‘Optimism or Bust’ (Part I)

Several key democratic events are happening in the US and the UK in coming period: the UK and US establishments (which usually back both sides) could actually lose several key contests in a short period of time.

Local Elections, Regional Elections and London Mayoral Elections will happen on May 7th. Brexit will happen on the 23rd of June. These are being billed as defining events in UK politics for the decade, and have options on the ballot uncomfortable to the British State (‘Corbyn’, ‘SNP’ and ‘Leave’).

Meanwhile, both establishment parties in the US are being challenged by non-establishment candidates. Bernie is an amazing opportunity, Trump threatens the status of the GOP.

The combination of all, or most, of them turning out well for progressive forces may be remote, but does seem feasible. And between climate change and nuclear war, I think now is the time for some optimism.

At any rate, I consider the following individually all highly likely in the UK this summer:

  • Local Elections Win for Corbyn’s Labour in England (and Wales), taking seats from all other parties especially the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP.
  • The SNP consolidate their dominance of Scotland, but with a twist of other pro-INDE parties (RISE) added to Holyrood.
  • Labour wins the London Mayoral contest.
  • Leave win Brexit by low-turnout Euro-sceptic
  • England carrying the high-turnout pro-EU Celtic nations just over the 50% margin.
    Because:

Corbyn has returned increased majorities in all electoral contests so far, is riding high in the polls, and the Tories are in disarray.
The SNP are plain sailing, with RISE threatening to take at least some seats due to the voting system and the recent grass-roots inde campaign.
Sadiq Khan is winning and it’s looking like London might be Labour for the foreseeable future (but him losing London it doesn’t necessarily derail the rest anyways).
Its 4 which is crucial here, and we pretty much know the Celtic nations are going to vote to remain, so it’s mostly a case of ‘how much England really wants to stick it to both the EU and David Cameron’. My hunch is they really do.

The implications of this all being that Corbyn’s role as leader of the Labour Party is consolidated, whilst Scottish Independence is back on the agenda: Sturgeon/SNP have said there will be no second referendum until ‘a clear majority want it’ or ‘there is some kind of constitutional change’: Brexit may well deliver both in the event of England taking the Celtic Nations out of the EU ‘on Tory terms’.

If the above happens, the Tories will have a messy divorce from Europe to preside over as the Union with Scotland is again gravely threatened. They will probably have to hold a leadership contest at a time of intense division over Europe. And then they will have to fend-off calls for a general election in which they fear Corbyn might actually win a landslide in the face of their own problems, especially if Bernie Sanders has won the White House…

Meanwhile, across the Pond:

Trump threatens the GOP: as candidate or as independent.
Bernie threatens to take over the Democratic Party.
Either could win the White House, both are likely to run one way or another.
US Politics has already been and can only be more irreversibly changed.
Even if Hillary, the only establishment candidate, does win the DP nomination she could be charged with criminal offences and thus not reach the white house.
What seems increasingly possible is that Bernie will actually win the democratic nomination and then the White House. If so, come January, with Bernie Sanders taking up residence in the White House in the UK, the SNP will be looking at polls for support of independence and facing the choice between 3.5 more years of Tory rule followed by an election that they can only hope for a few ministerial positions at best (in coalition with Labour) or to take their chances with a second referendum; stick it to the Tories and leave the UK with Corbyn about to win an election.”

Scottish independence means nuclear disarmament; the main issue which Corbyn is opposed by the PLP (absurdly).
Whichever Tory’s watch the Union ends on will surely struggle to win a general election.
Corbyn could be the beneficiary of a sequence of elections and referenda each of which more detrimental to the British establishment than the last, culminating in his election as Prime Minister, whilst Scotland writes a constitution, and Bernie Sanders sits in the White House.

All of which would provoke serious crisis with regards to the nuclear status quo, NATO, the EU and TTIP. It really could be a triple-whammy within Anglo world; Washington, London and Edinburgh taken over by Social Democrat Leaders and Parties, with grass-roots movements behind them and popular support; the unholy alliance of US-UK in a state of flux as the establishment billionaires circle the wagons against populists in the halls of government.

Bernie, Corbyn and Sturgeon with democratic mandates would surely be a force to be reckoned with. Corbyn reversing everything since Thatcher, Scotland writing a constitution (What does the Queen do again exactly?), Bernie challenging Wall Street and tackling climate change.

Three very important programs seem plausible under these conditions:

  1. Reversing Austerity through a Green Marshall plan funded with money saved from slashing boon-doggle military spending, and as a Western response to OBOR/AIIB.
  2. Building a New Europe of Regions resistant to US attempts to impose corporate control, epitomized by TTIP, and friendly towards Russia (our main source of low-carbon energy, gas).
  3. Respect for International Law and Cooperation: Stabilizing the Middle East and North Africa with Russia, China and Iran and various other local parties in a reasonable fashion. (Palestine and all.)
    Check out the Polls: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/

Coming soon: Part (II) ‘Empire Strikes Back’: What could be the establishment response to the above series of defeats?