Thursday 16 April 2020

An Eruption on the Left

With the implosion of Bernie Sanders and the final damping of the pitiful Long-Bailey squib, the misery for the Anglo-left seemed complete for the time being; and I was planning to write about how the comrades were settling down for a period of dispirited low-key rumination, whistling in the dark and trying to persuade each other to stay in the Party, stay engaged, stay strong.  

Strong?  Just about the strongest strategic move they've taken in 2020 has been to accommodate themselves as best they know to the quickly-apparent inevitability of Starmer - trying to pour a thin layer of quick-setting cement on his left-gesturing *pledges*, despite the manifest lame hopelessness of this gambit.  And there might yet be a post on that some day soon: I remain fascinated by how the thoughtful and well-intended fraction of the Corbynist project is going to evolve.

But then; instead of the next event in the grid of their leftist lives being the EHRC report on anti-semitism ... along comes the Mantel-sized blockbuster that is the leaked internal report.  What an eruption!

The early responses are quite revealing.
  • See, we could have won in 2017, we wuz betrayed, we wuz robbed!
  • The Tories never behave like this!
  • Those centrists [sic] are genuinely nasty!    And from some ...
  • Now we really gotta leave this horrible party!
Shitstorm, eh?  Welcome to the cess-pit that is left-wing politics, boys and girls.  Do they stop for even a moment to reflect that this is why most people want nothing whatsoever to do with them?   That it is only on the left that anyone has ever heard the term "zio" being uttered?  That while unpleasant "right-wing" nut-jobs seeth away in the fringes of the www, they never get anywhere near polite society, still less control of the routine workings of any mainstream political party, either in its headquarters or its local branches?

The Tories never behave like this ... Yes, boys and girls, it's you!



Thud said...

This raised a smile....that German word I can't spell comes to mind!

Elby the Beserk said...

Reassuring that for Labour that their REAL problem is exactly the same as that which the USSR suffered when things go wrong.


The old ones are the best ones, eh?

Starmer. What the **** were they thinking? One look at his record at the CPS suffices to confirm that this is another Labour leader you would not entrust to run your corner shop.

Rayner. OMG. WTF. LOL. And so on.

Bill Quango MP said...

Just finished Dominic Sandbrooks early 1980s book.

One of those periods that is heavily mirrored in recent times. Often with the same players.

1981 and the wrenching divisions of the left between left of left moderates and hard left communists.
On the right. The dripping wet social democrats in the Tory party. Wedded to the EEC and terrified of the ghastly economic medicine needed to kill inflation and curb the power of the unions.

In the end, the left split into the left of centre, Short lived SDP. Which, for a while, was like UKIP. Taking chunks out of the Tories as much as labour.
The left also split into the SDP. Which soon turned from being a UKIP/Brexit party style force. Into a TiGGer nonentity party, of no ideas and no purpose. The hard left won and lost at the same time. The Bennites came close to wrecking the Labour Party completely. A young Jeremy Corbyn makes a few appearances..

Ultimately, the hard left failed to take the reins completely. But it would take the most powerful of weed killers to root them out.

In 1981 the Tories were 8 or 9 points behind labour. But what is amazing, is that was all they were behind. With 3,000,000 unemployed. Inflation refusing to come down. Economic confidence shot to pieces. Riots. IRA terrorism. EEC successful economies. Moaning clergy, universities, public sector, and distraught, business leaders demanding an end to fiscal policy and Tory rule.
They Tories were openly split. And a threat to the leader was ever present.

Yet, like over Brexit, labour could never manage to get its act together to seize power. The golden opportunity went by. And ever since, the hard left have claimed that the Falklands war, saved the Tories and prevented a socialist utopia.

However, what was interesting in this book, was the data for 1982.

Labour was failing long before the Falklands. The unions were already defeated, mostly by their own members refusing to strike and guarantee the loss of their jobs. Public confidence was rising., inflation was rapidly falling. Home buying was increasing.
The gap, between labour and Tories before the Falklands was around 4%. And that was the Thatcher party 4% ahead.

The landslide tory victory that followed the Atlantic war, would have been a regular victory without it.

The public did not want to vote mad labour.

Much like the Corbyn 2017 boom. The public didn’t want Jez and the Marxists. But they did not want the infighting, split, divided, wet, ineffectual, appeasement of the May government either.

Johnson’s win, was because he was not May and was not Corbyn. And seemed like he might actually do something.

Anonymous said...

Good article in the Speccie about questions Neil Ferguson should be asked, but won't be:

He seems to have a history of making wildly overstated death-rate predictions. It's terrifying to consider the influence he has on government policy. I wonder what his political views are?

Nick Drew said...

In 1939 it was officially estimated that air-raid casualties would be quarter of a million deaths in London in the first couple of weeks of a blitz

(they were extrapolating from air raids in (a) WW1 and (b) the Spanish Civil War - in both of which cases the civilian populations were defenceless and unprepared)

they planned to dispose of the bodies in the vast gravel pits around Heathrow, and into the Thames at high tide

and of course they evacuated children to the countryside

BlokeInBrum said...

Yes, always extrapolating results without taking into consideration that people may act in ways that adapt to the situation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.08pm here.

I don't think the bombing death predictions were necessarily absurd, if you consider Dresden or the other recipients of Butcher Harris's tender mercies.

Ferguson's figures are repeatedly overstated though.

Bill Quango MP said...

Total uk bombing deaths for the entire war, were in the 50,000 mark. That includes the rocket attacks.

The vast majority of those deaths occurred when air raid preparations were most was t until winter, 1941, that UK air defences and civil administration, were competent.

Many Uk civilians believed that being in a shelter, or being at home, made little difference. So might as well sleep in a bed and take your chances. This was not true. By the far the greatest deaths occurred when people were not in shelters of any kind.

UK political policies were based on those 250,000 deaths on week one.
That data set the UK on its preparations. Informed government choices. Even though the data was hopelessly wrong.
Even if it had been correct, the bomber getting through unscathed, theory, had already begun to look Unsound, with the advent of the 300 plus mph monoplane fighter aircraft.

The dodgy data conclusions were why there was the evacuations.It was Munich when the children were evacuated. Many were back home when the real bombing began. but in the plus dude some thought to civil defences had begun. there were gas masks stockpiled, and ready to be issued, for the entire population, pre-war.

This current government, indeed the entire world, is acting on the data it has. We can only hope it is more accurate than the bomb deaths casualty was.

BlokeInBrum said...

It is understandable that the initial reaction to Covid was somewhat less than coordinated.
You need the support and understanding of the public before draconian measures such as the lockdown can be enacted.
The counterfactual is that we have had a foreshadowing of these events with Sars and Mers among others. The public health bodies (such as WHO and PHE) with their vast budgets should have had plans in place to cover what is really a predictable event.
There is also the reasonable suspicion that this outbreak was already detected back in November last year. There is also the question of testing. We need accurate data to assess what is the best course of action. So why the atrociously slow roll out of testing?

Anonymous said...

Problem with these things is that everyone's an expert in hindsight, and not too shy to tell world+dog about it.

Make the right decision that inconveniences people, and all goes to plan, you were being overcautious, it was all rubbish, Michelle from Croydon, who you friended on Facebook to get some extra YoVille currency in 2008, well, her next-door neighbour's cousins catsitter's ex had a pint with a man from the ministry, and he was just totally telling strangers in bars that! It's on Facebook, next to an advert telling you measles vaccinations and 5G turns your kidneys into a nest of earthworms, so it must be true.

Make the wrong decision, and well, you bastard. Should've inconvenienced everyone instead, what were you thinking? Hangings too good...

It was like with Y2K, people seemed actively disappointed planes weren't falling out of the sky, as opposed to people mostly did their job.

I worked on a Y2K project, about 2/3rds of it was due diligence on things that were never a danger, and the rest pretty evenly split between things that it wouldn't have mattered much if they gone belly up, and things that - had *they* gone belly up - lots of people would have died.

Of course we made sure they didn't die.

So it was all a scam. Obvs. Innit.

Some days I think we're really such a wilfully stupid species, it's a miracle we get to Friday every week without having managed to eradicate ourselves before beer o'clock.

E-K said...

Who needs the Left when we've got COVID-19 ?

Corbynism on speed.

BTW. A friend of a friend in a care home reports they are getting through 200 masks a day - one needed for each task.

Just how much PPE were we meant to stock to keep trade relations with China ?

rwendland said...

Re Neil Ferguson - don't see that the estimates in his seminal 16 March 2020 paper are far-off for the current reality. Under-estimates if anything.

If you look at his forecast with the four current interventions in place, his central GB estimate was between 10,000 to 34,000 deaths over 2 years (Figure 4: on-off triggered interventions under various on-off parameters).

His enormous 250k+ estimates were for the "do nothing" scenarios, which fortunately we are not putting to the acid test. (Though maybe Boris tried it out for a while.)

Of course keeping all the non-pharmaceutical interventions going for 2 years probably won't happen, especially school closures.

Elby the Beserk said...

Bill Quango MP said...
Just finished Dominic Sandbrooks early 1980s book.
We are blessed in our post war social historians. Sandbrook, Kynaston, Hennessy, Judt. That their work runs alongside my life, born in 1951, makes all their works that more engaging.