Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Jordan gets it

Thinking about the difference in interest between the debates on marriage equality and the minimum wage, Jordan Carter has a "eureka!" moment: people have stopped caring about economic issues because politicians have systematically depoliticised them:

For the past thirty years, decisions by our Parliament have been marginal to the economic progress of the nation - and deliberately so. Government has withdrawn itself in so many ways from economic life. In pursuit of an ideology now proved false in the only testing ground that counts (the real world), the state got out of the way.

The public ideology of and debates around economic policy have been about the primacy of the market, and subordination of politics. The market, a cold abstraction nobody could see or argue with, would make the calls. It was our job as people to do what its highly paid messengers and managers would say.

Think about that.

Is it any wonder that most people don't think political action can make a difference on so-called "bread and butter" issues - when for so many years they've been told just that?

(Unmentioned: the politicians depoliticising these issues by not challenging market dogma? They've been Labour politicians. This is Labour's failure here, pure and simple)

Apparently, he'd never made this connection before. Clearly, he hadn't read this post, or this one or this one, which make a similar point: as Labour has given up offering economic change, their voters have given up on Labour.

The good news is that there are some signs of change: Labour is talking about taking a more interventionist role in the economy, and about serious moves to improve worker's rights and increase job security. OTOH, they're also promising to raise the retirement age - so clearly the attitude that they must grovel to the markets still prevails.