A short while ago I mentioned in horror the chart showing how UK politics has become a generational divide above all else. It's so stark, it's just dreadful. The fact that right now the crossover point leaves a comfortable parliamentary majority for the oldies, doesn't really resolve things. At all.
And where the 2019 XR spasm was deftly quashed by the 2019 universal (western) policy-shift to "zero net carbon 2050", a summer 2020 spasm arising from a mash-up of inchoate BLM discontent, pent-up rave-potential unable to get to Glastonbury, organised criminals itching to get back into post lock-down business etc etc etc ... well. A summer of yoof with literally nothing else to do, flanked by general drunken yobbery, culminating in the Notting Hill Carnival ... it can't be contained by the constabulary, that's for sure, nor the mostly-Labour city mayors, however respectable and well-intentioned they must be seen to be on such occasions. And nobody wants to it run until some horrible "innocent deaths" occur, sending everyone home in sullen, shame-faced dismay (and nothing resolved) - even if that's the usual way of British peasants revolts and Pilgimages of Grace.
There are those - like the doctrinaire-barmy, but fundamentally honest Aaron Bastani - who are quite optimistic this can work out (he expects a big political upheaval to accompany it). But it's all a bit wishful, and certainly not a concrete programme for 2020.
As I've asked before: what is the specific XR-style trick that can be played this time around? What are the demands?
There are several points of departure from this opening.
1. The radical left says: easy! It's the Green-New-Deal-incorporating-"A Just Transition" (plus-Extra-BAME-Jobs) - that parenthetical last, a recent simple add-on that only represents a couple more words in each clause of the legislation
2. The business world says something broadly similar: lots big government contracts for infrastructure stuff, please, with no planning restrictions if it's all the same to you (oh, and OK, as many sops to BLM as you feel you need)
3. A series of Marcus Rashford moments, the significance of which I reckon is badly under-rated. Think what happened there: in the midst of a complete political vacuum, a footballer suggested something sweeping and practicable that was agreed to within 48 hours! AND - here's the important bit - it is (effectively) a means-tested benefit, and the word "BAME" appeared nowhere! To the extent it calmed things down a bit in the week of white yoof running around tearing down statues like real anarchists, that's an astonishing achievement** - and more Rashford moments can easily be envisaged.Or maybe it's just downhill all the way. There are certainly voices for Hold Yer Nerve And Crack Some Skulls. I repeat my prediction that the EU will make a spectacular *magnanimous offer* if everything's really going to ratshit here.
** In a couple of days Rashford achieved the following:
- showed Boris up to be the inadequate dolt he is
- left Starmer floundering (I was going to say tripped him up, but since Starmer conducts his business from the tenth row in the stands, that isn't really possible)
- took the wind out of an awkward situation, (albeit perhaps only temporarily) - must have been annoying for the out-and-out BLM malcontents of all colours; and in so doing, gave a useful precedent / exemplar for future sop-giving
- threw the doctrinaire Left into a deep quandry. They too hate palliative sops. They don't like freelance political initiatives from their side (like the Catholic Church really hated Joan of Arc). They are very ambivalent over means-tested benefits. BUT the really serious Marxists are keen to take race out of the equation and bring it all back to class - so free meals on demand for all hard-up families is right up their street