Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Guardian Protects Its Poly Readership



Actually, the writer in question is a woman and not a man, but it is probably safe to assume that she holds her degrees from a real, Russell Group, university and not a double glazing firm.

Unlike the Guardian's readership who get very shirty when they are reminded of just how third-rate they are.

Monday, 2 July 2018

AMLO Is the New Mexican President


Not the greatest photo that I've ever posted to head a piece, but an important one since it was sent to me by a Mexican voter seconds after she had left the polling station having voted in the most democratic presidential election in that country's history. Her thumb was stained by a special ink that will take some days to wear off to show that she had voted and prevent her from voting again.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO to friend and foe alike, will take office on the 1st December this year for a six-year term having garnered roughly 54% of the popular vote. His coalition also has about two-thirds of the 300 seats in the House of Deputies, and may even have a majority in the 96-seat Senate. 

The importance of this election has less to do with AMLO's stunning victory and more to do with the reaction of the defeated candidates. For the first time since Mexico's first democratic election in 1994, the losers have accepted the result and congratulated AMLO on his victory.

Normally, they would do as AMLO did back in 2006 and try to use cries of foul along with street protests to undermine the new ruler. The fact that this has not happened in 2018 gives hope that Mexico has passed out of the transition phase from the old dictatorship and into a new, fully democratic era.

AMLO's victory will be greeted by the toy-town left in Britain, but it is quite likely that they will be in for a nasty surprise when they see what his policies are and where his votes come from. AMLO actually has more in common with Donald Trump than either man would like to admit, so hopefully, relations with the USA may even improve.



AMLO shares with Trump an indifference to foreign policy coupled with a dislike of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Furthermore, he was elected by people who loath it for the same reason that working people in this country hate the European Union: NAFTA involved dismantling the old, protected Mexican economic model and allowing American exports to flood into the country.

Today, thanks to NAFTA, American corn dominates the Mexican market, which is why the sons of Mexico's farmers are off a-wetbacking in the USA rather than doing as generations did before them, which was growing Mexican corn for Mexican tortillas, subsidised by Mexican pesos from the federal government.

Similarly, the days when just about any product sold in Mexico had to be made in Mexico have ended. Mexican cars may have been a generation behind what was sold in the USA, but their production guaranteed employment for tens of thousands of workers. Yes, NAFTA has led to new car plants that produce state of the art vehicles, but they do not employ the vast army that used to work in the old closed economy and nor are the workers' rights to permanent employment as guaranteed as they were.

Mexico's wealthy, and the growing middle-class who suck up to the wealthy, have done well out of the new dispensation, but the bulk of the population are as desperate for change as we were in 2016 when we told the EU to take its hook. The Mexicans want protectionism and will look to AMLO to start giving it to them, just as their counterparts in the USA look to Trump.

Another factor that may leave the western wankerati feeling left out is the fact that throughout the campaign, AMLO has said next to nothing about the social issues that the wankerati find so important. So, he is unlikely to push for a constitutional amendment that will allow abortion nationwide and nor will he seek to do anything much in the way of pandering to homosexuals, feminists and the like. Such matters will probably be left to the states and to Mexico City which has all the powers of a state, without actually being one.

Corruption was a big issue in this campaign, as was the undeclared civil war that has led to thousands of deaths. The former is something that Mexicans always say they oppose, but don't really want to do much about since they tend to dream about getting a tasty government job that will give them access to bribes. The drugs' war hopefully will be halted in the old way by calling the various participants in and offering them a deal in return for the government getting its cut of the action. That's the way that Mexico used to work, and AMLO is very much a man who believes in the old values of the country.
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