Thursday, December 9, 2010

The helpless left

Interesting take on the crisis of the left by John McTernan - essentially voters perceive that, in his words, 'voters are moving beyond the claim that 'you're all the same', to an absolute certainty that nothing could make things better'.

This may be a key point. After all, the left is about changing things, and most of the big institutional, intellectual and structural changes of the past quarter century have made it much harder for the left to do that. There is a certain helplessness about left discourse - things are terrible, but there's not an awful lot we can do except alleviate some of the worst effects. Clearly not the kind of thing that will inspire confidence, which is necessary for any left administration which wants to make any real changes.

This is an intellectual crisis and a crisis of democratic politics. Intellectual, because the left is losing its ability to diagnose problems and its sense of purpose in dealing with them. Democratic, because people are losing faith in the political process as a way of making our lives better.

Woe is me.