Monday, January 18, 2010

History looks at New Labour

Guardian readers are regarded as champagne socialists. Here is a comment from one of them on how the Labour governments of the past 13 years will be regarded by history:

"The Labour Governments of 1997 - 2010 will be remembered for devolution, Iraq, and the Great Crash of 2008. Devolution will be seen as a divisive and cynical and totally successful attempt to break up the union. Iraq will be seen as an outrageous and incompetent folly and one of worst foreign policies in British history. The Great Crash of 2008 will probably be the greatest crime committed by Labour, but this won't be appreciated until the full force of its impact hits the people, and this will become more apparent over the next ten years.

More widely, the Labour years will be recorded as years of unbridled and irresponsible behaviour couched in terms of liberation and free-expression, but paid for by bankrupting the future. It was a time when young fools borrowed 15 times their salaries to buy slaveboxes to live in, and took out massive HP agreements just to be seen in the latest German sports coupe. Status anxiety ran wild like a plague. It was about greed, drunkenness, drugs, vulgar behaviour, obnoxious music, crap films and absolutely the worst books ever published in our history.

It was about flippancy in politics and business, money money money while the gap between rich and poor got bigger, declining standards in schools, and a public transport sector reduced to a joke. It will be remembered as the era when British civil liberties, the liberties that were spread to half the planet, were stripped from the British in a brutal and dogmatic manner. Vile DNA databases of the innocent, imprisonment without being charged, satellite-tracking of innocent citizens, the destruction of the jury system, CCTV every twenty metres, and the militaristic enforcement of speech codes.

It was an era of stupid pointless initiatives, politically-correct distractions and absolutely nothing of any real value got done except a handful of items such as better paternity deals for new fathers and some other work-place related laws. Of course now the talk is Brown Brown Brown, but the history books will pin most of this on the man who was in charge for 77% of it: Blair Blair Blair."

I don't agree with all this; some of the charges are inaccurate. The comment was provoked by an article that suggested that there might be some hope for Labour in the forthcoming election if only it would unite under Harriet Harman (also known as Harridan Hateman or Harpie Harperson).

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