The 2016 Federal Election: The Dupe Campaign
The introduction of a super-profit mining tax regime under the former Rudd and Gillard Australian Labor Party (ALP) federal governments was categorized in previous Social Action Australia articles as a ‘dud tax’. As tempting as it may be to similarly categorize the Liberal Party’s 2016 federal election campaign as a ‘dud’, the more appropriate term might be that of a ‘duped campaign’.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was duped into running one of the worst election campaigns by a sitting government in recent Australian political history. The overriding reason why this occurred was because there was collusion at senior levels between the Liberal Party and ALP federal campaign HQs to produce the close election result. In this context Malcolm Turnbull was (and is) in a situation eerily similar to what John Howard found himself in 2007 and which Julia Gillard was in, in 2010: where there was collusion between the senior levels of the two major parties senior campaign HQs to engineer pre-determined election outcomes.
Similarly, a related and vital factor why John Howard lost the 2007 federal election was because of internal campaign sabotage. The 2007 election result and the collusion which had occurred between the two major parties’ campaigns set the scene where Prime Minister Gillard during the 2010 election campaign to declare that under a government she led, a carbon tax would never be introduced. Prime Minister Gillard knew that had she not made such a declaration then her electoral defeat would have been pre-engineered, just as Howard’s had been three years earlier.
Due to the collusion between the two major parties’ HQs Julia Gillard found herself leading a minority government between 2010 and 2013. Because of the perilous position that Prime Minister Gillard founder herself in, she had no choice but break her previous promise never to introduce a carbon tax.
The powerful mantra which Tony Abbot as Opposition Leader invoked that the carbon tax was ‘a bad tax based on a lie’ was such that had Julia Gillard stayed on as prime minister for the 2013 federal election, the ALP probably have suffered its worst federal election defeat in its history. For this reason, Julia Gillard gave way to Kevin Rudd as prime minister, whose brief return to power helped the ALP avoid an electoral wipe-out.
Regionalization: The Source of Electoral Collusion and Political Instability
The overriding reason for the political instability that has bedevilled Australia since 2007 has been the attempt by a shadowy inter-party elite to introduce a new regional tier of government at a federal constitutional level so that states can eventually be phased out.
Ironically, even though John Howard was one of Australia’s most centralist prime ministers (1996 to 2007) the Howard faction within the Liberal Party sabotaged both the then prime minister (Howard) and the then federal treasurer, Peter Costello, as Australia moved toward the November 2007 federal election. This was done on the basis so that the Liberal Party would have a relatively politically weak post-Howard federal leadership. Under such a scenario, a clique of federal politicians in collusion with state based factions within the Liberal Party believed that they would be in a strong position to determine how regionalization was phased in, in concert with a federal ALP cipher government led by Kevin Rudd.
That Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was a cipher leader whose primary role was to lay the foundation for regionalization was manifested by his signing the so-called Hospitals Agreement in April 2010 between the federal government and the five then state ALP governments and the two Labor territorial governments. The ostensible purpose of this agreement was to achieve efficiency in the health sector by ending the so-called’ blame game’ between the Commonwealth and the states when it came to hospitals service delivery.
However, the real purpose of the 2010 Health Agreement was to fatally undermine the states by having them cede one of their key responsibilities to Canberra. The fatal aspect (for states) of this inter-government agreement was that Goods and Services Taxation (GST) revenue earmarked for health spending would be clawed away from the states to be ceded to Canberra. Therefore, not only would the states have lost a key responsibility of theirs but with it, a major source of revenue. It therefore would not have been difficult to envisage future scenarios where other key areas of state responsibility, such as education, would have been transferred to the federal government along with the associated GST revenue.
The main reason why the ALP moved quickly to depose Kevin Rudd as prime minister in June 2010 at the instigation of Bill Shorten (who was then a parliamentary secretary) to install Julia Gillard in Rudd’s place was because the then federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner was moving to unfairly implicate Ms. Gillard for the excesses of the federal government’s former spending on school infrastructure programme which was called Building the Education Revolution (BER). Bill Shorten knew that with Julia Gillard (who was then the Education Minister) implicated and thereby politically eliminated by Tanner for the financial excesses of the BER that there would effectively be no barrier for him (i.e. Tanner) to subsequently either depose or ease Kevin Rudd out of power to become Australia’s next prime minister. To prevent Tanner from politically destroying Julia Gillard by revealing embarrassing details of how BER funds that had often been wasted, the ALP federal caucus in effect overwhelmingly drafted the then deputy prime minister (Gillard) into the prime ministership. Alas, all was not to be subsequently well for Australia because the collusive anti-state elements within the two major parties were able to engineer the outcome of the August 2010 federal election in which there was a hung parliament. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Tony Abbott did not really want to form a minority government following the 2010 poll. This was because Abbott knew that a politically vulnerable prime minister would be politically coerced into breaking her pledge regarding the introduction of a carbon tax so that Ms. Gillard would lead the ALP to the worst federal electoral rout in its history by the time of the 2013 federal election.
The politically vulnerable position that Prime Minister Gillard was in was reflected by legislating in her last days in office at the instigation of anti-state elements within the ALP a constitutional referendum recognising local government in the Commonwealth Constitution so that a new tier of regional government could be established to fatally undermine the role of states. It was in this context, that Kevin’s Rudd’s brief return to the prime ministership (June to September 2013) was a relative blessing in disguise because he deliberately refrained from holding the referendum on local government recognition in the Australian Constitution.
Abbott Adheres to The Anti-Menzies Tradition of John Howard
That Tony Abbott never held a constitutional referendum on local government recognition when he was prime minister (2013-2015) was reflective of the fact that he was never really ideologically in sync with his party because most Liberal Party federal parliamentarians were (in contrast to Abbott) liberal in the political tradition of two of Australia’s three greatest prime ministers: Alfred Deakin and Sir Robert Menzies. (The other great Australian prime minister was the ALP’s Andrew Fisher). These two statesmen adhered to a politically liberal tradition which respected industrial arbitration, a mixed economy and states’ rights.
Abbott by contrast falls within the neo-liberal political tradition of prime ministers Sir George Reid and John Howard. Reid (who was a 1900’s political leader) and Howard were two determined opponents of industrial arbitration and of government intervention to promote a mixed economy. Howard was therefore an ideological aberration within the traditions of the Liberal Party so that he plunged his party into turmoil during his first stint as party leader between 1985 and 1989. Never Howard’s leadership helped lay the groundwork for the super-economic rationalist Dr. John Hewson to lead the coalition to a catastrophic election defeat in March 1993.
That Howard was able to smoothly regain his party’s leadership in January 1995 so that he could consequently win the March 1996 federal election by harnessing the strong anti-Keating public sentiment was due to the political skills of Peter Costello. The successes of the Howard/Costello government were also due to Peter Costello’s achievements of paying off the public foreign debt and of eliminating the budget deficit. The loyalty which Costello gave to Howard was also an important contributing factor as to why the federal coalition was politically effective during its period of government between 1996 and 2007.
If the success of the Howard/Costello government can be attributed to the leadership co-operation between its two main figures, then an important reason for the demise of this government in 2007 was because of Howard’s refusal to reciprocate the loyalty which Costello had shown him by his stepping down as prime minister after two parliamentary terms as they had agreed in early 1995. Indeed, Howard might have avoided the maxim of the late British politician Enoch Powell that all political careers end in failure had he honoured the succession plan that he had previously made with Peter Costello.
As it was ironically to be, the Howard faction of the Liberal Party in 2007 moved against Howard so that a Rudd ALP government would introduce regionalization. Peter Costello shrewdly refused to fall into the trap of deposing John Howard as leader on the eve of the November 2007 election so that he (Costello) would go down in history as both the nation’s longest serving treasurer and one of its shortest serving prime ministers.
Howard himself might have overcome the internal sabotage of the 2007 election campaign had he not broken faith with Australian employees by passing the so-called Work Choices (No Choices) legislation in late 2005. The passage of the No Choices legislation alienated too many Australians who might otherwise have provided Howard with a protective buffering against internal campaign sabotage that he still could have won the2007 federal election.
The corporations’ power of the Australian Constitution was utilized to establish a new industrial bargaining regime which effectively eliminated overtime and penalty rates while placing restrictions on what unions or employee representatives could negotiate. It was greatest political mistake in Peter Costello’s career (besides perhaps trusting Howard to honour their succession plan) that he not only did not oppose No Choices but that he supported this reprehensive industrial legislation.
Musical Chairs: The Post-2007 Liberal Leadership
The then federal Treasurer nevertheless brilliantly formulated a new succession plan on the eve of the 2007 election that Howard would step down during the period of the next parliamentary term should the coalition have won that year’s federal poll. Even though Peter Costello was in a position to succeed to the federal leadership of the Liberal Party following the coalition’s pre-determined 2007 election defeat he refused to do so because he was psychologically ‘got at’ by Liberal parliamentarians who had previously undermined Howard as prime minister.
With Peter Costello out of the running for Liberal leadership the expectation then was that Malcolm Turnbull would have been elected as the new Opposition Leader. However, the Howard faction (which was by then actually anti-Howard) rallied to ensure that the former defence minister, Brendan Nelson was narrowly elected as Opposition Leader over Malcolm Turnbull. Due to Brendan Nelson’s abysmal poll results, an expectation developed that this Opposition Leader would eventually make way for Peter Costello who had in the meantime gone to the backbench.
The former federal treasurer however knew that having previously denied him the party leadership (except when setting him up for a fall on the eve of the 2007 poll) that the Liberal Partyroom would not have allowed him to have made it as leader by the time of the next federal election. Consequently, with Peter Costello not standing for leader, Malcolm Turnbull was able to win the Liberal leadership by deposing Brendan Nelson by a narrow margin in September 2008.
Malcolm Turnbull might have been able to have stayed on as Opposition Leader to contest the 2010 federal election had he not declared his support for the continuance of states. Due to Malcolm Turnbull’s strong support for Australian states the post-Howard faction did to him what they probably would have done to Peter Costello had he taken the Liberal leadership: they engineered his deposition as party leader. The early December 2009 leadership coup against Malcolm Turnbull was the most clinical and brilliantly executed, (if not devious) leadership change which has yet been engineered in Australian political history. Even though Malcolm Turnbull had gained prior partyroom approval for supporting the Rudd government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the anti-Turnbull plotters exploited negative polling results indicating public opposition to this environmental policy proposal to depose him as Liberal leader.
This audacious leadership coup (which only succeeded by a one-vote margin) might not have been successful had Joe Hockey deliberately split Malcolm Turnbull’s vote so that Tony Abbott would win the leadership. Having Tony Abbott as the new Liberal leader constituted a return to the Reid/Howard political tradition.
The irony of Tony Abbott been the Liberal Party leader was that he was leading a political party which he was ideologically at odds with. This was reflected by the swag of maiden speeches by coalition federal MPs following the opening of the 2010 parliament in which they defended the continuance of states. The subsequent actions of the Abbott government in proposing a cut off of unemployment benefits and the abandonment of industry policy so that the Australian car industry will be closed down by the end of 2017 reflected the extent to which this prime minister had betrayed and/or abandoned the Menzies/Mc Ewan legacy.
Why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Must Resist the Del-Con Agenda
An important reason therefore why the partyroom deposed Tony Abbott as prime minister in September 2015 in favour of Malcolm Turnbull was because the former was not ideologically in sync with the Liberal Party’s political traditions, particularly with regard to states’ rights. Malcolm Turnbull has demonstrated as prime minister that he is a genuine federalist by abolishing a high level government advisory panel which Abbott had set up to ultimately fatally undermine the states as part of a so-called ‘reform’ of the federation.
Indeed, Abbott now as a backbencher is placing pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ‘reform’ the federation by ending the waste which has supposedly been caused by duplication between the Commonwealth and state governments with regard to overlapping responsibilities. The former prime minister (Abbott) will undoubtedly agitate for the ‘reform’ of local government been recognised in the Australian Constitution as part of the process of ‘reforming’ the Constitution.
Although Abbott now disingenuously denies that he is a centralist, the impact constitutional recognition of local government would be to enable this tier of government to suck resources and funding over time from the states so that they (the states) would eventually be rendered obsolete. It therefore cannot be emphasised enough the vital importance of Prime Minister Turnbull and his coalition parliamentary colleagues resisting Abbott’s attempts to secure constitutional recognition of local government at a federal constitutional level
As important as it is for Malcolm Turnbull to resist (if not rescind the former Gillard government’s authorization of having a future referendum on federal local government recognition in the Constitution) Abbott’s advocacy of federal recognition of local government raises the broader questions of whether Prime Minister Turnbull will reconnect with the Menzies/Mc Ewan Tradition in which industrial arbitration is respected and a mixed economy is promoted to help facilitate full employment?
The current indications are that Prime Minister Turnbull will not have the requisite scope to return to the Menzies/Mc Ewan Tradition due to the consequences of his narrow one seat parliamentary majority because of this been duped by Liberal Party HQ into running a long and boring election campaign. Due to collusion between the Liberal Party and Labor Party HQs, this long election period provided the scope for Bill Shorten’s ‘Mediscare’ campaign to take effect. Furthermore, the prime minister’s mechanistic style in which he emphasised an ill-defined jobs plan only gave Bill Shorten’s Mediscare campaign credence.
Furthermore, the straight jacket which the Liberal Party HQ placed on party *candidates’ campaigns, served to increase the probability of there being a close election result. Indeed, the Liberal Party campaign identifying by name the lead senate candidates on minor party tickets of ostensibly who not to vote for actually helped Pauline Hanson win four senate seats.
(*The successful grass roots campaign of Julia Banks in the eastern Melbourne seat of Chisholm was an exception to the rule in that the Liberal Party HQ did not stifle initiative on the ground. The Banks campaign was the only instance of the 2016 federal election campaign where the Liberals actually won a seat from the ALP).
The criticism was made in the media that holding a Double Dissolution election would increase the chances of there being an expanded cross-bench. In actual fact the new electoral rules for senate voting which were introduced just prior to the election, were an example of the Greens been duped by Abbott Liberals who have been dubbed by the columnist Miranda Devine as the ‘Delusional Conservatives’ (Del- Cons). The Del-Cons are ensconced in the Liberal Party HQs with the political objective of undermining Malcolm Turnbull.
The Del-Cons Apply their Lasch Political Strategy
The ultimate Del- Con agenda is for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party to eventually become an electoral force so that a *Lasch political strategy of creating a new political force which can siphons votes away from the ALP (and even an unsuspecting National Party) to ultimately benefit the anti-states hard right of the Liberal Party. Unfortunately Malcolm Turnbull was duped by the Del-Cons within the administrative wing of the Liberal Party to call a Double-Dissolution election, the practical ramification of which was that Pauline Hanson was able to win four senate seats.
(* A Lasch political strategy has been defined and discussed in previous Social Action Australia articles. To briefly reiterate, this particular strategy in an Australian context involves appealing to the social conservatism of many economically vulnerable Australians so that they will vote for a populist right which will ultimately benefit the neo-liberals/Del-Cons within the Liberal Party).
Even though the prime minister had been duped into assisting Pauline Hanson win a senate seats by calling a Double Dissolution election this mistake was compounded by the new senate voting system. This is because by this legislation undermining the previous above the line preferencing system it became possible for the One Nation Party to win an extra three senate seats in addition to the Queensland senate seat Pauline Hanson was virtually bound to win. Whereas under the previous electoral system, even in a with a Double Dissolution election, the One Nation Party would have been hard pressed with Pauline Hanson as its lead senate candidate, to have won one senate seat in Queensland.
With the *One Nation Party now holding four senate seats as well as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Family First each having one senate seat the Del-Cons will place pressure on Prime Minister Turnbull to pass the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and the Registered Organisations Bill to facilitate anti-arbitration and anti-union agendas.
(*One Nation voters tend to be economically vulnerable so that attacks on Australian trade unions will not be well received by them. Senator Hanson can still stand up for economically vulnerable Australians by refusing to support an anti-employee industrial relations agenda. However, it looks as though Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) will be Del-Con dupes by supporting anti-trade union legislation).
It should be pointed out that it is ethically wrong of a government to seek to pass the above mentioned bills. With regard to the ABCC legislation it is unconscionable that Australian citizens would be denied their right to refuse answer questions and to have a legal representative present. Whatever industrial abuses may be occurring in the building and construction industry, the present legal system is more than adequately appropriate as reflected by the high number of criminal prosecutions which are currently been undertaken in that sector.
Similarly, the passage of the Registered Organisations Bill will facilitate an agenda where an external statutory organisation will have the potential capacity to undermine the regular and effective functioning of trade unions. Given the negative memories which the overwhelming majority of Australians had of the No Choices industrial relations regime, moves by the Turnbull government to adopt anti-union legislation will not be well received by the public.
Ironically, because the Del-Cons want Prime Minister Turnbull to do their ‘dirty work’ for them, this element within the Liberal Party will not move to have Tony *Abbott restored to power until after these anti-union and anti-arbitration bills are passed. Although commentators may remark that Abbott did not undermine Malcolm Turnbull in the way that Kevin Rudd sabotaged Prime Minister Julia Gillard during the 2010 election campaign, the retort is that Tony did not have to. Tony Abbott already had in place operatives within Liberal Party HQs who were prepared to sabotage the 2016 campaign so that the coalition only won a bare majority.
(*It is brazenly hypocritical of Abbott to call for ‘democratic reform’ within the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party when his Right faction within that state branch is perhaps the most regimented and undemocratic party faction within a major Australian political party. The truth is that the Abbott forces cannot circumvent the majority that the Moderate and Centre-Right factions have between them within the New South Wales branch unless there is some sought of Liberal Party equivalent of a federal intervention in that state).
Clearly the former prime minister is set on avenging his deposition and will set about achieving this in a cool and calculating way. Abbott’s Right’s faction within the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party used its balance of power in the pre-selection vote in the federal seat Mackellar to ensure that the former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was removed as the Liberal candidate. This move was perhaps understandable on Abbott’s part because Mrs. Bishop had inexplicably failed to reciprocate the loyalty that he had shown her as House Speaker by Mrs. Bishop voting in the September 2015 partyroom vote to elect Malcolm Turnbull as the new prime minister.
However the withholding of support by rank and file Liberal members who were Abbott partisans to help ensure that the then member for the federal seat of Lindsay, Fiona Scott, lost that seat to the ALP was a ‘crossing of the line’. This is because members of a political party no matter what their differences should always support each other when it comes to election campaigns. This behaviour of Abbott supporters indicates that their leader will ruthlessly, coolly and systematically set out to destroy the Turnbull camp in pursuit of Abbott regaining the prime ministership.
Tony Abbott can avoid this vengeful course of action by accepting a cabinet position from Prime Minister Turnbull perhaps as a Minister without Portfolio. Although Abbott probably would not have a ministerial department to manage he could be provided with a specialist staff to help him undertake special assignments for the government and allow him to help put into action the *policies which he is now speaking about such as the need for budget repair. Let Tony Abbott utilize his talents and the skills which he possesses as a former prime minister to help fix the grave challenges which Kevin Rudd bequeathed, such as the massive public foreign debt and the federal budget deficit.
(*One area that Tony Abbott should not be given policy leeway with is that of federal- state relations. Although Abbott has supposedly declared himself to be pro-states, any action which entails recognising local government at a federal level must be avoided at all costs because this will enable this important tier of government to fatally administratively and financially undercut states).
Overall, if Australia is to avoid the political turmoil which has beset the nation since the demise of the Howard government in 2010, then Prime Minister Turnbull will have to take effective control of Liberal Party HQs across the nation. This will mean the prime minister should recruit future Liberal Party state directors and the future Federal Director who is outside of the Crosby Textor management consultancy group.
Instead, the prime minister should select Liberal Party machine leaders who are undoubtedly personally loyal to him and who have close links with the party’s rank and file. Indeed, given that the former trade minister, Andrew Robb had previously supported the deposition of Malcolm Turnbull in late 2009 and in the September 2015 partyroom vote supported Tony Abbott, it should not necessarily follow that Robb’s recommendations as to who should lead Liberal state and federal HQs be adopted as part of a post-2016 federal election post-mortem.
To cut to the chase, having been previously duped by the Del-Cons within the administrative wing of his party into running an ineffective election campaign which resulted in a virtually pre-determined result of a one-seat parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Turnbull is now faced with an acute danger of been deposed by his party so that Abbott returns as prime minister. Even though Tony Abbott only has a relatively few supporters within the Liberal Partyroom, given the coalition’s one seat majority, the former prime minister has sufficient capacity to be disruptive so that he can engineer his return to power.
This scenario is depressingly and tragically similar to the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years that it is probable that the eventual outcome will be the political demise of a reinstated Prime Minister Tony Abbott with Bill Shorten going on to preside over a Balkanized Australia because states had been fatally undermined.
The best hope for Australia to avoid the above cited scenario is that Prime Minister Turnbull will be able to assert administrative control over Liberal Party so that he can later call and win an early election with a comfortable majority. To achieve this outcome it is therefore imperative from both ethical and practical perspectives that Malcolm Turnbull calls a plebiscite or a constitutional referendum on same sex marriage so that he can re-connect with the electorate by demonstrating his leadership bona fides. With a victory being achieved in a plebiscite or constitutional referendum on same sex marriage then the momentum would be created for the coalition to win an ensuing federal election.
The fact that Bill Shorten opposes this plebiscite, let alone a constitutional referendum, on this issue of same sex marriage is reflective of the degree to which he has given way to the hard left of the ALP.
The hard left of the ALP and the Greens (the latter who inexplicably voted an ETS down in early 2010) having a quasi-totalitarian mind-set which is contemptuous of democracy. This is illustrated by the ALP’s Socialist-Left’s erroneous fear that the electorate will vote against same-sex marriage. Changing the definition of marriage is a major legal reform which requires that social legitimacy be conferred by society approving such an important change by popular vote.
Furthermore, opponents of a plebiscite or constitutional referendum on same-sex marriage should appreciate the danger that should the High Court of Australia (HCA) adopt a strict constitutional approach then this court might invalidate federal legislation legalizing same sex marriage in accordance with s. 51 (xxi) of the Constitution, similar as to what happened in 1951 with regard to this court invalidating legislation (‘a stream cannot rise above its source’) seeking to ban the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). Therefore, perhaps the safest course of action would be to instead of having a plebiscite on same sex marriage to actually would be to have a constitutional referendum on this important issue.
As a form of preventative maintenance perhaps a High Court of Australia test case should be pre-emptively run to see that if legislation legalizing same sex marriage was passed that it would not subsequently be voided by the nation’s highest court. Overall, depriving the Australian electorate of the right to popularly endorse such an important change not only conveys contempt for democracy but also scepticism for the tolerance of the overwhelming majority of Australians.
Nevertheless, in the more immediate future there is an acute danger that if Malcolm Turnbull moves to install loyalists within paid Liberal Party secretariats that this will precipitate his deposition as prime minister. Therefore Liberal Party federal parliamentarians should be warned that the 2016 federal election result was the second worst in their party’s history. The worst result to date that the Liberal Party has so far endured was their defeat in the March 1993 election. Had the coalition also lost the election subsequent to the 1993 defeat then the viability of the Liberal Party would have been seriously imperilled.
The 2016 election result precipitates a similar scenario that if the coalition loses the next federal poll then the Liberal Party’s viability is actually threatened. Coalition MPs should therefore resist Del- Con pressure to bring Malcolm Turnbull down and allow him to exercise his authority to appoint his loyalists within state and federal Liberal Party HQs.
Should the Turnbull government *fall then someone with the Nietzschean will to power such as a Prime Minister Bill Shorten will be able to consolidate a fatally compromised Liberal Party by introducing a regionalized tier of government. Under such a scenario, the non-ALP side of politics could eventually Balkanize into an array of competeting political parties to consolidate a long term Labor hegemony.
(*As a social democratic operation, Social Action Australia is inherently orientated toward the election of ALP state and federal governments. However, due to the importance of the Turnbull prime ministership succeeding so as to ensure the survival of Australian states, Social Action conditionally supports the current federal coalition government).
The Importance of the National Party Remaining Viable
To avoid a Balkanized scenario, federal Liberal National Party (LNP) parliamentarians of Queensland should resist calls for there to be a separate partyroom in Canberra. Indeed, the continued viability of the National Party is essential if the Turnbull gave is to succeed and therefore avoid the Liberal Party eventually imploding. The National Party’s viability is not only threatened by the proposal that the LNP establish a separate partyroom but by the previously discussed political re-emergence of Pauline Hanson. Senator Hanson (who whatever her personal shortcoming is a very determined and honest person) can utilize her parliamentary representation as a platform to generate support for her One Nation Party so that by preferencing to the ALP this political party can facilitate the demise of the National Party and the LNP. It should be remembered that it was the economic rationalism of the Hawke-Keating era which first gave to Pauline Hanson being elected to federal parliament in March 1996. The One Nation Party which Pauline Hanson subsequently established was potentially a fatal threat to the National Party as reflected in the June 1998 Queensland state election when this party won eleven states. It should also not be forgotten that in the October 1998 federal election that due to widespread economic insecurity that One Nation actually outpolled the National Party and that if it was not for ALP preferences than the Nationals would have lost all their federal lower house seats.
The eventual demise of the Nationals will be but one impact of the Liberal Party’s Del-Cons applying a Lasch political strategy. The Nationals would therefore do well to scorn Tony Abbotts’s attempts to cultivate then by instead supporting the Prime Minister Turnbull government to influence his government to spurn economic rationalism in favour of neo-Mc Ewanism. If the Nationals do not do this then One Nation will consolidate as a major threat to them.
Another important ramification of the One Nation Party consolidating will be it siphoning enough votes away for the ALP to ultimately benefit the Liberal Party. Tragically, the consequent move to the hard right will reinforce a vicious cycle where economically vulnerable voters will still be harmed by the infliction of economic rationalist/neo-liberal policies which will counter-productively cause too many of them to vote for the One Nation Party.
The Mediscare campaign which Bill Shorten successfully waged is similarly reflective of the deep insecurity that so many people in Australia currently feel as a result of economic rationalism. The Howard government’s promotion by extensive advertising of social security services which were available and its success in exploiting the China mining boom to generate employment (even if too much of it was precarious) helped shift the One Nation Party to the political fringe throughout the 2000s. However, the socio-economic uncertainty that so many Australians now feel is sufficient to eventually consign both the Liberal and National parties to the dustbin of Australian political history because the Del Cos application of a Lasch political strategy could well go awry.
Why the National Party Must Re-Adopt Neo-Mc Ewanism
The onus is therefore on the Nationals federal leader Barnaby Joyce to reconnect to the socio-economic traditions of the late and great Sir John Mc Ewan. Mc Ewanism in a contemporary context can be facilitated by respecting the industrial arbitration system (including the role of trade unions within that system) and providing industry assistance to both the manufacturing and farming sectors. The current indications are not positive with regard to the federal coalition embracing neo-Mc Ewanism if the recent decision of the Turnbull government not to provide $200 million worth of industry assistance to the Murray Goulburn company is any indication. This refusal by the Turnbull to provide capital to Murray Goulburn to enable this company to return to being a cooperative means that the Australian milk industry may lose its viability because the previous and beneficial price structure cannot be re-established for this sector.
It should not be regarded as ‘corporate welfare’ for the federal government to provide capital to a selected company (or companies) if the overall effect will be to safeguard an industry. Indeed, it is money judiciously well spent when financial assistance is provided so that in the process of a particular company remaining viable has the flow on effect of ensuring overall industry viability. Providing government industry financial assistance to Murray Goulburn or to the Fonterra milk processing company would have led to a ten- fold investment return in a socio-economic context. Alas, the failure or refusal of the Turnbull government to provide financial assistance not only imperils the viability of Australia’s milk producing sector but the ultimate survival of the Nationals as a political party because such a policy direction will ultimately benefit the One Nation Party and therefore the Liberal Party’s Del-Cons.
To those who say that the free trade horse has already vaulted so that there can be no return to value adding, it should be pointed out that the coalition’s support for defence industries in South Australia was belatedly undertaken to prevent an electoral rout of the Liberals in that state, similar to the possibly permanent repudiation that they suffered in Tasmania in the 2016 federal election due to economic rationalist induced insecurity that so many Tasmanians feel. The establishment of a submarine construction industry in South Australia may forestall a future Liberal Party rout in that state but the impending demise of the car industry in that state might well have been a future harbinger of political decimation in South Australia similar to what has already been experienced by the Liberals in Tasmania. The fact that such a super-economic rationalist such as John Howard pointedly and unsuccessfully campaigned for the Liberal candidate Jamie Briggs in the once blue ribbon South Australian federal seat of Mayo was indicative of this former prime minister’s fear that value-adding could be economically and politically revived by the NXT winning that seat. That the NXT’s candidate Rebecca Sharkey won the seat of Mayo should serve as a warning to both the Liberals and the Nationals that perpetuating economic rationalism will eventually be electorally fatal for them.
The Need for a Neo-Mc Ewanist Political Party
The historic election victory of Rebecca Sharkey is paradoxically an indication that if the Liberals and the Nationals are going to survive by moving to a neo-Mc Ewanist paradigm, then a new nationwide neo-Mc Ewanist political party will have to be established. This could be facilitated by the NXT, the Jacqui Lambie Network (JLN) and Katter’s Australia Party (KAP) amalgamating to form a new neo-Mc Ewanist political party. Due to the desirability of forming such a new party, it was pity that the pro-state rights Dio Wang in Western Australia as a candidate of the Palmer United Party (PUP) failed to win a senate seat. This is because Dio Wang also could have taken the remnants of the PUP into a future neo-Mc Ewanist political party.
While there are probably substantial philosophical and ideological differences between Senators Xenophon and Lambie this does not necessarily mean that they cannot put them aside to form a pro-industry and agricultural assistance political party with a commitment to states’ rights. A strong personality such as Bob Katter, the federal member for the north Queensland seat of Kennedy,could also help bring the geographically disparate elements together to form such a new political party.
Bob Katter as a former National Party Member of Parliament (MP) eschewed the tendency of his fellow parliamentary party members to put their business interests ahead of their constituents by courageously opposing the economic rationalism of the Hawke-Keating and Howard eras. However, despite Katter’s personal courage, he has not been able to establish the KAP as an effective nationwide political party. Similarly, Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie have not yet been able to establish viable nationwide bases for their respective eponymous political parties.
It has been said that Senator Xenophon intends rename his XPT political party so that it has broader philosophical and ideological appeal beyond his name recognition. For this to be the case, then Senator Xenophon should at least consider linking up with Senator Lambie and Bob Katter. While it would be desirable that such a party win House of Representative and Senate seats, the positive impact of its preferences cannot not be overstated.
Providing that the National Party moves towards re-embracing its previous Mc Ewanist political traditions, then such a new Katter/Lambie/ Xenophon combined political party could preference the Nationals to protect them against the One Nation Party. Similarly, such new neo- Mc Ewanist political party could also preference the Liberals if the Turnbull government-due to National Party influence- was to move away from economic rationalism. For good measure, a neo- Mc Ewanist party could preference to the ALP in inner-city seats to protect the Labor Party (particularly in Melbourne) from the Greens.
Such a neo-Mc Ewanist political party could also preference the ALP in Queensland should the LNP move to establish a separate partyroom in Canberra. The current proposal to establish a distinct federal LNP partyroom is intended by the Del-Cons to undermine the Nationals so that they will in turn sabotage the Turnbull government to help facilitate Tony Abbott’s return as prime minister.
With regard to the scenario of an Abbott return to power, it should be pointed out that any move to undermine the Nationals federal leader Barnaby Joyce could be fatal for the non-ALP side of politics. This is because unless the federal Nationals utilize their balance of power position to facilitate an adoption of a neo-Mc Ewanist policy paradigm then the Turnbull government will lose its way. Consequently, Abbott will return to power in the medium term, thereby paving the way for an ALP ascendancy within the context of a regionalized Australia.
Will Barnaby Joyce Re-Claim the Mc Ewan Mantle?
The Nationals’ leader Barnaby Joyce is therefore at a cross roads between brilliant success and abysmal failure. It is difficult to discern whether Barnaby Joyce will rise to the challenge of promoting neo-Mc Ewanism due to his patchy political record.
From a positive perspective, Barnaby Joyce as a Queensland Nationals senator displayed great personal courage in 2005 by voting against the Howard government’s so-called Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) legislation. The moronic hard-right policy of VSU would have destroyed essential university services and representation while doing nothing to undermine the far-left at a grassroots campus level. Whether Senator Joyce knew it at the time, his vote against VSU (which in this instance unfortunately prevailed) in trying to protect the interests of regional university students was also defending the institutional integrity of all Australian universities.
Alternatively, the major demerit against Senator Joyce at this time is that he did not vote against No Choices industrial legislation in 2005 when his single balance of power of vote might have protected Australian employees. It is a pity that Senator Joyce did not manifest a similar passion for protecting employee rights as he later did for farmers in 2010 when he voted against the Rudd government’s *Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) legislation.
(*Whatever the merits or otherwise of an ETS, the Greens – or perhaps more appropriately, the ‘Reds’-were allowed by the media to get away with voting against this legislation while the Rudd government was unfairly pummelled for subsequently abandoning this policy).
As a political party, the contemporary Nationals are deluded that they are now an eminently successful political party. Their currently powerful position is derived from the ALP having ‘eaten into’ the Liberals former majority as opposed to the Nationals massively expanding their federal parliamentary representation. As previously mentioned, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is now well-positioned to exploit economic insecurity to wipe out the Nationals’ federal lower house representation by preferencing to the ALP. The wipe-out of the Liberals in Tasmania in the 2016 federal election is testament to how unease with economic rationalist policies can adversely, if not fatally, affect the Liberals. Similarly, South Australia is a potential electoral wasteland for the Liberals unless they move away from economic rationalism. For the Liberals to do so, might ultimately depend on the Nationals harnessing their Mc Ewanist socio-economic and political traditions.
What is to be Done?: How to Facilitate Neo-Mc Ewanism
An important step that the Nationals could undertake to facilitate neo-Mc Ewanism would be to let by-gones be by-gones by adopting a supportive approach to Bob Katter. This federal parliamentarian should be Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘go-to’ politician when it comes to public policy formulation. Bob Katter and Senator Nick Xenophon are the two politicians which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should ‘wine and dine’ about how to revive industry policy and support Australia’s agricultural sector.
It should be pointed out that a vital reason why Kevin Rudd’s prime ministerial career was a political failure was because he did not ‘wine and dine’ Peter Costello. This former federal treasurer as a backbencher between late 2007 and 2009 was a potential resource which Prime Minister Rudd could have utilized to the nation’s benefit.
Peter Costello possessed the technical skill and breadth of vision to have provided insightful counsel to Prime Minister Rudd. The need for such as advice was during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the Rudd government unnecessarily massively in-debted Australia by wasting billions of dollars on so-called ‘stimulus packages’ which also plunged the nation into budget deficit. The former federal treasurer (i.e. Costello) could have advised then federal government that this massive mis-spending was unnecessary because the banking prudential controls which he had previously put in place effectively insulated Australia from the effects of the GFC.
Had Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have taken the former federal treasurer’s advice during the GFC, then the positive legacy of the Howard-Costello era could have been retained while reaping the benefits of Julia Gillard’s industrial relations reforms which restored Australia’s brilliant arbitral traditions. Alas, Mr. Rudd failed to take a leaf out of the book of the former Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi. Mrs. Gandhi was installed as prime minister of India in January 1966 by Congress Party bosses on the premise that she would be their puppet. An important reason why this was not to be the case was because this Indian leader expanded her circle to take alternative sources of advice and in the process forged new power networks.
Because Mr. Rudd by contrast failed to similarly expand his sources of power he fulfilled the role of being a pawn for the inter-party forces which had originally put him in power so as to lay the groundwork for the creation of a new tier of regional government and the eventual abolition of Australian states.
Although Malcolm Turnbull is cannier than Kevin Rudd, Australia’s current prime minister now finds himself in a position analogous to his ALP predecessor- that of being a political pawn. The failure of Malcolm Turnbull to place political operatives in Liberal Party HQs who were loyal to him and open up channels with Liberal Party branches as well as grass-roots campaigns on the ground, Malcolm Turnbull is therefore acutely in danger of losing his way. The prime minister can protect himself politically from the Del-Cons by having Barnaby Joyce declare that the Nationals will end the coalition or bring the federal government down should there be a change of leadership as part of reinstating Tony Abbott. With a breathing space being provided by National Party support, Malcolm Turnbull can begin to cultivate Bob Katter and Senator Xenophon when it comes to taking their socio-economic advice and direction, particularly with regard to industry policy.
Why Australia Needs a New Axis to Avoid an Abyss
Should the Nationals fail to provide Prime Minister Turnbull with the support he needs, then this government will lose its way so that Tony Abbott will return to power. Should this occur then an Abbott government will undoubtedly try to cut social welfare due to the disastrous Rudd fiscal legacy. Such a policy direction will precipitate dangerous social unrest and/or the eventual election of a Shorten ALP government.
It is probable that a Shorten government will unfortunately follow in the Hawke-Keating tradition of ignoring the public foreign debt and budget deficits so that external intervention in the way of policy prescriptions from an organisation such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may occur. The socio-economic and political consequences of such a development are too frightening to contemplate. However, the prime minister can still forge a Turnbull/Joyce/Katter/Xenophon Axis (an equivalent of the Fraser/Anthony/Nixon Axis which was formed in the 1970s and 1980s during the federal coalition’s time in office) to take Australia in a positive direction which ultimately rescues the nation. The formation of a new domestic policy axis could revive industry policy so that Australia yet again has a viable manufacturing sector. *Kelly O’Dwyer, the current Minister for Revenue and Financial Services as a protégé of Peter Costello must be utilized with regard to any new domestic axis so that there can be effective budge repair and the eventual elimination of Australia’s public foreign debt.
(*Another coalition rising star to be on the ‘look out’ for is Matt Canavan, who is a protégé of Barnaby Joyce. If this LNP Queensland senator is to avoid the eventual fate of the former Queensland National Party Senator Bill O’Chee by having a promising political career short-circuited by the rise of One Nation, then Senator Canavan will have to fight for neo-Mc Ewanism).
There would also be a need for such a domestic policy axis to address Australia’s chronic problem of underemployment. The Mediscare campaign which Bill Shorten waged would not have been as successful as it was had it not been for the high levels of casual and part-time employment as well as the high levels of welfare supplement payments which are consequently utilized. Because it will be too politically and socially risky for any federal government to tamper with social welfare or to raise the GST rate a Turnbull/Joyce/Katter/Xenophon Axis should consider new taxation policies, such as income splitting and greater financial child support, to address the fundamental problem of labour over-supply.
Emancipatory Feminism or Liberation Feminism?
Australia is in a situation where too many people are been forced into the workforce due to economic necessity. Calls to address this issue of labour over-supply have too long been undermined by the allegation that proponents of income splitting and greater family payments are sexist or misogynist because the consequences of these policies might be to lower the female work participation rate. Such allegations of sexism can be countered on the basis that male spouses/partners could alternately stay home with their partners going to work because they could afford to due to income splitting.
Too many so-called Australian feminists have done women a disservice by arguing that females cannot be truly independent unless women have an independent income. The problem with this argument is that too many women with children and spouses/partners are been forced into the workforce into relatively low paying jobs. Indeed, a phenomenon is now afflicting Australia that too much of the income that couples earn is been spent on child care so that the overall benefit of an extra income been earned is negated.
From a labour employment perspective the over-supply of labour benefits unenlightened employers because they have the scope to pay lower wages due to the high levels of casual and part-time employment. This issue of labour over-supply is one that a Turnbull coalition government can address because of the emancipatory feminist traditions of the Liberal Party which can be traced back to the *Australian Women’s National League (AWNL).
(*The AWNL was unfortunately a victim of its own success because it was absorbed into the Liberal Party as that organisation’s women’s section. If the Liberal Party wants to achieve the objective of increasing female parliamentary representation then a specialized paid member of staff in Liberal Party HQs should be appointed to help revive the women’s wing of that party. For Malcolm Turnbull, having paid staff to organise the female division of the party would also vitally strengthen the prime minister’s authority within the Liberal Party organisation).
The AWNL pursued a policy approach which accorded with Emancipatory Feminism (dating back to the female suffrage movement of the 1890s and early 1900s) which conceptualised that women could have an independent income via government financial support for families. This approach contrasted with so-called Liberation Feminism which emerged in the 1960s as an outgrowth of the Vietnam War protest movement. Liberation Feminism was hostile toward women having the option of staying at home as this was erroneously considered to be ‘patriarchal’.
However, Australian women (or male home based partners/spouses) should be given the choice of staying at home by having the financial latitude to do so as a result of government income support and income splitting. From an authentic feminist perspective it is disempowering to force too many women into the workforce into underpaying casual and part-time employment. Furthermore, it is better for young children to be raised full-time by one of their parents instead of having to attend child care which varies in quality and that too many children intrinsically dislike.
From a broader societal perspective, the overall impact of this over-labour supply is that wages are decreased, employment security is undermined and pressure on public finances are created due to welfare expenditure on paying income supplements. Unfortunately, arguments in favour of fixing the fundamental problem of labour over-supply are too often thwarted by political correctness which is derived from so-called Liberation Feminism.
Liberation Feminists should be aware that the brilliant British sociologist Professor Catherine Hakim has conceptualized women’s approaches toward employment into two distinct orientations with regard to what she has termed ‘preference theory’: home-centred females and work-centred females. Within this dichotomy of preference theory there is also a category of females who combine elements of these two approaches. A home-centred female usually wishes to stay at home to the point that she does not desire to enter the external paid workforce on the basis that she wants to look after her partner/spouse and children if they have them. A work-centred female by contrast is hostile toward fulfilling the primary role of a family care giver and even if she did not financially need to, would prefer to enter the paid workforce so as to have her own income source.
Unfortunately, Australian women’s public policy has been driven by work-centred Liberation Feminists which has helped create the acute over-supply of labour which has contributed to the widespread casualization of the workforce. Therefore what is needed in Australian public policy is the re-emergence of Emancipatory Feminism with a new generation of female activists subscribing to this approach even if they are work-centred. Hopefully, such a new generation of women within the Liberal Party (if not the ALP and the union movement or a freshly launched neo-Mc Ewanist political party) will emerge who will respect the diversity which exists within society to support a home-centred approach or aspects of this preference to overcome the serious problem of labour oversupply.
The Need for a New Third Force to Revive the Menzies/Mc Ewan Tradition
For this transition to occur in Australian women’s public policy will require a new political third force to emerge in national politics. Therefore it should be reiterated that elected politicians, such as Senators Jacqui Lambie, Nick Xenophon and Bob Katter as the member of Kennedy, need to coalesce to launch a new political party to facilitate a transition away from an economic rationalist paradigm. The emergence of such a third force need not be a negative development for the Turnbull government which will need external political support to keep the Del-Cons at bay.
Should the Del-Cons succeed to have Tony Abbott reinstated as prime minister then Australia will proceed to have a de-industrialized froth and bubble economy with high levels of under-employment without an adequate social welfare net being there so that Australia can adapt to such an appalling situation. There is also the scope that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party will be exploited by the Del-Cons within the Liberal Party so that a Lasch political strategy can be applied.
A Lasch political strategy has been defined in previous Social Action Australia articles as an approach where political strategists on the right appeal to the social conservatism of economically vulnerable people so that they will move away from centre-left or social democratic political parties. John Howard as prime minister successfully applied a Lasch strategy with regard to the Tampa affair to engineer a shift of One Nation inclined voters away from the ALP to the Liberals so that the coalition won the 2001 federal election.
While Pauline Hanson is a much tougher political operator than she once was she is still to formulate and advocate positive and effective policies which will address the nation’s underlying socio-economic and political problems. Consequently Senator Hanson can still be exploited by the Liberal Party’s Del-Cons to appropriate votes to Tony Abbott’s political advantage should the current federal coalition government not form a new Turnbull/Joyce/Katter/Xenophon Axis.
Why the Disraeli Tory One Nation Tradition Must be Re-Applied in Britain
Due to Pauline’s Hanson’s political emergence in Australia the term ‘One Nation’ has fallen into disrepute by being associated with the far right. In actual fact, One Nation as a term was first used in the mid-nineteenth century to refer to the policies of the great Benjamin Disraeli who brilliantly served as a British Conservative (Tory) prime minister in the 1870s.
Disraeli, after Winston Churchill, was undoubtedly the greatest non-monarch statesmen in British history. This nineteenth century prime minister implemented his One Nation concept on the basis that society should be treated as an organic whole. Therefore, although Disraeli accepted class categorizations, he still believed that class divisions should be overcome by everyone working together for the common good.
The intense political and philosophical rivalry which Disraeli had with William Gladstone was posthumously resolved in favour of the former in the 1920s when, following the advent of full suffrage, for it was the British Liberal Party which fell by the wayside while the Tory Party successfully adapted to this new political environment. Indeed, the Tory Party still today has strong pockets of working class support which is derived from the One Nation tradition.
It is therefore a pity that Margaret Thatcher’s great political rival within the Conservative Party, Sir Michael Heseltine never succeeded her as prime minister in the 1990s. Heseltine’s One Nation inspired policies of seeking to achieve urban renewal could have reversed the excesses of Thatcherism so that the Tory Party might have appropriated substantial bases of support from the Labour Party.
Currently, due to the extreme left-wing stance of the British Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbin there has been speculation that the eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) could eventually supplant the Labour Party as Britain’s second major party. This scenario is now possibly improbable because of the resignation as party leader of Nigel Farage who has been the very effective public face of UKIP.
Farage’s resignation as UKIP leader was probably a manifestation of his recoiling from the consequences of Britain’s very unfortunate 2016 Brexit vote from the European Union (EU). Britain now faces the alarming prospect of losing the forty-five percent (!) of her trade that she has with the continent should the EU erect trade barriers against the United Kingdom. The best solution which has so far been canvassed to counter the potential disaster of the Brexit vote is for Britain to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and in so doing remaining integrated with the EU’s single market.
Britain as an EFTA member could also reach a bilateral migration agreement with the EU which places some restrictions on migration from the EU to Britain while also providing residential security for those Britons currently living on the continent. The current president of the European Council Donald Tusk has expressed reservations about granting a post-EU Britain a special migration agreement.
However Donald Tusk should know that it was over the issue of migration that British eurosceptics were able to apply a Lasch strategy which exploited the fears of economically vulnerable Britons so that enough of them unfortunately voted in favour of Brexit. As a Pole, Donald Tusk must also appreciate that if a post-EU Britain is not integrated within a single European market then Putin’s Russia will exploit this situation to apply ‘salami’ tactics so that Moscow can continue to pursue revanchist policies. A British politician who ironically understands the dangers associated with Britain cutting off from Europe is Boris Johnson despite his being the leading campaigner in favour of Brexit! Now, as British Foreign Secretary, Mr. Johnson is trying to forge a new relationship between Britain and Europe so that continental unity can be maintained.
It should also be pointed out that Boris Johnson is an avowed adherent of the One Nation Tory tradition. As such, Foreign Secretary Johnson should try to forge a new relationship of Britain to the EU which is economically beneficial. Indeed, the new British prime minister, Theresa May will hopefully utilize Boris Johnson as a sounding board to consciously purse One Nation domestic policies which might later electorally overwhelm a far-left British Labour Party. In the meantime, Boris Johnson’s undoubted foreign policy concern will be to prevent Russia’s Vladimir Putin from exploiting the Brexit vote go undermine much needed European unity.
Why the Russian Bear Should Fear Being Burnt by the PRC Dragon
The aggressive foreign policy which President Putin pursues is actually a sign of his underlying weakness. The Russian president has not diversified his nation’s economy so that the long term socio-political security of the Russian Federation is uncertain. President Putin could have secured, and still can secure, his nation’s future by eventually taking her into the EU (or the EFTA) and making Russia an associate member or even full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)! These may sound as though they are radical, if not, fanciful propositions. However the great French statesman Charles De Gaulle envisaged a scenario where European unity would one day be achieved by Russia being a member (minus Great Britain) of the EU!
The long-term need for Russia to eventually join the EU and associate with NATO is due to the long term threat that the Russian Federation faces from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which is a Leninist dictatorship with a market socialist economy. While there is still a supply-side market mechanism in place in China’s market socialist economy the state has a preponderant control of the economy, which can often involve a coercive mastery of economic resources if this economic system is to be ultimately viable.
The PRC under the leadership of President Xi Jinping is currently consolidating a coercive approach to economic policy which aligns with an orientation of returning China politically to a Stalinist totalitarian model. Therefore the PRC is entering into win-lose economic arrangements with other nations. The southern African country of Zimbabwe, due to the chronic mis-management of President Robert Mugabe, is trying to save itself from absolute economic ruin by integrating with the PRC to eventually become a Chinese satellite.
Similarly, the Russian Federation is heading down a path where the PRC will gain socio-economic domination over Russia. Already Chinese migrants are moving to populate Russian Siberia so that the groundwork is being set for the PRC to eventually appropriate this vast region. It is ironic that Russia is pursuing an aggressive policy in Ukraine while the PRC is gradually but imperceptibly laying the groundwork to dominate the Russian Far-East.
Analysis of the PRC threat to Russia is not based upon a racist xenophobic pathology but rather the realization that China as a dictatorship with a market socialist economy must continue to assert herself to the point of world domination if the PRC’s socio-economic and political model is to remain viable. President Putin may think that it is strategically sound for his nation as an authoritarian state to be aligned with a Leninist mainland China against the United States and the more or less free world. However, the PRC’s socio-economic and political model ultimately cannot survive unless Chinese expansionism into the Russian Far-East is eventually undertaken.
If President Putin really cares about his nation’s future then he should look at reconciling with the West. Therefore the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine should be ended by reaching a modus operandi with Kiev. Instead of trying to fatally undermine the EU by supporting eurosceptic political leaders, such as France’s Marine Le Pen, the Russian president can seek a rapprochement with Brussels which could lead to the Russian Federation eventually joining the European Union.
The most important national leader within the EU is undoubtedly German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As a citizen of the former German Democratic (sic) Republic (East Germany) Chancellor Merkel is determined to ensure that Russian subversion is effectively countered in eastern and central Europe. This does not necessarily mean that Chancellor Merkel is anti-Russian, rather that she is afraid of Moscow’s intentions while President Putin is counter-productively aligned with Beijing.
It will be difficult but not impossible for President Putin to re-orientate his nation’s domestic and foreign policies to gain long-term national security with regard to protecting Russia from possible Chinese expansionism into the Russian Far East. Domestically President Putin can dismount from riding the tiger of being a dictator by adopting the previous Mexican model of having presidents who were elected for single six year terms been subsequently banned for life from ever seeking election to the presidency. There were also conventions under this system that former Mexican presidents were exempted from prosecution while remaining influential in their capacity as former heads of state.
Legal and constitutional steps would have to be undertaken to protect the person of Vladimir Putin or anyone else who serves as Russian president for the time after they have served a single six year term as president. Having a Russian leader voluntarily give up power (the first only one to date to have done so was the late Boris Yeltsin) would place Russia on a path to becoming a democracy which could join the EU and become either an associate or full member of NATO.
As an EU member Russia could develop an economy with high living standards which is at peace with her neighbours. Furthermore, Russia as an EU member could join NATO as either an associate or full member which would have her national security safeguarded against possible PRC expansionism. As an associate or full member of NATO Russia would probably have its nuclear arsenal become part of a NATO command structure. Such a scenario would be a win-win one because it would re-assure Russia’s neighbours that they have nothing to fear from Russia while leaving Moscow ultimately in control of its nuclear missiles.
Why The People’s Liberation Army Should Adopt a Win-Win Approach
It would be even better for the world if the PRC refrained from trying to eventually dominate Russia and the world because this is contributing to global uncertainty which threatens the international economy and with it China’s ultimate financial viability. The underlying reason for the PRC’s aggressive foreign policy is to bolster the power of President Xi so that he can establish a personal dictatorship similar to Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’s. Mao established a virtual personal dictatorship following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rise to power in China in 1949. However, Chairman Mao was obliged to go into semi-retirement by the CPP’s upper echelons between 1961 and 1966 following the disastrous ‘Great Leap Forward’ in which an attempt to fast track industrialisation cost in excess of an estimated thirty million lives over a three year period (1958 to 1961)!
Nevertheless the politically indefectible Chairman launched the so-called ‘Cultural Revolution’ in 1966 which was spearheaded by militant and indoctrinated youth known as Red Guards. The aim of this political upheaval was for Mao to carry out a thorough purge of the CPP so that he could establish an absolute personal dictatorship. Mao would not have been able to have launched the so-called Cultural Revolution had it not been for the collaboration of the then Defence Minister, Marshal Lin Biao who initially had the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stand to one side and in some instances abet the Red Guards as they inflicted a nationwide terror upon the CPP and the PRC. To prevent the onset of full anarchy which might have threatened Chinese national unity Mao and Lin utilized the PLA to restore a semblance of order in 1967. Mao’s reliance on Marshal Lin was reflected at the CCP’s Tenth Party Congress in 1969 which was stacked out by army personnel as the PLA seemed to move into the void caused by the ‘Cultural Revolution’ emasculating the CCP as an organisation. With Marshal Lin designated as Mao’s successor it seemed that the PRC was headed toward becoming a militarized and regimented state with the PLA politically in the ascendant. A China led by Marshall Lin probably would have reconciled with the Soviet Union because it was the Marshal’s intention that there be a Sino-Soviet reconciliation. Had this occurred then the consequences for the more or less free world might have been fatal.
The Marshal’s intention of engineering a Sino-Soviet rapprochement was severely undermined by border clashes between the two nations in 1969 which provided an opening for Premier Chou En-Lai to seek establish ties with the United States. Due to most senior PLA officials supporting the premier’s initiative, Marshal Lin attempted to launch a military coup in September 1971 but with insufficient support within the PLA tried to flee to the Soviet Union with his family but was killed in an airplane crash.
Marshal Lin’s demise paved the way for President Richard Nixon’s (RN) official February 1972 visit to the PRC. The RN visit put Chinese politics in a flux as the PRC was conflicted between 1972 and 1976 as to whether to pursue an ultra-Marxist course led by Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, as the ringleader of the Gang of Four, or a more pragmatic direction as sought by Premier Chou. The premier’s death in January 1976 seemed to advantage the Gang of Four but the semi-official visit by RN as a former president the following month influenced the senior leadership of the anti-Soviet PLA to stage a military coup in October 1976 against the Gang of Four.
That there was a military coup in mainland China in October 1976 went unnoticed because the PLA left in place the phlegmatic Hua Guofeng as CCP Chairman and premier. Hua had succeeded to these positions following the respective deaths of Chou and Mao earlier that year. The PLA deliberately refrained from formally taking power so that scourge of warlordism could be avoided. Instead the PLA sought to organisationally revive the CCP as the vehicle to administer if not rule the PRC. It was due to the support of the PLA that by 1978, the late Chou’s friend and protégé Deng Xiaoping emerged as paramount leader. Deng had his nominees replace Hua as premier and CCP general secretary respectively in 1980 and 1981. Deng seemed to consolidate his power in 1982 when a new party constitution and national constitution were promulgated. Under these constitutions the senior positions of general secretary, premier, president and chairman of the National People’s Congress were limited to two consecutive five year terms. The instituting of these term limits seemed to safeguard the PRC from again falling victim to the arbitrary whims of a megalomaniacal dictator.
Under Deng’s de facto leadership the Four Modernisations were adopted so that the PRC transitioned toward becoming an international economic powerhouse as the nation embraced market socialism. The PLA supported Deng’s modernisations because the army’s overwhelming desire was to maintain national unity as well as to possess relative military and economic strength against the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the PLA despite Deng’s grave reservations brutally moved against popular political dissent in early June 1989. This was epitomized by the shooting down of unarmed demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The PLA was prepared to brutally crush dissent because this institution believed that Chinese national unity was imperilled. With Deng effectively sidelined, Premier Li Peng (a Soviet trained engineer who was the adopted son of the late Chou En-Lai) attempted to re-introduce Soviet style central planning and forge a new Moscow-Beijing alliance. The irony of Premier Li’s attempts to reinstitute Soviet style central planning between 1989 and 1991 was that Moscow was then moving away from this model as the Marxist-Leninist system decayed in the Soviet Union.
The formal dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 enabled Deng to tour strategic military bases so that he had the necessary political support to relaunch market reforms in February 1992. Consequently by 1994 Deng had regained his authority which had been previously been severely undermined in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. It therefore seemed that when Deng died in February 1997 that he had bequeathed a stable PRC which was ruled by a collective leadership whose power was restrained by constitutional term limits. As was the case with post-Tito Yugoslavia, the term limits which were placed on senior officials were ultimately insufficient o prevent the prospect of a personal dictatorship re-emerging in Belgrade. The current context in China is now ripe for a Yugoslav scenario. This is because Xi Jinping, the scion of a prominent revolutionary family, is positioning himself to become an absolute dictator since he became national president and CCP general secretary in 2012.
The aggressive foreign and national security policies which the PRC is currently pursuing are primarily aimed at bolstering President Xi’s personal power. The PLA’s acquiescence to date of President Xi’s machinations is placing at risk the socio-economic gains which were achieved under Deng’s leadership which integrated the PRC into the global economy. Consequently the flexing of PRC military muscle in the South China Sea (where an estimate seven trillion US dollars worth of trade annually passes through!) could cause international economic ructions which might precipitate an international economic collapse.
The despatch of Russian warships to complement PRC naval ships in the South China Sea is reflective of an emergent Sino-Russian alliance. However, Beijing and Moscow should be aware that the fatal discrediting of Marxism as an ideology has created an economically integrated world. Consequently, should these two powers engage in a new Cold War against an American led west then the ramifications for them might be fatal for them because an international economic collapse might well ensue. Even if the PRC is able to win a short and sharp naval war in the South China Sea against the United States and its allies due to her possible superiority in cyber technology the cost in forfeited international business confidence will still be such to precipitate an internal collapse on mainland China because of the disruption to the world economy which would result. Russian support for the PRC in such a possible American –Sino war would also be fatal because it will lay the groundwork for an eventual Chinese territorial appropriation of the Russian Far East.
However, in the immediate term it is the PRC which should be wary of the very adverse socio-economic ramifications of engaging in a war (even if militarily victorious in the short term) against the United States and her allies. The leaders of the PLA should therefore not forget that the rapid collapse of Chinese Nationalist Party rule between 1946 and 1949 was substantially aided by hyper-inflation. Furthermore, the underpinning economic fundamentals of the PRC economy are possibly unsound as there is also a property bubble which might well burst. The prospects of this occurring are on track due to the ghost cities which are being built as President Li’s consolidation of his personal power is leading to a situation which is undermining financial transparency which is desperately needed.
Preventative Maintenance: A Portuguese Scenario for the PRC?
The leadership of the PLA will therefore hopefully heed Machiavelli’s observation that political problems are akin to tuberculosis- easy to cure in the early stages - but impossible to in the late stages. Corrective action needs to be taken to prevent President Xi from leading the PRC and the world into a possible economic abyss. The preventative maintenance required could be undertaken by the senior corps of the PLA (via the Military Control Commission which President Xi chairs) denying the president a second term as CCP general secretary, when his current term expires in 2017.
There is precedent for an armed forces easing out a civilian strongman if modern Portuguese history is taken into account. The residual power of the Portuguese military between the 1930s and 1970s was facilitated by the convention that a senior officer hold the non-executive position of president. The underlying power which the Portuguese military had with as was manifested in 1968 when the then president, Admiral Americo Thomas, replaced Dr. Antonio Salazar with Marcelo Caetano as prime minister after the former was incapacitated by a stroke. Dr. Salazar was never informed of the change and lived on for just under two years with the illusion that he was still dictator. Although the Portuguese armed forces had seized had seized power in 1926 this institution was incapable or lacking the confidence to rule the nation on a long term basis so they eventually ceded power to Salazar, a one- time economics professor, who ruled Portugal as premier between 1932 and 1968. The determination of the armed forces to maintain residual power was manifest in 1972 when the armed forces chiefs of staff denied Premier Caetano the additional position of president.
Perhaps the armed forces chiefs of staff in 1968 could have found someone who was more visionary than Professor Caetano to have led Portugal. Premier Caetano failed to extricate his nation from debilitating wars in Africa and mistook the sullen docility of the Portuguese public as their tacit acceptance of the corporatist dictatorship. Due to Caetano’s leadership failings a group of younger junior left-wing officers overthrew the forty-eight year old corporatist Estado Novo (‘New State’) in a military coup in April 1974. The negative ramification of this coup was that Portugal’s colonial African territories were unilaterally abandoned without elections to pro-Soviet/pro-Castro Marxist guerrillas while this Iberian nation herself almost subsequently became Western Europe’s first Marxist-Leninist state.
That Portugal tentatively emerged as a democracy in 1976 (which joined the EU in 1986) was due to the personal courage and political skills of both General Antonio Eanes (whose quick thinking thwarted a communist takeover in November 1975) and the pro-American Socialist Party leader, Mario Soares. The political turmoil which Portugal experienced in the 1970s might have been avoided had Caetano previously made way earlier for his protégé Francisco Sa Caneiro.
Despite the demise of the Estado Novo, Caneiro still amazingly mastered the intricacies of the new democracy to be elected prime minister in January 1980. Caneiro undoubtedly would have been elected president of Portugal at the end of 1980 had he not been killed in an airplane crash. His death paved the way for his own protégé, Professor Anibal Antonio Cavaco Silva, to subsequently assume the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (which was actually a centre-right party descended from the Estado Novo’s governmental National Union ) so that he was later successively elected as prime minister and president of Portugal in the 1980s. That the Estado Novo might have survived by democratic re-adaption is a hypothetical scenario which still conveys the importance of having adept political leaders influencing events at the strategically appropriate times. Similarly, the upper echelons of China’s PLA can consider selecting a new CCP General-Secretary in the place of Xi Jinping when his current term expires in 2017. President Xi undoubtedly exerted his political muscle during and after the informal but very important deliberations which took place in early August at the Beidaihe holiday resort to be granted another five year term as both CCP General-Secretary and as national president.
Why Ruling China should be Enough!
However, ultimate power is held by the upper echelons of the PLA and as such for the good of China and the world the military should exercise its power within institutional bounds to ease *Xi out as party leader by denying him a second term as CCP General Secretary. What China (and the world needs) is a new CCP General Secretary in the tradition of Deng Xiao-Ping whose power is derived from his brilliance as a problem solver who engineers win-win outcomes.
(*Xi could have a second presidential term so long as he undertook not to make trouble for his successor as CCP General-Secretary).
To govern the PRC, with a quarter of the world’s population, should be enough so that that the main tasks of the PLA should be to maintain Chinese national unity and to prevent the emergence of a maniacal dictator. Deng Xiao-ping demonstrated that by maintaining national unity and providing rational government that mainland China automatically is a world power in her own right which does not have to pursue an aggressive foreign policy. By contrast, President Xi is demonstrating that by having the PRC trying to dominate the world he is actually gravely endangering Chinese national stability. It should be appreciated that China is a market socialist economy which is integrated within the world economy. Consequently, the PRC trying to coerce other nations into submission only serves in the long term to threaten international business confidence which could in turn endanger the global economy.
The consequence of an international economic meltdown for the PRC could lead to an internal financial collapse similar to the one which occurred in the mid-1940s which fuelled Chiang Kia-shek’s painful fall from power on the mainland. President Xi may think that eventual Chinese expansion into Russia’s Far East will enable him to perpetuate his personal domination. However, an international financial crisis in the meantime caused by President Xi’s reckless foreign policy might well precipitate an international financial crisis which in turn plunges China into internal turmoil.
The structural weaknesses within the PRC’s socio-economic and political system is already latently there as manifested by high levels of foreign debt, massive internal corruption and the plight of over two hundred million internal migrant workers who do not have stable employment. That is not to say that the PRC is not without formidable advantages, perhaps one of the most important being having a talented pool of brilliant technocrats who can manage China’s State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to avoid the onset of massive unemployment while also addressing the problem of internal migrant workers.
Integrated with the issue of transit migrant workers being burdened with precarious employment is the phenomenon of illegal independent trade unions mushrooming throughout mainland China. While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has the repressive infrastructure in place to suppress these independent trade unions the regime does not have the capacity to eventually eliminate them. This is because the emergence of independent trade unions is reflective of the wider structural problems within a market socialist economy which are being exacerbated by President Xi’s attempts to establish a personal dictatorship.
With regard to the PRC’s underlying problems, Portugal’s Estado Novo provides an historical example of where the military should have taken the opportunity which it had to have acted within institutional settings to have prodded those who were in power into adopting a new strategic direction so that upheaval (i.e. the April 1974 coup and its aftermath) could have later been averted. The PLA can also still do this by selecting a new CCP General-Secretary in 2017 and by also ensuring that an anti-corruption watchdog (similar to the Judicial Yuan on the Republic of China on Taiwan) is established in the future. Taking such innovative and strategic steps, as well as co-opting independent trade unions into the CCP’s fold so that this party can eventually transform from a Leninist party into a social democratic one, will ensure China’s continued long term viability as a united state.
Why the United States is also at The Crossroads
Even though the PRC is grappling with the inherent challenges associated with being dictatorship that is not to say that the United States as an established democracy is also not confronted with profound socio-economic and political challenges. A major problem which the United States is confronted with is that of the massive decline in manufacturing jobs which is occurring as the American economy transitions to being a predominately service based economy. At this important juncture in America’s and the world’s economic history the insights of Adam Smith, the great eighteenth century Anglo-Irish philosopher are apt. Adam Smith would undoubtedly now be aghast by the way in which contemporary neo-liberals have misconstrued his ideas concerning supply and demand to advocate for a win-lose socio-economic regime in which the owners of capital have an unfair advantage over labour and the broader consuming public.
Adam Smith (similar to Disraeli) envisaged society as an organic whole in which the public good should be sought. Therefore while the superiority of a supply side mechanism over a Marxist inspired command economic model has undoubtedly been conveyed this should not mean that the market should reign supreme without intermediary factors such as trade unions and that a public safety net should be discounted. The United States might well be headed for an administration led by a President Donald Trump in which the good of society as an organic whole is not pursued as part of public policy. Donald Trump seems to have a transactional view of international relations in which the United States’ relations with her allies would be based upon their economic worth and capacity to ‘contribute’ their ‘fair share’. This mindset of Donald Trump’s might also mean that the United States under his leadership will not support nations (such as Ukraine) at risk of being bullied or nations confronted by terrorist challenges such as Libya because there is no immediate or tangible benefit to the United States. Such an approach would be disastrous for the world. Except for the United States providing credit to Germany in the 1920s under the Dawes Plan, this isolationist approach which America adopted between the world wars was disastrous for the world. For the United States to again adopt a neo-isolationist approach in the era would be very detrimental. The ramifications of the United States’ failure to militarily intervene in the Syrian Civil War (2011- ) are testament to the terrible flow on effects that will occur. The refugee crisis which has ensued in Europe undoubtedly contributed to Britain’s Brexit vote as well as the resurgence of a eurosceptic far right in Germany and the prospect of the extremist National Front’s Marine Le Pen qualifying for the first round in France’s 2017 presidential election. Furthermore, the reluctance of President Obama to have a more assertive policy in Syria has been interpreted by Vladimir Putin as American weakness so that Russian airpower is being deployed (albeit ineffectively) in Syria and there is the prospect of republican Iran also counter-productively committing ground troops to Syria.
President Putin does not seem to realize that the long term ramifications of his Syrian policy are to re-create a bi-polar world in which Russia is aligned to the PRC. The consequences of a Sino-Russian alliance eventually will be that the PRC (unless she moves towards becoming a democracy) will be in a position to eventually appropriate the underpopulated Russian Far-East. If President Putin is to be a statesman who can safeguard his nation’s long-term interests (encompassing Russian territorial integrity) then he should look at Russia entering into a strategic partnership with the United States and eventually joining either the EU or the EFTA. A win-win approach that Russia could adopt in Syria which might serve as the basis for improved relations with the United States and the EU would be to exercise influence over Syria’s President Bashar Assad to appoint a prime minister who has the backing of the Free-Syrian Army. The adoption a French type system of political ‘cohabitation’ provides the best practical course of action so that a genuine Syrian government of *national unity can be formed to defeat the Islamic State (IS).
(*Hopefully President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry will devote their remaining months in office to facilitate the formation of a genuine Syrian government of national unity to overcome the major foreign policy failure of the Obama administration).
After IS has been defeated a parliamentary system of government can be adopted in Syria in which a government must have a two-thirds legislative majority. Such a high bar would ensure that the minority communities such as the Alawites and the Christians would undoubtedly continue to support the Baath Party would be accommodated in a future democratic Syria. The Obama administration will hopefully reach out to President Putin to adopt a new accommodative policy in Syria.
With regard to American foreign policy in the Middle East under President Obama it has not been (with the exception of Syria) that disastrous. However, the Obama admiration’s failure to adopt a more proactive Syrian policy has caused a refugee policy crisis in Europe which led to the Brexit vote and threatens German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is the bulwark for freedom and democracy in Europe in the face of Russia’s aggressive and ultimately counterproductive foreign policy. However, the Obama administration has had its foreign policy successes such as the United State’s participation in the NATO air campaign in Libya in 2011 in the short term saved thousands of brave civilians demonstrating against the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi from been slaughtered while in the longer term allowing the Libyan people to overthrow the Gaddafi dictatorship.
Incredibly, if not ironically, it has been some of the Republican (Grand Old Party, GOP) 2016 presidential candidates, the most prominent being Donald Trump, have condemned Hillary Clinton for helping instigate American military intervention in Libya. There has even been the perverse argument that it would have been better had Qaddafi been left in power! This is inspite of Qaddafi’s undoubted involvement in ordering the blowing up of the Pan Am plane flying over Britain in late in late 1988 in which over 240 passengers (including Americans) were killed.
The GOP criticism of Secretary Clinton has been that it would have been better to have left Qaddafi in power on the basis that the vacuum which was created would be filled by al-Qaeda/IS. It is true that this scenario has come to pass. However, to bring Qaddafi down as dictator was not the solution to Libya’s problems but only part of the overall solution. What is vital after a dictator has been brought down is the follow-up.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has fulfilled a vital role in reconciling the two rival Libyan governments (based respectively in Tripoli and Tobruk, with the latter being democratically elected) in forming a national unity government. The United States is now pursuing a military strategy in Libya which is redolent of the military ideas of the brilliant British military strategist General Orde Wingate. The Wingate military strategy was one of deploying ships off-shore and then sending ground troops in to assist the local troops before judiciously withdrawing after territory had been retaken. This strategy also entailed providing air support to troops on the ground. The Wingate military strategy will eventually succeed in Libya, thereby vindicating the original American decision to provide air support to bring Qaddafi down. Similarly, despite the mistake of precipitously withdrawing American ground troops from Iraq in 2012 as a residual force, the United States is acting correctly by belonging to an international coalition which is providing air support to the Iraqi government so that Baghdad will eventually defeat IS.
With the benefit of hindsight the United States should have employed a Wingate military strategy in Vietnam rather than get bogged down in a military quagmire. Indeed, the Vietnam War was effectively lost because a Wingate military strategy was not employed after 1973 when the remaining American ground troops had withdrawn.
Had American aircraft carriers remained off the coast of Vietnam then American planes could have bombed North Vietnamese/Viet Cong troop movements in South Vietnam as the communists moved to violate the terms of the 1973 Peace Agreement. Even had the United States not provided such military support to South Vietnam and the Khmer Republic, these two nations after 1973 might have survived the oncoming communist onslaught had the Democratic Congressional majority not denied them military aid.
As previously mentioned it is therefore ironic that it is now the GOP under Donald Trump who is moving toward a neo-isolationist American foreign policy. This irony is compounded because it is the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (who once supported the neo-isolationist Senator George Mc Govern for president in 1972) who has an internationalist outlook which might further the positive historical impact of the Reagan presidency in laying the groundwork for the spread of democracy around the world.
That Donald Trump is moving away from post-war GOP internationalist foreign traditions is not really surprising because this presidential candidate is not actually a conventional Republican. Rather, Trump is a populist who has exploited economic uncertainty to reach out to frightened American voters to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Accordingly, as an outsider, despite current opinion polls, Trump may still win the presidency in 2016!
Trump is effectively applying a Lasch political strategy of reaching out to disaffected voters who are frightened about their economic future. The effect of the mainstream American and international media may ridiculing Trump may be to gain him support from disaffected voters so that he actually wins the presidency. When Donald Trump speaks about adopting a tougher immigration policy he is really sending a subliminal message to millions of Americans whose job security is threatened that he will protect their interests.
Indeed, the rate of technological change is such that jobs all round the world are threatened, particularly in manufacturing sectors. Technological advancement has progressed to the stage that computer programmed machines and/or computers can by initially recording data be in a position to eventually undertake jobs which were once undertaken by humans. Even work involving human mental input such as teachers and academics correcting assignments are on course to been marked by computers!
The Onset of Technological Disruption
This technological advancement in which human labour is displaced is collectively known as ‘disruption’. Disruptive technological advancement is such that some (but not all) the complex tasks the medical doctors and lawyers undertake might become computer automated. However jobs involving the exercise of human mental creativity are apparently immune from disruption.
Nevertheless, the question has to be answered as to how can human employment be protected against the profound challenge which is posed by disruption? It should be pointed out in answering this question that the human experience has previously encountered and generally successfully surmounted the challenge of technological change facilitating short term job losses going back to the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The great Austro-American economist and academic Joseph Schumpeter in the 1940s formulated the concept of’ creative destruction’ to explain how new technology, while initially causing unemployment, eventually can, by spurring economic growth precipitate greater employment. There are some gaps with regard to Schumpeter’s concept which is unfortunate because theoretical and practical guidance will be needed in the immediate future as to how to adapt to technological disruption over the next three to five years because the impact of technological disruption might be monumentally negative.
The broad policy advice which can be advocated is line with that of Adam Smith. This great economic philosopher correctly focused on the necessity for wealth creation for the general good of society. It was this focus on the overall good of society as opposed to the individual (who should still be respected) which distinguished Disraeli from Gladstone in nineteenth century British politics which led to the Tory Party eventually triumphing over the Liberals in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, in the meantime there was considerable socio-economic, military and political turmoil which Great Britain was confronted by.
Broadly speaking governments around the world (with the United States hopefully leading the way) will have to adhere to Smith’s dictum regarding wealth generation for the good of society been achieved if a profound crisis for humanity is to be avoided. The overall impact of technological disruption will be that there will be a shift away from manufacturing to service delivery. If governments can still generate wealth in a technologically disrupted era then there will be sufficient demand for services so that there will be satisfactory levels of employment which will be created. With regard to technological advancement (with the internet being a prime example) there now is considerable scope to create new employment opportunities in areas such as marketing and selling.
Therefore, the American voting public have an important choice before them in deciding whether to elect Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their next president. Although Social Action is orientated in the context of American politics toward supporting GOP presidential candidates, the incredible importance of the 2016 US presidential election is such that a vote for Hillary Clinton is advocated. The above endorsement is made on the basis that there is a better chance of a Hillary Clinton administration adopting taxation and employment policies which lead to positive employment generating creative destruction rather than that of a Donald Trump administration. Under the latter a scenario of a Trump administration it is probable that public policy will ensure that disruptive technological advancement is be exploited to create business corporate profits by eliminating excess labour. This will ensure mass unemployment and disruption in the context of societal upheaval.
Hopefully a Hillary Clinton administration will appoint talented and innovative officials (including cabinet secretaries) who will ensure that positive creative destruction will generate employment in an inevitably more service based economy. Public policies which have been applied in Japan and Sweden could be studied and considered by a Hillary Clinton administration because they are orientated toward achieving employment maximization.
With regard to Sweden this kingdom is more social democratic than socialist as there is a deep respect for private property rights. Swedish public policy since the 1930s has emphasised the development of human capital in which successful education and training policies have been applied to promote full-employment. Another nation which has a very successful, if not outstanding education system is Finland where there is consequently next to no poverty.
It therefore will not only be important as to who will be the next American president but who will be the next American education secretary. It would be brilliant if the next American education secretary worked with the state governments to ensure that no primary or secondary students regardless of their socio-economic background are left behind with regard to being adept with digital technology. Furthermore, the next American secretary of education can also ensure that resources are placed into American community colleges so that graduates will have the capacity to launch start-up businesses s so that there will be a services sector which generates and sustains employment to overcome the profound challenge of technological disruption. Therefore by having an outstanding American education and training system in not only could the potentially disastrous ramifications of technological disruption be overcome but previous deep seated socio-economic problems which have confronted American society such as systemic poverty could be successfully addressed.
Can Hillary Clinton and the GOP Effectively Counter Trump’s Application of a Lasch Strategy?
If there is to be a future President Hillary Clinton than she will not only need the support of a GOP majority Congress to implement a new policy in education and training but also possible covert Republican support to be elected president in the first place! Donald Trump was able to win the GOP presidential nomination despite the intense opposition of the Republican Party establishment by successfully appealing to so many economically vulnerable whites who are legitimately worried about their future. There are now signs that Donald Trump is now effectively appealing to the economically vulnerable within minority communities such as Hispanics that he may well actually win the presidency this November!
It is clear from the analysis of American opinion poll data that the public is disenchanted with both major party presidential candidates so that the one which voters feel more negative about will lose the election. Currently the conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump is the presidential candidate who more people feel negative about that he will lose the election. However, there is a danger that because Trump is being attacked by the mainstream media and the political establishment that there could be a backlash amongst economically vulnerable voters that enough of them (including non-Anglo-Celts) will elect him as president. Even though President Trump would have been elected on a GOP ticket it is clear that he despises the Republican Party establishment that he would lack a sufficient powerbase as president for his administration to be effective. To avoid this terrible scenario Hillary Clinton will need to be elected president with covert GOP support so that she can subsequently lead an administration with strong bi-partisan basis to ensure that positive creative destruction will be generated to overcome the acute danger of technological disruption causing mass unemployment. Covert GOP support for Hillary Clinton can be facilitated by enough of the Republican Party’s three thousand county chairmen covertly delivering on the ground support for the Democratic presidential party nominee so that she will win the presidency. Democrat county chairmen can reciprocate by also covertly supporting Republican Party congressional candidates in districts where GOP county chairmen are covertly supporting the Clinton-Kaine ticket.
Should the above political game plan come to pass then it is almost inevitable that there will be GOP majority in the House of Representatives with Paul Ryan as Speaker. It will therefore be imperative that a President Hillary Clinton and Speaker Ryan co-operate with each other to promote public policy which generates positive employment generating creative destruction. For this to occur, Speaker Ryan will have to follow in the proactive footsteps of his fellow party-man Newt Gingrich who brilliantly served as House Speaker between early 1995 and early 1999. While the American public is yet to warm to Hillary Clinton, she nevertheless has a capacity to act resolutely to protect vulnerable people wherever they may be. Consequently as American president, Hillary Clinton would safeguard American employees against the possible ravages of neo-liberalism while also ensuring that the United States stands up for the interests of small nations and people’s fighting for human rights and democracy around the world. Consequently a Hillary Clinton presidency might illustrate that you can enter into alliances with political opponents (such as Speaker Paul Ryan) without compromising your personal integrity