Thursday, 4 June 2009

Brown may go on, but Labour is finished

The next seven days will decide the fate of Gordon Brown, and despite the confident predictions of his imminent political demise I'm not so sure. Brown is as ruthless and cunning as an old dog fox; he's had plenty of practice surviving, even if he's no longer sure what for. His political obituary has already been written, and whether he goes next week or next year won't change the substance of it.

The Guardian was half-right yesterday when it solemnly intoned "The truth is that there is no vision from him, no plan, no argument for the future and no support. The public see it. His party sees it.", but it is not only Brown that this applies to, but the Labour Party itself.

For recent years, Labour has coasted along on an arrogant assumption that they have a monopoly of social concern, that they alone can redistribute our aggregate wealth to the benefit of those who have less than the average. They have also tried to apply this to education, skills, ability, talent and health, oblivious to the reality that unlike income the determinants of ability and merit and personal responsibility cannot be taxed and redistributed. Their failure is manifest.

Above all, Labour just can't abandon the very rock on which the party is built - collectivism on a national scale - at a time when the zeitgeist, like a vast supertanker, is turning away from this course. Trying to fit an awkward sort of centrally-controlled communitarianism into a socialist framework only exposes the bankruptcy of their ideology. For as long as they don't trust people to make the best decisions about their own lives and about their communities - and they never will - they have nothing more to offer. The Labour State still decides in Whitehall that your playground needs a new swing; asking you what colour you'd like is not local democracy.

I have before me a seminal little book entitled 'Renewal - Labour's Britain in the 1980s'. Edited by Gerald Kaufman, it is a collection of pieces by the Labour Shadow Cabinet intended to redefine the party in the face of Thatcherism. Albert Booth, Don Concannon, Brynmor John, Bruce Millan, Stanley Orme, Merlyn Rees, Peter Shore, Eric Varley, John Silkin .... and the rest. It is a confection of central State control; 'radical' reorganisation of State structures, a greater role for the central State in every aspect of our lives. Overblown with pomposity, it declares for example;
We aim to free working people from the economic chains of unemployment, inequality, deprivation and indignity with which the capitalist system binds them. We intend to scrap the anachronism of industrial feudalism that still disfigures Britain. By taking democracy inside the factory gates and through the office doors, we shall establish the basis for social justice.
In the end it was none of this fine socialist rhetoric that returned Labour to power in 1997; it was Tony Blair, with his coprophage grin and young children, who put personality before ideology. Absent Blair, you could feel Labour retreating to the comfort zone of their bankrupt ideology. Comrades will read John Smith today with tears of fond nostalgia in their eyes. Gordon Brown finds himself very much at home in the pages of 'Renewal' - indeed, I'm half-convinced he based his last conference speech on it. There's something very 1980s about Gordon.

Whether 2009 will be the blow for Labour that 1922 was for the Liberals remains to be seen. Or maybe Labour will go out not with a bang but with a prolonged whinge. But across the nation electors are asking themselves 'what are Labour for?' and not finding an answer.

5 comments:

BrianSJ said...

This is exactly right. They have taken on an entirely statist role for its own sake. They have not done the job of restraining capitalism; where were they while Goldman Sachs and the like took billions from us? The old labour party went with Red Robbo. Thankfully.

talwin said...

I read Tom Bower's unauthorised biography, 'Gordon Brown', open-mouthed at what a shit he is (and, significantly, nobody ever rebutted what the well-informed Bower said). But Brown cunning? Not all sure. Rude, over-bearing, a bully, grudge-bearing, ruthless and anti-social: no doubt.

Read the book if you can & everything about the dysfunctional Brown becomes clear.

The Great Simpleton said...

I recieved a text from my son at 10:30 this morning offering a £10 bet that Gordon will be gone by next Thursday afternoon, with PMQ's the killer moment.

I also saw that Mark Reckon's is offering £10 that he will be gone by the end of the month.

I took them both. Brown is too much of a moral coward to resign. The rest of the Labour MP's are like rabbits caught in headlights. They were all selected to be supine lobby fodder who would do what they were told. They won't be able generate the collective nerve to go against the bullies and eject him, despite waht Mardell claims about round robin emails.

Budgie said...

I agree with The Great Simpleton that "Brown is too much of a moral coward to resign." Brown has no honour and no shame.

But Labour does not consist just of Brown. Brown has forgotten his real electorate which is the party itself and Labour will not forgive him for the damage he is doing to it (they don't count the country). He could well be gone by the end of the month.

Nick von Mises said...

I suffered through BBC2's political panel last night desperately trying to polish the turd that is Labour. Funny to watch the less decisive rats still aboard the sinking ship.

Has anyone found an analysis of just how bad Labour is ruined for the future. Talking about their debt, their contributions, the likely defections of "talent" to LibDems/Con, closure of local parties, comparison to Tories in 1997 etc?