Where have all the social dems gone?

Yesterday I saw a tweet from Ed Miliband, leader of the British Labour Party, urging Scots to vote “no” on the independence referendum. Most Britons (or should I say Englanders?), left and right, have been hoping that the Scots will stay. Is Miliband’s plea coming from a sincere belief that the “Better Together” campaign represents true social democracy? Or is it coming from a fear of the diminished status of a smaller UK? Or is he simply a mouthpiece for the bankers who are now running pretty much everything in the West? Specifically, here’s his retweet of the Labour Party post:

Miliband Labour scaremongering

Miliband Labour scaremongering

So, Miliband is saying that Scotland would lose the commercial banks that have wrecked the economy of the West through their irresponsible and criminal behavior, caused massive unemployment, and shifted incredible amounts of wealth from average citizens to the 1%. Is that something that Scots should be fearing— that the cancer would up and walk away from Scotland? I’m quite sure Mr. Miliband, that if there’s money to be made in Scotland, the banksters will be on the spot with a smile. The entire “No independence” campaign has been embarrassing.  The primary tactic is to make Scots afraid of a future without London. The same scare tactic has been used in every country that broke from the crown, including the U.S. “Is it worth the risk”? is the question they’re asking.  Let’s rephrase that. “Is having the right to control your future really that important? Isn’t it better to just let London tell you what to do?” Signs for the Better Together campaign politely read, “No, thanks”, as if to say, “thanks for asking me if I want freedom, but no thanks, I don’t want to think for myself”. Even the TV spot that they ran last week has everyone shaking their heads as the woman in the video says, “My Paul wants to know if I’ve made a decision on how I’ll vote. But I’m busy and there’s only so many hours in a day”. That’s right, she has to cook oatmeal for the children. She really doesn’t have time to think about the future of her country; that’s mens’ business. Take a look #PatronisingBTLady for a funny, but sad, look at the Better Together argument.nothanks

Another facet of the BT campaign has been to accuse the Yes voters of being right wing xenophobes like the National Front in France or Jobbik in Hungary. But of course, the driving motivation of those parties is a hatred of Muslims, Romas, and Jews. There is no comparison between the extreme Right and the Yes voters in Scotland. The Scots just want their autonomy. Because the BT campaign has no substantial arguments against Scottish independence, they’ve cooked up these bizarre accusations. What the BT campaign should be saying is, “If you want your independence, that’s fine. We respect that. If you vote “yes” on Thursday, we hope that you will join us in coalition for our mutual defense and any other projects that we can do better together.” Isn’t that what Better Together should mean?


One has to wonder what has happened to Labour. Whatever virus they have contracted, it appears that the French Parti Socialiste has contracted it as well. Yesterday, French parliament gave a thumbs-up to the Socialist government to go forward with a plan to cut corporate taxes by €50B and pay for it by cutting social services by the same amount. The business-friendly socialist finance minister (now that’s an interesting creature) Manuel Valls believes it will spur jobs growth. Perhaps he should take a look at how repeated corporate tax reductions in America have created NO jobs, but have made Wall Street incredibly wealthy. The wealth disparity in the U.S. is now comparable to what it was in the 1800’s during the era of the robber barons. There are two things that creates jobs. One, increased government spending on things like highways, schools, health care. Two, put more money into the pockets of consumers by increasing wages. Discounts to billionaires is not one of those things. Social democratic parties do themselves no favors by courting the rich. As the voters realize what you’re doing, they will abandon you. French newspapers report that as many as 30 Socialist MPs abstained from yesterday’s confidence vote rather than support their own party in such scandalous behavior. What is the message that the PS is sending to the people? If you are concerned with your health, education, pension, and the future of your nation, you should switch to the Communist Party.  This is the wrong message!

Social democracy has a great and true tradition of working for the welfare of all citizens, not just 1% of the citizens. Social democratic parties such as Labour, PS, and SPD, must look at their roots and basic guiding principles and come back to the left. The same is true for the U.S. Democratic Party. Let us not be afraid of the New Deal. Let us not be afraid of “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. Let us not be afraid, period.



3 thoughts on “Where have all the social dems gone?

  1. It seems that there is a historical prejudice of Americans against the UK that doesn’t let them judge things properly. Labour said no to the independence of Scotland because it is a way to let Scots be dragged into nationalism, which is one of the nightmares we Europeans try to forget. On the other hand, social democracy is also about limiting the effect of borders between peoples, not establishing new ones. No, no, the debate is not between bankers and Scottish freedom fighters, it is between reactionary nationalism and progressive internationalism. I know it is difficult to see from America, but our reality is not so simple as it looks.

  2. As a former colony of the Crown you are probably right that we harbor some anti-UK sentiment. But I would say that we are nonetheless closer to the UK than we are to any other country.
    We are aware of the growing nationalism in Europe. I just returned from Budapest, where the fascist party Jobbik has a significant presence. In France the support for the FN has cooled a little, but they will be back after they learn to how to hide their true intentions. However, I never perceived the Scottish independence movement to be anything akin to these extreme right wing parties. If it is, the Vote Yes leaders did an incredible job of hiding it. They claimed they were seeking more autonomy for all the residents of Scotland, regardless of their color, origin, or ethnicity. This message was received positively by almost half of all Scots, and 75% of the under-30 Scots. It was only the seniors, who are naturally inclined everywhere to be cautious of change, who allowed the Better Together campaign to succeed. Labour’s concern seemed to be more about its diminished status in the world than what’s best for Scots. This has hurt them in Scotland where their party membership is in decline since the vote.
    Social Dems should be advocating for every individual in the world to have a voice— a say in his or her future. If Labour believes that, they did a lousy job of showing it.

  3. The Democratic Party has been taken over by Wall Street and the national security apparatus. Look at the government’s response to the worst economic suffering since the Great Depression – huge bail outs for Wall Street, without any large scale public works or jobs programs for Main Street. Free trade agreements supported by both major parties have caused huge job losses as production moves overseas to low-wage sweatshop countries. The DP’s solution to the healthcare crisis? Stealing Romney’s plan to make people buy insurance from for-profit insurance companies known for their shady business practices. Likewise, instead of restoring Americans’ constitutional rights after Bush’s illegal suspensions, the Obama administration has expanded warrantless surveillance and continued mass searches at airports and at internal roadblocks, where citizens are detained and searched without any probable cause to suspect that a law has been violated. I don’t think working through the DP is realistic anymore, and it certainly doesn’t educate the public about democratic alternatives to capitalism. I think SDUSA should reach out to other parties, like the Green Party, Reform Party, Justice Party, Libertarian Party, etc. and form a coalition to win back control of the government so that it serves the interests of the American people.

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