For years now, the split between left and right has been blurred. The left has classically tried to improve the lot of the poorer in society, and the right is classically focused on the economy – often said to help the richest. But the line, in the eyes of the electorate, has always been blurry.
Never has that been more true than today. Whilst the US fought the economic collapse with more sensible, Keynesian economic policy – investment – the UK simply gave in and tightened up. They cut spending, introduced ‘austerity’, and left the poorest clinging onto society by their fingertips. Physically disabled and chronically unwell people suddenly having benefits ripped away, and a fight for jobs so aggressive that big corporate employers have been the only beneficiaries. The poor shouldn’t have borne the brunt of the collapse, but they did.
Why did we put up with it? Well, the media told us that tightening the finances was the only way – economists disagree, so the politicians and media embarked on a crusade against experts. And for those of us who disagreed even then, they started pulling at our fear of outsiders instead. ‘You may not like our economic policy’, they argued, ‘but surely you are scared of foreigners – they stole your jobs’? And so, a part truth – immigrants are also applying for jobs, so of course some of them get jobs – mixed with the economic lie triumphed. Politicians were not interested in truth, but followed their own dogma, and convinced us to follow it by appealing to our most basic of human fears – of outsiders, of losing our jobs.
This week, of course, we learnt that the US is in fact no different. Donald Trump successfully divided a nation, turned out white men, and many white women, to vote against everyone else. 92% of black voters voted against him, which tells you all you need to know. And his arguments – on immigration, on corruption, even attacking the media, which is one of his biggest assets – were diversions from the truth. So, once again, a political leader managed to get people to vote against their own interests – in favour of free market capitalism instead of employment rights and investment in jobs – by appealing to almost completely irrelevant fears in the electorate. He also did it largely against the machinery of his own political party, which tells you how greatly politics has changed in the past few years.
The left, as always, fought back by tempering their message. They say they want to help the poorest, but they temper their message to get more favourable media coverage. As a result, we see the left give in on immigration in the UK – we saw the Labour party host merchandise with slogans about immigration controls – we see the left in the US give up on gun control, something that evidence from everywhere else in the world is very clear about. And we see the leaders on the left – people like Hilary Clinton – need so much financial and media backing, that they basically have a people-friendly public personality, and a fund-raising private one. Donald Trump needed to not worry, as he wasn’t toeing such a tight line between fiction and reality, donors and private. People were not surprised by his personal scandals, because they believed in his message and never based support on being people-friendly.
The left, thus, is fatally broken. We have gotten to a stage where even the lowest of tactics didn’t work. Even the most compromising of positions didn’t work. Depending on the country, we have given up on immigrants, we have given up on minorities, we have given up on women’s rights, we have given up on all of these things because they aren’t popular with the electorate. How will they ever become so if we give up on them? And how we will ever progress them if we step back on something new every year. That’s not progress, it’s fast becoming a twisted, ineffective attempt at pragmatism.
So I’m done with the political left, we now need reason in politics. We don’t need Hilary Clinton telling enough people what they want to hear to stop Donald Trump ruining the country for 4 years. We need someone telling the truth – all of the truth – listening to experts, debating and explaining honest, rational policy. We don’t need politicians, we need reason. We need scientists, philosophers, people with common sense and an ability to see logic – we don’t need to appeal to people’s basic fears, or people who test well with voters (we have the most voter-unfriendly president in history!). We need to voters to understand how their fears are being manipulated, and what the government are actually doing. How the media works, and how it’s inability to remain neutral fails democracy.
The left can’t do it anymore. They have been the establishment for too long, they’ve compromised too much, and even the far left – the likes of the Greens – take on so many anti-rational issues (like opposing GMOs, or economic growth) to appease their own supporters that there really isn’t any point.
The future is in reason and progress, and that can only come through honesty and education. In schools and workplaces, to the media and through social media. On the day after Lego became the first company to refuse to fund ads in the Daily Mail, as a way to stop the hate in our media, the ground is becoming fertile for politically successful reason. We desperately need a second enlightenment and now is the time.
My suggestion? The Party of Reason and Progress has gained 11,000 supporters over 4 days. We have quickly set up groups and pages in each country, and already amassed a massive 5,000 volunteers. We are already more active on social media than the greens. That’s after 4 days. People are desperate for something new, something to unite the political and non-political classes; change that doesn’t involve discrimination or regression to darker days. That change can only be with reason, and it has to be us. All of us.
The first enlightenment didn’t need the media, or political machinery. Trump just proved that you don’t need it today either. We have been going for 4 days, imagine what we can accomplish in 4 years, where we will be in 8.
Join us, volunteer with us, be in the first wave to help change the world.