The most extraordinary (and arguably most disastrous) change in the political landscape in the past century has been the social revolution that has occurred within the political parties of the Left.
In 1945 Ben Chifley became Labor Prime Minister of Australia. Chifley was the son of a blacksmith and he became an engine driver in the New South Wales Railways. He was the solidly working-class leader of a solidly working-class party.
Chifley was defeated at the 1949 election. It would be 23 years before Australia had another Labor Prime Minister. In 1972 Gough Whitlam achieved that distinction. Whitlam was a lawyer from a privileged background. He was the solidly elitist leader of a party already well on the way to becoming an elitist political party. In 1972 Labor still retained vestiges of its past as a working-class democratic socialist party. Today the last traces of that past have long since disappeared.
The same process has occurred in the British Labour Party and in the Democratic Party in the US. The leaderships are entirely elitist in outlook. They not only have no interest in the working class, they actively (and increasingly openly) feel contempt for the working class. They advance the interests of people like themselves – fellow members of the elite. There is only one group whom they despise even more than the working class – the few remaining remnants of the old school Left within their own parties. Not that there are many left – if you are an old school leftist your chances of a political career within these supposedly left-wing parties are just about zero.
The treatment meted out to Bernie Sanders is a good indication of the chances of an actual leftist in a modern leftist party. While it’s true that the current leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, does hold some old school leftist beliefs he was elected by the rank and file much against the wishes of the Labour Party establishment (who will do everything within their power to destroy him).
What all this means is that in practice there is no longer any political opposition. The mainstream parties all support globalism and crony capitalism. They all despise anybody who is not a member of the elites. They all work to further the interests of the same class, the class to which they all belong. On economic policy there are simply no genuine differences between the parties. There is no debate on real economic issues.
This is an extremely unhealthy situation to say the least.
When economic policy is no longer a subject for debate failed economic policies go unchallenged. Even those who disagree strongly with the old school socialists should be concerned by this.
There are no real differences between the major parties on social issues either. They all welcome identity politics because it provides a convenient smokescreen for their disastrous economic policies. They pretend to differ slightly on social issues but this is quite simply a fraud. The “leftist” parties (which have abandoned leftism) want a complete social revolution right now. The “conservative” parties think we should move more slowly. They want a complete social revolution as well but think it should be delayed at least until next week.
It is quite likely that most people under the age of 50 have no idea that the Australian Labor Party, the British Labour Party and the US Democrats used to have actual socialist policies and, more startlingly, used to be solidly socially conservative.
This political revolution has simply passed unnoticed.