Yet more proof that the Yes parties are part of the democratic movement sweeping Europe. Just as much of Yes dovetailed with Syriza, so here is Vicente Navarro, Professor of Public Policy at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona and John Hopkins, Baltimore: ‘There is enormous anger toward what Podemos calls la casta, the cast. That includes the governing elites in the political establishment who have developed close complicities with the major financial and non-financial corporations that dominate the political and media institutions of the country. The call for throwing all of them out awakens general support among the majority of the Spanish people.’
Podemos has lost faith in the governing elite and has run out of patience waiting for the usual suspects to act. It has cornered the market in revolt from every corner of Spain in a progressive nationalist movement impatient for change. As I wrote last time – the people are angry.
Navarro writes: ‘Podemos uses a language that people relate to, redefining class struggle as the conflict between those at the top and everyone else – a narrative that mobilises a diverse support base. Moreover, Podemos makes the call for democracy central to its strategy, redefining democracy to include different forms of participation, such as referendums (defined as the right to decide, el derecho a decidir) together with indirect or representative forms of democracy. It is because of this commitment to democracy that it has accepted the right of self-determination for the different nations that exist in Spain, breaking with the vision of Spain as a uni-national state.’
In Spain the cast includes both establishment parties of left and right – the conservative Partido Popular and the socialist PSOE. In Greece, they vented fury on the conservative New Democracy and the centre-left PASOK. In the UK, the people rail against Conservative and Labour – the pattern repeats.
Is this left wing insurgency? It is in media shorthand and there is no doubt it is socialist in its empathy for the people against the state but there are far more than committed left wingers voting for these arrivistes. Our own SNP draws in those of economically liberal ideology who find their ambition stifled by the suffocating power blocs.
In Spain there is a continuing Communist influence but Navarro explains: ‘Regardless of where they come from, they all felt that the root of the problem was the control of the state by a class of politicians, based primarily in the major parties – the liberal-conservative party (PP) and the socialist (PSOE) – who were closely related and tied to the major financial and banking corporations that have corrupted state institutions. They called for the establishment of a democratic state and a democratic Europe, a Europe of the people, not the Europe of the bankers.’
The professor helped to draft an outline economic programme which, predictably, received the same disparaging reaction Yes also received. ‘The hostility of the mainstream and economic media, as well as the intellectuals and spokespersons of the major governing parties (PP and PSOE) has led to some notable attacks against the document – and indeed its authors.’ Sound familiar?
The desperate defence of established interests is well under way and was elegantly outlined in the Herald by David Torrance who calls opposition to the mainstream ‘fantasy politics’. This is the voice of the elite telling you to leave it to those who know best. Coming up with ideas that shake the old order is nonsense and suggesting an income for all for example is laughable yet maintaining nuclear weapons somehow isn’t. The real fantasy politics is to be found in the pages of the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/03/britain-economic-crisis-public
Is printing money to give to the banks who destroyed the economy fantasy politics? Is sovereign debt of £1.5 trillion fantasy politics? Is failing to save a brass farthing from £300bn of North Sea tax revenues fantasy politics?
What so many of the predictable commentaries miss is that all politics is aspiration. Apart from Tories who go into the job to protect the interests of hedge funds, everybody else – Yes, even Gordon Brown – enter the arena to change the world. They have a dream, an aspiration, based on a principle. Politics is adding in a plan and trying to make it work. It never does so completely so there is always failure. Everybody has to trim, accommodate and compromise. But they do their best, as we do in life. Without the dream, you have next to nothing.
The biggest con in politics is the ‘fully-costed demand’ that must accompany every idea. ‘What will it cost and who pays?’ If that is the basis of policy, nothing will ever be achieved, on right or left. What is the true cost of Coalition policy on the health and well being of communities? How do you evaluate the cost of suicides caused by benefits sanctions?
The Coalition has failed majestically in its own agenda with Osborne’s plans to eradicate the deficit in tatters. Why do we tolerate that failure yet disparage those on the progressive side who aspire to do it differently?
It’s fun too when the people get angry. See how Gordon Brown is made to leap through hoops as public opinion aims another skelp at his Labour erse. By sticking to our guns and keeping the opinion polls ticking over, we force him and his media sycophants to come to terms with the nationalist agenda, to promise more, to sell, plead and cajole.
All this is to the good, building up the stock of the Home Rule case and ultimately of independence. If we keep support at this level, we will reach a stage where Labour is so frightened it will be nearing the SNP position of having virtually everything devolved and that will become the minimum demand of the party support in the future.
Irrespective of the general election outcome, this will be the basis of their case for Holyrood next year and if there is a Tory-led UK government, Labour will be effectively campaigning with the SNP for Home Rule against the British state.
Don’t write it off. Just as we saw in the indyref, they will do anything to stay in the game and every red line – up to and including Trident – can be smudged. (The Scottish party can adopt a different position to the UK). Murphy was a gamble. Now panic has set in. If the polling gap stays as wide, there is no telling what lunatic bids they will make next. Sit back and enjoy. Isn’t it great being one of the people?by