The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has announced an election. Buoyed up by the success of Mr Erdogan, Mrs May will follow him to go full-on Putin. Politics all around what used to be called the West is a conflict between the people and the moneyed elites, who use right wing populism to gain power, for a programme that will involve destruction of public spending except on weapons, and the end of legal protection of workers, consumers and the environment. Mr Trump is moving this programme forward in the US, such as with a drugs policy which will increase mass incarceration of ethnic minorities, though his attempt to withdraw health care from those the Affordable Care Act granted insurance was foiled.
Democracy is under threat across NATO countries. Russia seeks to destabilise us with fake news, sock-puppet tweets, facebook shares and comments, and hacking of progressive political parties. Billionaires buy politicians to reduce regulations on billionaires, increasing their freedom to pollute, shove up rents, and despoil the biosphere.
In the British election, with first past the post votes for single-member constituencies, I will vote Labour. Labour has a chance in my constituency to unseat the hard-right nationalist who is standing for the Conservative party, formerly thought to be a centre-right party but now wholly in the hands of the anti-democratic hard right lie machine. Tactics the BNP used twenty years ago, the Conservatives use now, with the difference that at least the BNP promised its supporters council houses. The Conservatives offer nothing but higher taxes on workers, higher rents for the benefit of international investors, and the destruction of public services. For example, they incite hatred of immigrants, but admit they will not reduce immigration after Brexit.
The Right attempts to demonise a “Liberal elite”. Well, globalisation will not favour workers over rentiers, but with strong democratic control it can be managed. We could tax multi-national companies, and reduce the curse of transfer pricing and opaque offshore companies with no clear ownership. Better a liberal elite than a moneyed elite.
The Right, offering nothing, has good slogans. “Take back control,” they said, and a small majority voted for them. They will reduce regulations protecting us, and increase surveillance on us claiming to protect us from an almost entirely imaginary terrorist threat. In Britain, Get Rid Of Them: find the party most likely to defeat the Conservative, and campaign for it. In France, probably Mr Macron is the most sane candidate. Mr Putin’s lie machine working against him is the best indicator I have.
Mr Trump’s flotilla steams towards North Korea, which will destroy Seoul in a murder-suicide rather than surrender. The world has gone mad. But there is something I can do: campaign for Labour in my own constituency.