The Passing Show: the Death of a Clown

August 2022 Forums General discussion The Passing Show: the Death of a Clown

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    The Liberals will need to be more astute than last time when they extracted a promise from their Tory coalition partners to hold a referendum on electoral reform, only to be stabbed in the back as the Tories did nothing to discourage their supporters from campaigning and voting against it.

    What was proposed in the referendum was not proportional representation but the alternative vote under which people vote 1,2,3 and votes are redistributed until one candidate crosses the 50% mark (similar to the system under which executive mayors are now elected). This allows those who finished 2nd and 3rd to gang up against the one who finished 1st.

    Actually, this has what has been happening – or rather the same effect had been produced — in recent by-elections were the Labour has run a token campaign in the Tory shires so their supporters vote liberal and the Liberals doing the same in the big cities so their supporters vote Labour.

    Of course you can devise and introduce the most democratic electoral system but it won’t make much difference as long as the voters support one capitalist party or another, as they currently do. Even with such a system, the need for socialist activity to win over a majority for socialism remains.


    One of the candidates for the next Leader of the opposition, the ineffable Liz Truss, has a chequered past. The latest issue of Private Eye (15 July) has dug up that when she in the Young Liberals in 1994 she spoke in favour of abolishing the monarchy and adds:

    “But there is more, the Eye learns. Delegates who attended the 1993 conference of Liberal Democrat Youth & Students recall then-firebrand Truss arguing for, er, the abolition of money.”

    This is credible. Truss was then a student at Oxford at the same time as some Socialist Party members who had formed an “Abolition of Money” society. So it is entirely possible that she picked up the idea from this student society. Maybe she even have gone to one of their meetings.

    But what an opportunist. One moment a Liberal, the next a Tory. One moment a Remainer, the next a Brexiteer. And just to climb higher up the greasy pole.


    Saying it like it is


    The comedy show continues. Now one of them is accusing the others of supporting socialism:

    What he actually said was:

    “this something-for-nothing economics is not conservative, it’s socialism.”

    Previously he had called it “fairy tale economics”. That was more accurate.

    The others imagine that, if the government reduces taxes, businesses will invest more and the economy will grow (capital accumulation will increase). But that’s not the way capitalism works. It is motivated by the prospect of profits, not tax cuts. These might increase the profits they retain but that doesn’t mean they will invest them. You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.


    The Tory MPs have chosen the two names — a rich capitalist seeking something to do and a shamelessly opportunist career politician — to go to the habitués of Golf clubhouses and Constitutional Clubs to choose the next Prime Minister.

    Last week Sunak accused Truss of promoting “socialism”. According to today’s Times, Truss has “has cast Mr. Sunak as a closet socialist”. So the farce continues.

    At least the word “socialism” has returned to contemporary political discussion if in an unexpected form.

    Bijou Drains

    I have a vision of lots of conflicted Tory members, all struggling to work out whether their inbuilt sexism is stronger than their on built racism.


    Forget the Sunak and Truss opinion polls, it is hard to believe but if Boris was standing he would trounce both.

    Is the Tory Party full of masochists?


    It’s looking more and more like the Tory leadership contest is one to choose the next Leader of the Opposition, after a brief period as prime minister of a government trying unsuccessfully to cope with a major economic crisis.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if secretly Sunak won’t mind losing as that way he keeps his reputation as a reasonably competent chancellor (from a capitalist point of view, that is) while Truss will go down as a failure, a spectacular failure in fact in view of the wild promises she is making about how she can control the workings of capitalist economy by giving it the Magic Growth Pill.


    You’re right, ALB.

    According to the Electoral Calculus, if a general election were held this month the results would be:

    Labour – 50% of the seats;
    Conservatives – 35%;
    SNP – 8%;
    Liberal Democrats – 3%.

    So, it looks as if Labour will either win a small majority, or do a deal with the LibDems (assuming Scotland isn’t in the process of leaving the UK by 2024).


    Is history about to repeat itself? It looks as if the Tories, like Labour a few years ago, is going to choose a Leader with a way-out economic policy which will fail.

    Some long-standing Tory MPs will remember the “Barber Boom” of 1972-4:

    “Barber’s first assault was on the tax system. In his speech accompanying the 1971 budget, he said of taxation in Britain ‘it too often stultifies enterprise. Too often it discourages the pursuit of profit. Too often it penalises savings on which the nation’s worth and the growth of the economy so largely depend.’ Comprehensive reform was required and so began a series of income tax cuts, an overhaul of the ‘purchase tax’ and the introduction of VAT.”

    Older members and workers will remember how it ended with the 3-day week and shortages with Heath calling an election in 1974 on the question of “who rules—us or the miners?”. To which the voters replied “Not you, mate”. A Labour government took over and made an equal mess of things, ending in the Winter of Discontent of 1978/9 with rubbish piling up and bodies waiting to be buried.

    Will it be “the Truss boom” followed by a doomed Labour government?

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