Do the Elites understand protest votes?
I wish I could rally behind one of the major or minor parties in Theresa May’s Snap General Election. To be honest, I have only ever voted as a protest, to show that the citizenry is somehow politically aware, but unhappy with our rulers’ mischievous actions and plans. The alternative is to spoil your ballot paper or simply abstain altogether. In reality it doesn’t seem to matter which party or coalition wins a majority of seats. We get more of the same. All elected politicians can do is negotiate with the real power brokers in banking cartels, corporate boardrooms and transnational organisations and promise their voters a bigger slice of the global pie. However, thanks to automation, globalisation of trade and extreme labour mobility, large multinationals can hold national governments to ransom.
So who if anyone will I vote for in this election? To vote Conservative, as sensible as some of their rhetoric may superficially sound, would only empower their corporate backers, who are currently devising strategies to leave the European Union, but to keep us in an amorphous World Union, because they’ve probably realised the EU is failing as a regional brand of global convergence. The Conservative Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is more interested in pursuing US and Israeli foreign policy in the Middle East and spreading disinformation about Syria, Russia and Iran than he is in defending British jobs except for a few thousand employed in manufacturing fighter jets for the Saudi Air Force. I had briefly and very naively hoped that Boris would steer the UK away from its irresponsible support for mendacious military adventurism, alas his oratory skills have thus far only served the interests of the same neocon cabal that welcomed the USA's escalation of military confrontation with its foes. The Tories can only play the national unity card because the main opposition parties show little or no allegiance to the cultural identity and long-term economic interests of the settled population. The Brexit means Brexit mantra has become a charade and merely an excuse to prepare Britain for a new global role in wake of the EU’s inevitable collapse as it fails to deal with record youth unemployment, a migrant crisis, mass migration from North Africa and Middle East and culture clashes between native peoples and growing Islamic communities.
Rhetoric and Special Interests
Never before have the interests of the professional elites differed so much from those of the huddled masses. Until recently the affluent professional and business classes actually needed the working classes as we called the bulk of the population reliant on hard graft and mediocre wages. The 1950s, 60s and 70s saw a rapid improvement in the living standards and technical expertise of ordinary working people. The 80s and 90s saw many former blue collar workers transition to the new information economy, but then the seemingly unstoppable pace of technological and social transformation led to the outsourcing or automation of new jobs. The working class had become expendable. Meanwhile the professional classes fell in love with globalisation. It meant not just more affordable travel and holiday villas, but inexpensive nannies and plumbers as well as more attractive bar staff. Just as some upper-middle class Britons did well in the country’s colonies before the 1950s, taking advantage of their perceived academic superiority and their ability to exploit the gullibility of locals, today’s professional classes love cosmopolitan diversity as long as they can afford to protect themselves from its worst excesses and need not compete at the bottom end of wage scale. To succeed in today’s dynamic job market you need some distinctive talents that set you apart from your competitors. Otherwise for all your efforts and perseverance your job can easily be outsourced or automated. Would you rather buy coffee from an impersonal vending machine that gets the job done or from a grumpy old man with little charisma? Just as low-end jobs have become more insecure than ever, our establishment politicians want to deregulate the labour market even more. Have they learned nothing from the EU Referendum? 52% of voters did not support leaving the EU superstate because we hate the French, dislike Italian food or mean any harm to the good people of Poland, Bulgaria or Portugal. No, we voted leave mainly to protect jobs for our people rather than letting big business turn the country into a rich man’s playground interspersed with ghettoes of new migrant workers and workless native underclasses. However, it is important to understand that the belittling and deskilling of the working classes is not just a European phenomenon. Just as Welsh steelworkers can lose out to cheap Chinese imports, Chinese steelworkers will sooner or later yield to robotisation. Simply leaving the EU will not rebalance the labour market especially as successive governments have failed to invest in training key professional categories such as medical staff.
How does this unfolding global reality stack up with the rhetoric of the most prominent political parties here in the UK? Oddly Theresa May’s support for tougher immigration controls, leaving the EU (a prerequisite for the former pledge), selective state education and common sense economics resonate with much of the English middle classes. Corbyn may score a few points on military adventurism (if given airtime in the mainstream media) and the NHS, but few would trust Labour on economic competence. Without a strong economy, the government would have to cut public services even more as millions of Greeks, Italians and Spaniards have learned in recent years.
Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons
Modern sociologists no longer split people into working, middle and upper classes. Instead they prefer A, B, C1, C2, D and E. A-grade individuals form an elite of high-earning top professionals probably less than 4% of the population. They’re the kind of people who can easily afford to buy a property of an exclusive area of London and may have a holiday home abroad. E-graders are effectively the workless underclasses trapped in a vicious cycle of welfare dependency, low attainment and emotional insecurity. They form around 8% of British citizens. D-graders are unskilled or semiskilled workers, i.e. the kind of people most affected by outsourcing and migrant labour, but who also depend on in-work benefits. This larger group, currently around 15% of adults, could easily join E-graders if they fail to learn the more intellectually demanding skills of the information age. C1 and C2-graders may think of themselves as middle class, but are usually struggling to make ends meet. They may be better educated and better paid than D-graders, but often only a few pay cheques from bankruptcy and homelessness. Together this grouping accounts for half the population. That leaves only group B, approx. 20–25% of the population, a motley crew of intermediate managers, administrators and mediocre professionals, the kind of people who are doing alright and more likely to welcome recent socio-economic changes.
Traditionally Labour did very well groups E, D and C2 and well enough in C1 to win elections, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats did best in the top three grades. Whatever your tribal loyalties may be or whatever you may think of Britain’s foreign policies, the basic question most of ask is "to what extent will a party’s likely policies benefit my family and my community?" Labour advocates higher spending on social welfare, but looser immigration controls and hence greater labour market competition. Thus if you’re stuck in group E, Labour may still seem the most attractive option. You will be the first to lose out from planned and future cuts of welfare provision and may not like the prospect of low-paid non-jobs. However, this group is also statistically the least likely to vote at all and the most likely to switch to anti-establishment candidates, especially those who can appeal to identity politics. Unfortunately, as Labour is seen as weak on extreme labour mobility, Labour have lost most traditional working class voters in groups D, C2 and C1, except those ideologically committed to socialism (very few these days) or whose ethnographic-cultural identity leads them to favour continued high levels of net migration. Under Tony Blair and later Gordon Brown and to a lesser extent under Ed Miliband, Labour could still rely on a large chunk of the wishful thinking middle classes, the kind of people who want a fairer society built on strong economic foundations. However, the Blairite roadshow has now migrated to Liberal Democrats (who once opposed a Blairite war) and pro-EU faction of the Tory Party. After a disastrous performance in the 2015 General Election, I suspect the Liberal Democrats will be the main beneficiaries of remoaner opposition to Brexit among the affluent classes disaffected with Corbyn’s Labour and with an apparently Little Britain Tory Party. Indeed arch remoaners (fervent supporters of the European Union and globalisation in general) see both rightwing Tories and leftwing Labour as anachronisms from the 1980s, yet have little to offer ordinary working people except the opportunity to compete in a global labour market that an elite of robotics engineers are busy automating.
Last but not least we have the idiot fringe, best represented by the Green Party. This group seriously believes all our social and environmental problems are caused by greedy tax-evading multinationals and climate-change-denying xenophobes and non-Muslim homophobes. All we need to do is adopt immature green technologies, litter our countryside with wind turbines and solar panels, build more cycle ways and replace social welfare with the basic income. In short let’s turn the whole country into a giant university campus open to all and sundry. Greens tend to think everyone else is just like them, pseudo-intellectual virtue-signalling do-gooders reliant on corporate or state largesse. It all sounds very nice until you dwell on the logistics of powering a modern hospital or importing all the resources we need for our homes, household appliances and transport system. With a fraction of our current population, we might adapt to greater self-sufficiency, but with the Greens’ opposition to any meaningful border controls, their policies are bound to end in economic collapse and social unrest. At heart I support green policies, as in favouring great self-sufficiency of regions, lower consumption and stable sustainable population levels. But the Greens clearly support greater dependence on global organisation and less personal and community autonomy.
The Scottish Dimension
Before 2007 for decades Scotland had been a Labour-controlled fiefdom. Not only was corruption rife, but the party let lobby groups use Scotland as a social engineering playground, encountering opposition mainly from entrenched conservative forces within the Churches. Labour policies oversaw a continued brain drain of Scotland’s best and brightest to better-paid jobs down south and turned this one proud country into a subsidy junkie, while North Oil profits flowed to multinationals and Central Government. For all their waffle about devolution, Labour and the Conservatives before them made Scotland even more dependent on the United Kingdom. The two biggest employers here in Fife are the council (20% of the workforce) and the Ministry of Defence as well as Rosyth Dockyards (now run by Babcock International) and Raytheon, both reliant on contracts either from the UK’s armed forces or its military partners, principally the United States. It should come as little surprise that the SNP could capitalise on decades of arrogant subjugation and hand power back to the people of Scotland. Alas once in office the SNP behaved just like New Labour with a few grandiose infrastructure projects such as the new Queensferry Road Bridge, but even more social engineering. Their biggest failure has been in education, the one area of government intervention that can help bright children from deprived backgrounds aspire to more intellectually demanding and thus usually higher-paid jobs. Scotland’s poor have faired worse than their English and Welsh cousins. They continued the previous administration’s plans to merge high schools into mega-comprehensives with larger catchment areas, while surreptitiously introducing the Orwellian Named Person Act, treating all parents as potential child abusers.
Current and Future Dangers
The real divide is no longer between left and right or capitalist versus socialist, but simply between elitists vs populists. While populists may often appeal to nostalgia and offer simplistic solutions to complex problems (e.g. leave the EU, stop all Islamic migration or arrest all bankers), they do at least respond to grassroots feelings, however misplaced. Populists are unlikely to advocate lower wages or cuts in essential public services. They are also keen to support the lifestyle aspirations of their core voters, so populists tend to be sceptical of many green policies which may involve lifestyle changes such as cycling to work rather than driving. Elitists, on the other hand, believe they know what’s best not just for themselves but for ordinary working and non-working people. Hence elitists will tend to support the often counter-intuitive conclusions of academic studies and reports commissioned by NGOs with a vested interest in promoting rapid cultural and economic change. Populist concerns tend to rely on the lived experiences of ordinary people. If you’ve just spent 3 hours waiting in a local accident and emergency department with chronic pain surrounded by patients and medical staff from other ethnic backgrounds, you might conclude that mass migration is putting the health service under strain. By contrast an elitist would blame any delays on underfunding or an ageing population, while noting the dedication of migrant medical staff. If a populist then suggests that more local lads and lasses should be trained as doctors and nurses, a typical elitist will merely shrug his shoulders and claim local youngsters simply don’t want these jobs and are too busy playing on their game consoles. Elitists are basically alphas and betas, who prefer foreign gammas over native deltas and epsilons because they know the jobs deltas and epsilons used to do will soon be fully automated. Angry natives, especially from lower classes, are a massive people management issue. I suspect the real ruling classes, a small subset of alphas, are divided on this issue. They either plan to turn most of us into little more than docile consumers rewarded for our subservience while only a quarter of working age adults have paid employment, or they have more sinister plans. Either way the hallmark of elitists is their intellectual dishonesty. By pretending to help designated victim groups, whether single parents or refugees, they merely empower their own class of people denying everyone else of any economic or personal autonomy. Their policies inevitably lead to greater surveillance and monitoring of all, but a lucky few who can buy exclusivity and privacy.
It may come as a surprise to those who have read some of my other recent blog posts, but the party global elitists fear most is probably Corbyn’s Labour, not because its policies are viable, which they are not, but because its leader challenges the lies and deception of the American and British foreign policy elites. Once Corbyn is swept away in the aftermath of a near certain slump in Labour’s parliamentary presence (with just 25% of the popular vote Labour could lose 50 or more seats), we could witness a realignment of the elitists that brought both Blair and Cameron to office. If they see Labour as a lost cause, expect a few globalist Tories to jump ship and join a new alliance centred around Liberal Democrats, who may gain as many as 30–40 seats. In much of the Scottish Central Belt, Labour are the only party that can deny the SNP of another landslide leading to another fake Independence Referendum, but this time with the full support of the globalist establishment. In an uncertain world, the main losers of a post-UK British Isles would be ordinary working people, the gammas, deltas and epsilons the elitists no longer need. However, if Labour can hold on to a respectable presence by mitigating its losses in England and possibly regaining a few seats in Scotland owing to growing disaffection with the SNP), we may scupper the elitist gamble to silence all viable opposition to its plans.