Get off the stage, Pat McFadden
In an article explaining why Labour is doomed, Alix Mortimer roundly castigates our up and coming wannabe parliamentarians – so many of whom richly deserve it, being second rate wannabes. However, for my liking Alix spends far too little time on the shower of bastards we already have at the top of the Party. Example was given to this sentiment by today’s headlines from the BBC – turns out business minister Pat McFadden has been complaining that the Unions don’t talk up Labour’s achievements enough.
My query is this: why should they? Sure, Labour may have thrown one or two sops to the Unions but the overriding message of Tony’s 1997 takeover was “business as usual”. And so it was – the crippling restrictions on industrial action remain in place. The Labour Party leadership remains inert on the subject of outsourcing, the appalling conditions faced by immigrant labour and many of the other issues which are holding back an activist agenda on the part of many sections of the Trades Union movement.
The minimum wage was great – in fact, I benefitted from it – but it’s not enough. The point of New Labour was to suggest that there would be no radical change to life in Britain, a jettisoning of ‘outdated’ policies and ideologies that threatened to actually up-end the balance of power in the UK between the ruling and the ruled. And now Labour apparatchiks want us to talk up their achievements of the past, right when the whole economic system is telling us that the achievements of the past are but molehills compared to what we need?
Bugger that for a game of soldiers.
Talking up the achievements of the past – such as campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversay of the NHS – is only relevant when the achievements of the present can be lightly dismissed. Labour is stuck in the mud, with no policy – especially on things like civil liberties – which the Tories can’t claim to match, so of course they’re going to want banal puff pieces talking up what Labour has done so far. The problem is, vast chunks of what Labour has done is disastrous – such as the privatisations – and they’re still at it!
That’s why at his TUC speech, Pat McFadden was met by a protest of CWU members at the proposed changes to the Royal Mail.
Gushing bullshit about “Labour’s achievements” are more often the preserve of silly, politics-lite wannabes such as Miranda Grell than cabinet ministers – and this should tell us something about how desperate Labour leaders have become. Whether the “NHS at 60” nonsense (an NHS which, incidentally, is increasingly privatised, increasingly inefficient – whether on hygiene or learning disabilities) or the rubbish from the Guardian about which “old Labour” figure ministers most liked, it’s time to stop talking about the achievements of the past.
There’s a bloody election coming up – right now would be a good time to tell us what Labour is seeking a mandate for after the next Parliament. But to actually tell that story will be to excite no one because the answer is more of the same: more dubious centralisation, ever more invasive laws on privacy and the internet, continuing privatisations, a country working longer hours than anywhere in Europe with a lower Quality of Life score and with health and transport networks that need massive investment and planning.
Except Labour just spent the money on bailing out banks, which, it turns out, are reluctant to actually change their policies. And this despite an opposition which is caught between the hammer of its own pro-market rhetoric and the anvil of popular suspicion that actually all avowed capitalists are rat bastard scavengers who should be hanged.