A response to identity politics needs to unite not divide

A characteristic of today’s western political divides has been the rise of identity politics, who you are politically and who and what you identify with*. In particular this has seen the growth of political tribalism that is different from traditional party politics and even cuts across it. Such people are often angry and hostile towards traditional cosmopolitan liberalism and seek to take back control, as with “America First”, exit from the EU or Islamaphobia. Many observers have been baffled by these movements, seeing them as irrational, foolish and impractical, and have been bereft of effective responses other than trying to deny them their victory. Instead the response has been to abuse and denounce them, which has simply fuelled the anger and caused them to double-down behind their cause. In the case of Trump and Brexiters, this would relate to white, … Read more

Is the moral compass of today’s politics too weak?

It’s something many “secular” minded people might resent, but it’s very refreshing to have a warning from the Church of England that today’s politics is setting people against one another and scapegoating vulnerable groups. It is being said that politicians are deficient in their moral compass. People might not like having religious groups commenting on the political arena, especially as there is such a marked trend away from traditional religious observance, and yet it has often been the role of such people to comment on ethical matters. As we move into the heat of the 2015 election battle it is worth stepping back and reflecting on what’s going on. When we’re in the midst of things happening it can be hard to step back and observe what’s happening. We get caught up in our lives and can’t see the bigger … Read more

The politics of scarcity in a time of rapid change can be toxic

Today the politics of scarcity sees a major change in social policy The observer of political trends might be curious about the mega-whammy apparently happening from today, the changes to “welfare entitlement” being introduced in the UK. On 1 April a whole raft of changes are occuring, that will probably have a major impact on the bottom percentile of the population, while in the same week the top rate of income tax comes down from 50% to 45%. The contrast is stark, and deliberate. It might be even more curious a phenomenon when we put this into the context of the renewed focus on the troubles of the Eurozone and the continuing signs of the deep and growing recession in the South as Cyprus joins the “PIGS” countries subject to the dictates of Northern-led austerity. Both in the UK and … Read more

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