Guest post: The politics of Nimbyism

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on If they cannot answer a simple question.

Would Labour expect to go unchallenged if it had screwed over workers rights in favour of bosses, in the process espousing a mistaken and distorted view of relevant law promulgated by the bosses themselves?

That’s… pretty much New Labour though.

I mean, even from people who support that shift, you get the criticism that pre-Blair Labour “was mired in an ossified form of unionism and leftism that refused to recognise that the world had fundamentally changed. A spent political force facing oblivion” to quote Rob.

And there is some merit to that.

The British economy is 80% service sector. Contrast with 1950, when it was an even split between service sector and everything else. Classical “workers rights” approaches that focus on the shop floor, need to have shop floors to be relevant enough to win elections.

So however one may feel about it, Labour hasn’t really been a worker’s party for decades, to the point where suggesting it should be is controversial within the party.

Labour’s problem is that it is a centrist, not leftist, party. Centrism is often the politics of Nimbyism. This is what it means to be economically conservative, and socially liberal – left only so far as it is not your backyard.

I’m a guy, women’s rights aren’t my backyard. Rapists getting into women’s prisons for example, isn’t going to hurt me much, if I went to prison it would be to a men’s prison and having fewer rapists around would be, if anything, to my benefit in that circumstance.

Women’s sports, are sports I don’t compete in. Any concerns around trans inclusion in women’s sports aren’t in my backyard. I don’t go to women’s toilets unless the men’s side is out of order and there’s a pre-arrangement to that effect, so, that’s not really in my backyard either.

I could very easily proclaim TWAW and the costs of saying that, would fall on someone else. I can proclaim “TERFs” deeply “privileged” because it isn’t my prison, it isn’t my sports, and it isn’t my toilet.

At the same time, I’m relatively economically comfortable with a positive bank balance. I’ve got no debt, I’ve got savings. Raising wages, putting in market protections for local businesses and building a strong social welfare system raises economic demand, which also increases production thus reducing unemployment, but at the cost of higher inflation. If I were in debt, higher inflation would mean the bank eating some of that debt, but as I have savings, that’s not personally desirable for me.

If I was British, I would be the target market for New Labour. Being economically leftwing costs me money, whereas being socially leftwing costs me nothing. Centrism has the profound benefit of not being in my backyard.

Labour cannot campaign on economics, because to do so is to tread in the Nimby’s backyard. Pushing identity bullshit thus has to serve as a means of establishing leftwing credibility in its stead.

The current state of disorder within Labour is a natural result of centrist Nimbyism, and not everybody is a Nimby. To break out of that, requires some serious consideration of what Labour is really about – sans identity issues.

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