced the Lib Dems are 'not a real party,' bound together more by what they're not than what they are.

Were labour to become unelectable for another two decades it would precipitate disaster. And yet.

Not every part of our national infrastructure is meant to be dissolved in the free market, and yet I fear that the forthcoming Tory landslide will be seen by that party as a mandate to do just that. A centre-right agenda that will be both a continuation and a rejuvenation of the current government's direction.

With either Labour or the Conservatives, then, and in best case scenario or worst, it seems we will still end up slouching in the same direction. It has become altogether very difficult to envision where change might come from. The desperate thing about dystopias in literature is not necessarily how malevolent the living conditions within them are, it is how stable they are, how resistent to change. The stability of the present state of affairs suggests it can only be capsized by catastrophe.