Gordon Brown appealed to Labour yesterday to not become a party of protest. I am not a member of the Labour Party and he once led it. Of course he has the right to say just that, and to honestly hold his opinion.
But, I have to say, I think he is missing the point. My evidence comes from the USA. Something quite unexpected is happening there. As The Daily Caller reports (but the sentiments are widely replicated in polls and commentary in the US media):
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made dueling appearances just hours apart Saturday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. But if an informal straw poll conducted by the Iowa Secretary of State is any reliable measure of whose visit was more successful, the Vermont senator clearly won the day.
According to the Iowa secretary of state’s website, which monitors the votes in real-time, more than 52 percent of Democrats who have cast a vote in the straw poll say they support Sanders. Just over 41 percent said they support Clinton.
For those who do not know Sanders Wikipedia says of the 73 year old:
Sanders is the juniorUnited States Senator from Vermont and a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history. A self-described democratic socialist, he favors policies similar to those of social democratic parties in Europe, particularly those of Scandinavia. He caucuses with the Democratic Party and has been the ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee since January 2015.
And he is giving Clinton a run for her money. Does that resonate with anyone?
What I suggest is happening is not protest, which is a negative sentiment, but a positive appeal for change, which is something very different. Of course those who represent the system that is being rejected do not like that fact. Why would they? And it is bizarre that it is taking older politicians to lead that process of change on both sides of the Atlantic, except for the fact that both have stood outside the system for so long that they have won the right to do so and be trusted when saying that is what they want. But the fact is that I genuinely believe that the political establishment - and especially the Democrats and Labour, are both reading this incorrectly. I reiterate: this is not a moment of protest, it is a pivot point. After this, I think, everything will be different whoever wins the contest in the US and the UK.