1 October 2017

Progressive News 3 October 2017


This Week:


How did immigration impact Labour’s vote?


Labour’s different worldviews


Globalisation helps public spending, and lowers poverty


How Labour’s Immigration stance impacted its immigrant vote


Branko Marcetic at the Spinoff and Phil Quin at Newsroom have found that Labour lost ground in several key-high immigration electorates. Mt Roskill, New Lynn, Te Atatu, all Auckland electorates with high Asian population, saw a drastic move away from Labour, this election. All this while Labour gained votes across much of the country.


This is a worrying trend;, not only are immigrants only going to become a bigger share of the electorate. Labour alienated votes with their immigration strategy. Both the racial dog whistling from “Chinese sounding surnames” and Labour’s general principle of cutting 30,000 immigrants per year, appear to have cost Labour deeply. To win the next election, Labour need to win Auckland. To win Auckland, Labour need to win immigrants. 



UK Labour and the Human Condition


“Only time will tell whether this is the end of Labour as a mainstream political force. Much will depend upon the great majority of members who do not belong to the hard core sects and who on the whole don’t attend CLP meetings. Whatever the future proves to be, the Labour Party has changed irrevocably and the progressive politics of Labour moderates, inherited from recent decades is now redundant. The rules of the game have changed. I’m not sure if we have come to terms with this reality.


“These two competing forces contest the basic principles of politics. They offer fundamentally different understandings of the human condition. For one its belief in unlimited change echoes Jeremy Corbyn's offer of free money, free movement, free university, more peace, less poverty.  Everyone will be their own musician and poet in a state of "fully automated luxury communism". For the other freedom is human scale. History does not deliver it. People have to fight for it.  And freedom is always balanced by the constraints of living with others and with the natural world. The pursuit of individual freedom without constraint is a kind of promethean bourgoise version of Marxism. It is the other side of the coin to neo-liberalism and unwittingly represents the interests and preoccupations of a knowledge class. It would destroy the web of communal social relations and values that bind people together.



More on Corbyn- has he moved the Centre Ground?


“What do Jeremy Corbyn and George Osborne have in common? Yes, read that sentence again. They are not exactly fellow travellers. But, believe it or not, on conference platforms they made almost identical claims.


“The former chancellor, in 2015, claimed the Tories had created a ‘new centre ground’, believing that after the crash, the case for reducing the country's debt, and shrinking the state, had been won.


“The Labour leader, who has been arguing all week for a much more statist society, today said that after the crash, the fabled centre ground has moved to the left, ‘certainly not where it was twenty or thirty years ago’. His claim was ‘we are now the political mainstream’.




Globalisation and Poverty


Max Roser, from Our World in Data points to a combination of globalisation and government spending as being the key to getting out of poverty. Yes, poverty has been alleviated as openness has increased, but this has come hand in hand with more government spending. In fact, the growth created by globalisation helps government spend more on getting people out of poverty.



Which countries are most generous to new parents?



New Zealand finds itself much lower than almost every other OECD country when it comes to offering paid parental leave. It tops only Australia and the United States.



A Must Read “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” by Edward Luce


“Written since the earthquake election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, this book is a head-clearing attempt to explore the underlying disorder and distemper in liberal democracy, in America and throughout the West, that produced such presidency. As this author states repeatedly, Trump is merely a symptom, not a cause, of this disorder. For readers looking for context, this primer is a good start.


In addition to off-shoring production, “The fastest-growing units in the big Western companies are the legal and public relations departments. Big companies devote the bulk of their earnings to buying back shares and boosting dividend payments. They no longer invest anything like what they used to in research and development. The future loses out.” Meanwhile, the wealthy get wealthier, exacerbating the problem of income inequality. And the “losers” are multiplying: In 2000, a third of Americans described themselves as lower class; by 2015 that number had risen to almost half.


 “As this book outlines, there is no end of subject, nor urgency. And, there is hope: The “retreat” of Luce’s title suggests the possibility of a revival, a comeback. As the author writes: “Western liberal democracy is not yet dead, but it is far closer to collapse than we may wish to believe. It is facing its gravest challenge since the Second World War. This time, however, we have conjured up the enemy from within. At home and abroad, America’s best liberal traditions are under assault from its own president. We have put arsonists in charge of the fire brigade. The bad news is that populists such as Donald Trump....are winning the fight. The good news is the fightback has a lot of room for improvement.”



The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of 'Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends'

On a lighter note, enjoy a read about the authoritarianism at the heart of Thomas the Tank Engine. The highlight is the story of a disobedient train who is entombed alive for not wanting to get his paint wet. Charming.



Josie Pagani on Q+A

Finally, Josie Pagani from here at Progress was on Q+A this week- talking dealing with Winston, MMP, and CEO salaries. Also on the panel: Former Labour MP John Tamihere, and former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp.

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