Archive for May, 2016

Trump’s Triumph, Corbyn’s Muddling On, Drugs not Working

Trump’s Card a Losing One

Trump’s only gone and done it. He’s decimated his opponents in the Republican camp and is now the presumptive GOP nominee. There are a few (wise) commentators saying that he may even go on to win. The process so far has been bizarre beyond belief that this horrifying prospect can’t be ruled out. But it is unlikely. Look at 2008 and 2012. President Obama’ election and re-election have shown us that the electoral demographics have changed significantly since the Reagan hey-day. It is no longer possible to be elected by angry white men. There aren’t enough white voters without college degrees to elect Trump. Black voters aren’t going to go for the Manhattan goon. While he probably could run Hillary a lot closer than the more optimistic Democratic pundits are suggesting, he’s still going to lose. But even if she wins by a 48-50 state clean sweep or takes 55 to 57% of the vote, it means tens of millions of Americans voting for a racist ignoramus. The withdrawal of Ted Cruz means Trump can start making some PR hires and consultants to help him move to the Centre. It may be much too late to convince many in the Republican Party. For Paul Ryan, both Bush Presidents, the vast majority of Congressional GOP representatives and conservative talking heads, Trump is either seen as un-electable or beyond the pale. There is an irony to this. The Republican Establishment encouraged the growth of Tea Party know-nothingsism by caving in to the wing-nuts. Now, the lunatics have truly taken over the establishment. Trump won’t win in 2016. But he will make America worse again over the coming months. For a country that prides itself as one of the cradles of modern democracy, there is something profoundly wrong about a system that allows such a thug to get so far in the race to the White House.

Corbynista Denial

Jeremy Corbyn can claim that last week’s test of the electorate was a good result. No it wasn’t. A British Labour party should be racking up hundreds of gains in the local elections, not making a small net loss. The results in Scotland were grim. The Conservatives are now the official opposition in Hollyrood. That’s how far the SNP have outmaneuvered Labour. There was a zero bounce for Corbyn in Scotland. The victory of Sadiq Khan in the London Mayoral vote came from a strong candidate who distanced himself from the Labour leadership. This writer doesn’t hold with many on the Soft Left that Jeremy Corbyn is wrong on every issue. He is thoroughly unelectable as a Prime Minister though and the sooner Her Majesty’s Opposition come to their senses and depose him, the better. Sadly, this looks like being later rather than sooner. He will trundle on as a General despised by his Officers but loved by his troops. He is a hero of the Regressive Left who hold with the 100 year strategy for political gradualism. And who benefits? The Conservative Party, that’s who. The same Tory Party that’s in a state of civil war over Europe. Yet, friends of Jeremy would rather go down in flames than face political realities. Even if the Conservatives implode after the June referendum, the Labour Party is ill-placed to capitalise on such an internal collapse. There’s not a lot to be optimistic about.

Drugs Dilemma 

The ‘war on drugs’ must be one of the longest and most unsuccessful wars of all times. The arguments are well rehearsed; both pro and anti-legalisation hold to their shibboleths to their hearts and heads. There are strong moral and policy grounds for maintaining the law and order approach. If tobacco were discovered tomorrow, with what we know now, there would be no health grounds for licensing it. And that is the argument that legalisers have to defend. Are they saying that as long as it’s legal and sold under license, we shouldn’t care about those who become addicted to the product? But the central point of those advocating change holds strong. The sheer cost of the ‘war’, the loss of life, the growth of criminal cartels, the corrupting of public officials with narco-money, all these have been an appalling drain on human and financial capital over the last forty years. Legalisation isn’t a magic wand but it would have the immediate effect of de-criminalising users of both hard and soft drugs and the concomitant removal of that cohort from the criminal justice system. Vast swathes of American and European society have been scourged by heroin, crack; it may be too late for that lost generation. The hardest part of legalising the trade is the recognition that that there will be new addicts with the resulting social problems for individuals and families. But it would be better than what we have now; a war without end.



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