J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

So, the author of the Harry Potter books has come out hard against Jeremy Corbyn, and for Blairism. She has defended the Blairite legacy, and she has some good points: There were more nurses and teaching assistants, for example.

One could note that Blairism, as with all neo-liberalism before the crash of 07/8, was unsustainable. It was based on bubbles. Though it is true that Blairites did distribute more money than Conservatives have past the bubble: Insane austerity was not yet the guiding principle of the day.

Unsustainable means “helped cause the crash.” It’s true that Blairites would be less cruel than Conservatives, and it is also true that almost every MP who opposed Corbyn also abstained from voting against Welfare cuts, for example.

I don’t want to get too down on Rowling. As very rich people go, she’s a pretty good one. She doesn’t dodge taxes, she supports social welfare spending, and so on. “High” UK taxes are why she’s no longer quite a billionaire. (Quite; you needn’t worry she’ll be on the rolls again.)

But I think to understand Rowling’s love of Blairism one should understanding three things. First, she got welfare and doesn’t seem, again, to have noticed that the Blairites she loves are now anti-welfare.

Here are the other two things which might be important to understand Rowling’s love of neoLiberalism:


Top Tax Rates

Top Tax Rates

Whatever else is true of Corbyn, if he becomes Prime Minister, he will raise taxes on the rich.


UK one percent share of income to 2005

UK one percent share of income to 2005

Blairism is kinder-gentler Thatcherism. It is neoliberalism, and rich people have done very well under neoliberalism. Though this chart doesn’t show it, the top .1 percent do even better, the top .01 percent even better, and so on.

I don’t doubt Rowling’s good will, or her concern for those who have less money than she does. She’s put up by paying taxes she could have dodged. But that doesn’t alter the fact that neoliberalism has been very good to her, and she’d have been a ton less rich if the policies Corbyn favors, as epitomized by tax rates after WWII, plus far less generous copyright protection, had been in force.

Blairite neoliberalism, like Clintonianism, is the policy regime that lets rich and upper class people feel good about themselves. They get most of the benefits of neoliberalism without having to watch a boot stomping a face over and over again, as under Cameron.

That doesn’t alter the fact that neoliberalism is a cruel, unsustainable policy regime based on exporting British manufacturing, favoring “the City” and the financial industry over all others, and on pushing income and ownership of assets towards a small number of people. Nor did that change under Blairite Labour.

Rowling, of course, also thinks that Corbyn can’t win. Maybe he can, maybe he can’t. It’s certainly true that Labour infighting has seen the polls move heavily against Labour. It’s not clear, however, that this is Corbyn’s fault, or that it will be true come election time, or that a Blairite leader could win election either. Labour has been losing, and its collapse in Scotland did not happen while Corbyn was leader, nor probably would have, as it was driven in part by anger at austerity policies which Labour refused to oppose.

All this, however, is neither there nor that. The bottom line is that being a Blairite, Clintonian, or other third-way type, allows the rich and well-off to have their wealth and their tax cuts, and feel good about themselves.  Rowling may be 100 percent motivated by the milk of human kindness, but she is still supporting a regime that has done very, very well for her against the possibility of a change which would damage her financial position significantly.

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