Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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The LP Leadership Candidates All Have Blue Minds.

Mick Hall looks at the battle for the leadership of the British Labour Party. Mick Hall blogs @ Organized Rage.

The LP leadership candidates all have blue minds. They spout neo liberal drivel as if it were fact, instead of corporate generated propaganda.
What would Clem have thought about his party today?

In previous generations most of the current candidates for the Labour Party leadership would have been lucky to have risen to the second leadership tier. It's not surprising as they have spent most of their working lives within the Westminster bubble working for Think Tanks or as Government Special Advisers, which in so many ways makes them unsuitable to lead the party. Their political horizons cannot but be narrow.
 
It also explains some of there statements, which are reactionary to the core, and are clearly designed to send a message to the likes of the Murdoch media and the Banksters in the city of London. Its as if they are collectively crying out, you have nothing to fear from us.

No where is this better demonstrated than their allegiance to globalisation and neo liberalism. One only has to read their comments recently to understand this. They use neo liberal buzz words and prattle on about aspiration as if it's a fresh idea, never mind in my 66 years I have only rarely met a parent who didn’t want their child to get on in life.

Some of their comments have been astounding at times. One candidate agrees with the Tories that when in government Labour overspent recklessly; on what they failed to say. Another claims the party's election campaign was a disaster, and the country is firmly conservative. Never mind the Tories gained only 36.7% of the vote, with nearly two thirds of the electorate voting against them. A third believes Labour's 2015 manifesto commitment to deny all benefits to migrants for the first two years was too liberal, and should actually be doubled to four years.

Without raising a murmur from any of them, a candidate for the deputy leadership came out with this gem; "Labour needs to start attacking benefit scroungers" who need a "kick up the backside" Which in itself must raise questions about whose interest these people serve?

After the Department for Work and Pensions own experts recently reported 40,000 more children will be pushed into poverty by the lowering of the benefit cap by the Tory government, Deputy leader Harriet Harman said Labour was "sympathetic" to the government's plan to reduce the household benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000. How did the candidates respond? Not one broke ranks and said to force ever more people and upwards of 40 thousand children into poverty is a national scandal, its something I cannot support. Instead they either said nothing or prattled on about aspiration, seemingly oblivious to the fact the very Tory policy they are acquiescing to will make it all the harder for these 40,000 children.

The question which we all need to ponder is are these candidates unaware the Tory strategy is to use austerity not as they claim as a short-term disruption to balance the books, but as a means to demolish the welfare state and further privatise the NHS? If they're unaware of this which seems unlikely, they're unfit to lead the LP. If they are aware then they must agree with Cameron, for how else can they explain their smearing of benefit claimants and others which is clearly part of the Tories strategy?

The 2015 general election was the most disproportionate result in British election history. Labour saw their vote share increase while their number of seats collapsed. The Conservatives won an overall majority on a minority of the vote, and the Liberal Democrats lost nearly all their seats despite winning 8% of the vote. The SNP won 50% of the Scottish vote share, but 95% of Scottish seats.

As Grenville Wall wrote in a letter to the Guardian, the British electoral system might best be described as disproportional misrepresentation. The Electoral Reform Society website pointed out one of the main lessons to be learnt from the 2015 general election is the current system of first past the post is no longer fit for purpose in a modern democracy. Yet the candidates have little to say about this. Let alone demand the first past the post electoral system should be replaced with a single transferable vote system of proportional representation. Why? Could it be because they are quite comfortable with the status quo?

To solve this democratic disconnect will take far more than introducing PR, as welcome as that will be. For the democratic deficit in the UK goes way beyond the voting system.

The majority of people in the UK remain within the social democratic camp. True, they are not on the left as we socialists understand it, but they are equally not on the far right epitomised by David Cameron and the Blarites. By the way to suggest the current government is on the centre ground as the mainstream media does is an aberration of British history.

The LP's failure at the last election was not because it was too far to the left as some of the candidates claim but because Miliband failed to convince the electorate he was serious about implementing his election manifesto. When Labour lost Scotland during the Blair and Brown years it lost any chance of winning in 2015. During the campaign Miliband tried to ride two horses, a conservative little Englander when it came to immigration and the SNP, and a left of centre social democrat when it came to the bedroom and mansion tax. Is it any wonder many former Labour voters failed to to vote for the party, when he said he would refuse to take office with the support of the SNP?

Politics is a tough business and if a LP leader refuses to use every means to gain power, he doesn't deserve it. Besides on societal issues you could not get a cigarette paper between Miliband's manifesto commitments and the SNP's.

Yet the leadership candidates will have none of this, they will take the LP to the reactionary right, if anyone doubts this consider this:

The so called left candidate Andy Burnham was responsible for setting up PFI within the NHS under the last Labour Government. He also says the mansion tax spoke to the politics of envy. Liz Kendall, the media's dog in the race, says Labour must "back business" and "embrace public sector reform, which is neoliberal code for privatisation. She also opposes the 50% top tax rate being permanent. Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls' wife, has condemned the Party's anti-business stance and claims company directors and hedge fund managers are wealth creators. Indeed they are, but wealth for whom? She also says corporation tax should also be cut. Perhaps it's high time the trade unions questioned whether by continuing to bankroll the LP they are getting value for money. After all Labour were in power for 13 years and not once did they even challenge Thatcher's anti trade union legisaltion, let alone remove it from the statute book.

In truth all of the leadership candidates are Orange Book liberals and we all know how that experiment ended.

2 comments :

AM said...

Mick,

if a LP leader refuses to use every means to gain power, he doesn't deserve it

I would much incline towards the opposite view - they only deserve power when they are unwilling to use every means to gain it.

DaithiD said...

The LP's failure at the last election was not because it was too far to the left as some of the candidates claim but because Miliband failed to convince the electorate he was serious about implementing his election manifesto.
Mick, from what I could tell, he might not of been too far to the Left, but he was painted as such because its such a voter turn off. I don’t really understand the strategy of getting someone who fits the tag all the easier?
That said,Ive seen Jeremy Corbyn speak many times, I adored his Iraq War critique.He actually divorced his wife because she wasn’t going to send their kids to a state comp, thats someone who doesn’t take feign positions for power, not your man either then!