The Coronavirus and the failings of populism

daryanblog

covid-19-europe-620x280

So like me, I suspect most readers have by now been confined by Covid. But I think its important we understand how we got here. I enquired in a prior post as to whether dumb anti-vax, climate change denying populism was more or less dangerous than the Covid-19 virus. Well it would appear both have teamed up to create a complete sh&t show. Italy’s death tool now exceeds that of China’s (that’s what happens when you put anti-vacciers in charge of your healthcare!). Populism in Italy is literally killing people.

It starts off with denial. Be in the local officials in Wuhan Provence who didn’t want to make waves, the racists in Italy claiming it was a Chinese problem, or the likes of Trump claiming it was no worse than the flu (which is simply not the case, there’s a big difference between a annual winter flu bug and…

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About daryan12

Engineer, expertise: Energy, Sustainablity, Computer Aided Engineering, Renewables technology
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10 Responses to The Coronavirus and the failings of populism

  1. stock says:

    This is SARs, and China tried to cover it up, just like in 2002.

    It was the idiot leftists in Italy spouting the “hug a Chinese person” meme, and failing to take effective action.

    • daryan12 says:

      A bioweapon that only kills 2%, spreads slowly and has minimal effect on those of military age is about as useless a form of such a weapon as you can think of. So no, its not a cover-up.

      The provinces of Italy most severely effected are run by the Northern-League (facists not leftists) and part of the reason for the high death toll, aside from the fact that the league are anti-Vax types (not unlike Trump), but that most of the early clusters involved boomer age people (i.e. the sort of people who vote for the league, about as right wing as you can get). Also the local government in these regions was very slow to react and prejudice against Chinese and the view this was a Chinese problem is another contributory factor to what’s happening in Italy.

  2. the loud american says:

    Daryan, these days you sound like some kind of US seaboard-centrist columnist – bemoaning every mistake made under the explain-all umbrella of ‘populism’. Why didn’t you call it “coronavirus and the failings of technocratic neoliberalism”? The way I see it from here in the US, once Italy picks up the pieces they’ll be blaming the EU as much if not more than their current leaders (who at least were (last time I checked) showing some half-modicum of chuzpah refusing another euro-loan and advocating collective debt). What the hell is the purpose of a European “union” if it won’t actually help the hardest-hit places in their hours of need? For the sake of their health and their own damn dignity, I sure hope they crash out and refuse all remaining EU debt with extreme prejudice.

    • daryan12 says:

      I’m not against left wing policy, I normally vote Greens, labour or SNP. Ya neo-liberalism doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean you get to fill in the blanks with whatever fairy story most appeals to you.

      So the health crisis in Italy is the EU’s fault? Okay we’ll ignore the fact healthcare is a devolved matter to the nation state (or in Italy, the local regional government). We’ll also ignore how other EU states (some of them poorer than Italy, just let by people who aren’t badsh&t crazy) have handled this crisis alot better than Italy. We’ll also ignoret that victims of this crisis in Italy have been flown into other EU nations hospitals (my sister is doctor treating them as we speak). But don’t let pesky little facts get in the way of a good fantasy.

      This is my problem with some on the left today. They seem to be more interested in illogical purity. They have prioritised winning an ideological battle with the rest of the left over, well maybe winning an election and kicking Trump/Boris out of power. Corbyn is a classical example. He made all the same mistakes Foot made and predictably lost to the Tories by a landslide. And ironically he still doesn’t get it. He’s been going around since then claiming he “won the argument” (an election he lost by a historic margin).

      He and his supporters seemed to be more interested in being some sort of martyr for socialism than actually helping ordinary working class people (some of whom are now literally dying of coronanvirus). Is it any wonder they abandoned him. Is it equally any surprise Sanders got hung out too dry. Those who fail to learn the lessons of history, shall be forever condemned to repeat those mistakes.

      • the loud american says:

        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-leak-report-corbyn-election-whatsapp-antisemitism-tories-yougov-poll-a9462456.html

        It’s more damning than the DNC leaks from 2016. And I’m sitting here fully prepared for it to all somehow (sarcasm) be the fault of Russia and/or Corbyn. It seems what you accuse Corbyn supporters of is similar to what was actually being practiced by the right wing of the party staffers. Except instead of attempting to win a battle of ideology out in the open, they were attempting to use their bureaucratic/institutional standings to manipulate the outcome and prevent further debate. Given what it reveals about their priorities, I don’t think you can blame the left of the party for having the other-side-of-the-coin of that stance.

        Btw I never mean to imply that people should just “fill in the blanks”. I’m very glad we have professionals providing guidance in the current events – of course we want doctors in charge of a pandemic response, for example; and leaders who listen to them. It’s a key distinction, because the record has shown that meriticratic professionals are often mediocre leaders. For example, if the EU falls apart because the northern countries keep listening to economists (who are generally much worse at their job than doctors), no amount of Phds in chemistry will make that anything other than a failure of leadership.

      • daryan12 says:

        Not really a surprise, the right wing media made a mountain out of a mole hill (while ignoring the institutional racism within the Tories, UKIP and the royal family). They had it in for Corbyn from day one, not even news. Then again, they’ve played the same game with every labour leader, even Tony Blair had his run in’s with the press.

        However, if Corbyn couldn’t get his own party to unite around him, then he was kind of doomed from the start. This is I think what many the other side of the Atlantic failed to understand, how massively unpopular he was in much of the UK. Ya about half the labour party thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but the other half knew (from numerous conversations with constituents) that going into an election with him in charge was suicide. The election material that arrived on my door during any of the elections did not mention Corbyn’s name once, because they knew what a turn off he was to most voters.

        And I think the damage he might have done to the left could well prove fatal. Many of the seats they’ve lost in the north, they are unlikely to get back. It would now require a 1997 scale swing in support for labour for them to just get back in with a small majority. Realistically best they can hope for is a coalition with the other centrist and left wing parties. So explain to me how wrecking your own party for a generation, such that they will now have to ditch many of their more left wing policies just to survive, giving the Tories absolute power for at least another 5 years (in which time Scotland and NI might leave and the Tories are talking about changing constituencies and bringing in voter ID laws), how does that count as progress?

        Corbyn was an absolute disaster and if he’s looking for who to blame for that, he need only look in a mirror.

  3. the loud american says:

    So long story short, your view is that when labour staffers tried to make Corbyn lose in 2017, it was Corbyn’s fault for getting elected to lead the party. Like I said…interesting what this reveals about some people’s priorities.

    Btw I do have some sense of Corbyn’s unpopularity. I also suspect that the center of the party deliberately put him in an impossible situation for 2019. Here’s what I suspect happened – admitting limited knowledge of the UK, so feel free to correct me:

    Blairites saw that with the 2017 election after the referendum, running “what’s done is done, let’s do it right” on Brexit probably made it a smaller issue & allowed labour to focus on anti-austerity, which appeared to work relatively well. So it looks like the center wing of labour purposefully made Brexit as big an issue as possible by feeding remainers the fantasy of a 2nd referendum. Once the rest of the party had succeeded in making Brexit the #1 issue, it made Corbyn’s nominally neutral stance look ridiculous. So the 2019 election was about Brexit. Contrary to remainer fantasies, Brexit is actually still pretty popular in the UK, so labour lost. Yes, I suspect that to some significant extent, Blairites engineered this sequence deliberately/strategically after they realized how ineffective the tactical staffer responses were in 2017. Clearly they wanted labour to lose, this was the more-effective way to do it.

    I suspect that Corbyn’s mistakes in all of this were:
    -Allowing the 2017-2019 shift in focus back to Brexit to occur at all. Apparently dealing with this would have required a massive purge of Corbyn-hating staffers, but that may have been necessary. Either that or openly supporting Brexit.
    -Failing to dismiss the anti-semitism “scandal” as anything other than what it clearly was – a completely contrived/phony nothing-burger cooked up by his political enemies. If there’s anything I’ve seen from both sides of the pond, leftists need to learn to stop apologizing for themselves and/or their supporters in the face of bad-faith woke-shaming attempts by the neoliberal center.*

    From the US, I can state as a fact that the American woke-shaming “scandal” thrown at Bernie ( phony outrage over the Joe Rogan endorsement) was fully contrived/bad-faith.

    • daryan12 says:

      This report is less a bombshell and more of a Nunes memo. Corbyn asked one of his long term allies, who’d always complained about Blairites conspiring against the dear leader, to write a report. And low and behold, she wrote one which had Blairites conspiring behind every bush. Clearly Corbyn and his supporters want to burn the house down as they leave. I mean god forbid someone takes over labour and then actually wins an election!

      As I recall pointing out in mu blog, Corbyn’s approval ratings have been terrible right from the start of his term, largely because he was notorious in British politics for all of the wrong reasons. The only reason labour weren’t annihilated in the 2017 election was because Theresa May was terrible. Her main voting base is old people and she came out, in the campaign, with the promise of a dementia tax. Also there were a number of other factors that swung things labours way, it was a wet morning (depressing the grey vote), a few Tory remainers retired (giving labour a clear run at their seats), the lid dems didn’t run a good campaign either. It was really something of a fluke, yet labour still lost!

      Now the sensible thing for Corbyn to do after that was, realise he’d dodged a bullet, bow out gracefully, get someone younger on the left of the party, but more electable in the job (such as Angela Rayner or Jess Philips, rather than his pick Rebecca Wrong Failing) and maybe they might have stood a chance in 2019 (the Tories have privately conceded that they would very much worry about taking on either of these two, or Keir Starmer, in an election). But no, how can you be the cult of the one true Corbyn without a Corbyn. He was more interested in being some sort of socialist martyr and winning some sort of ideological argument with the rest of the left than actually trying to stop the Tories.
      And btw he’s a brexiteer, even though 90% of the labour party supports remain.

      And I’d say the same applies to Magic Grandpa over in the US. Berine, after helping getting Trump elected back in 2016, he should have focused on getting someone younger, with more of wider appeal as the leader of his movement. And who knows, maybe they’d be on the ticket now rather than Mr Vanilla. But again how can you be the cult of the one true Bernie without a Bernie.

      Maybe you lot and the Corbyn supporters should just quit politics and form your own religion, the church of the magic grandpa. The socialist martyr, the maimed socialist, who died on the dispatch box, so that we might fantasise about what might have been, rather than have to accept reality.

      • daryan12 says:

        Oh and btw, I’m calling Joe Biden Mr Vanilla from now on. Because its basically now a choice between a soggy value brand vanilla flavoured ice-lolly, or a sh*t flavoured one (which Trump claims is actually chocolate chip), with a Coronavirus topping.

      • daryan12 says:

        Also here’s a clip from a focus group prior to the 2019 election of former labour members on why they aren’t voting labour, number 1 reason – Corbyn

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