Friday, May 29, 2015

Whatever Happened to The Third Way of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair?

The Third Way is a position that tries to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by synthesizing conservative economic and social welfare policies.  It was exemplified by a group of political leaders in the 1990s that included President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, and leaders of Brazil, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Israel.

The Third Way dissipated after Clinton and Blair left office, becoming the way to acquire vast fortunes.  President Bill Clinton accumulated an estimated $130 million in personal wealth, Tony Blair anywhere between $45-100 million, and Al Gore $300 million.

Many politicians and appointed officials of all stripes–left, center and right-prosper after they leave office.  These include cabinet officials, agency heads, generals, legislators, governors, mayors, and other prominent public officials.  Public service has become a path to millions in private (self) service.  No doubt President Obama will top them all with a book contract, board memberships, speaking fees, investments, and partnerships.

It is not illegal to reap large rewards trading on influence and contacts made during office after leaving office.  Nor is it necessarily unethical.

Your friendly proprietor believes that “public service,” which conveys a higher order of virtue than earning a living in the private sector, should not be a means to acquire large fortunes.  It demeans the high offices these individuals held.  He finds this kind of money-grubbing distasteful, unbecoming, and undignified.  Better are the words of Star Trek’s Lieutenant Worf, “they have no honor.”

Is it any wonder that public servants are held in such low regard.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Identity Politics in the United Kingdom

Why did the pollsters get it so wrong in the United Kingdom?  How can this be?

The pollsters were not willing to accept the rise of identity politics. They could think only in conventional class terms of right vs. left, Conservative vs. Labor.. 

Identity prevailed:

Scots voted for Scotland (the Scottish National Party).
English voted for England (the Conservative Party).

Diversity failed:

Diversity oriented Brits voted for a United Kingdom (Labour, Liberal Democrats).  They were trounced.

Ethnicity is now the dominant factor in British politics.  Get used to it.