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Showing posts with label New Labour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Labour. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sept. 2009: My hopes for 2010 and the General election (The Brown Labour Government was still in office)

Three years on, two heart attacks and a cardiac arrest later, a lot of water has flowed under many bridges – and over them. We have had the destruction of New Labour, the benighted Coalition Government, the wonderful SNP victory in 2011, the referendum confirmed at last, the Arab Spring, and second term for Obama – but also the endless litany of death and destruction in Afghanistan.

“Don’t look back - no good can come of it” HUMPHREY BOGART

Well, maybe sometimes, Bogie – remember your history or be condemned to repeat it …

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I watched the Brown speech, keeping a sick bag handy just in case. I didn't need it, but it was a close run thing. But I was caught off guard by the introductory sequence before Sarah Brown. Manipulative though it was, the early part reminded me sharply of what Blair, Brown, Mandelson and Campbell destroyed - the old Labour Party and its values, or as Gordon Brown would put it, its 'volues'. Much use was made of the flag of death - the Union Jack - fluttering on the screens on either side, and also visible on the centre screen, in the hope that this would deflect the faithful from remembering just what these carpetbagging Scots had done to the Labour Party and the English nation.
Sarah Brown was as effective as she was at the last conference. A formidable public relations professional, she judged the mood perfectly, and although it was more than a little saccharine for my taste, it pressed the right buttons. As a Scottish Nationalist, I am grateful that she is not the Prime Minister, and I suspect many of the Labour faithful wish fervently that she was.
Her personality, however carefully crafted it is, comes across as natural, warm and sincere. It contrasted sharply with the personality that followed her - a Frankensteinian creation as false as a Hollywood facelift, reminiscent of Peter Boyle's performance with Gene Wilder.
Brown scattered new radical policies like party favours, promising to do all the things New Labour has spectacularly failed to do in its three benighted terms of office. His voice at times shook with emotion, but emotion prompted by the thought that this was most probably his swansong. The conference focused my mind on a question I have been wrestling with for some time - what outcome do I want from the UK General election?
I am driven by a primary emotion to see Labour punished for Iraq, for Afghanistan, for the British banking collapse, for their attacks on civil liberties, for their obsession with war and nuclear destruction and for their betrayal of the traditions and values of the Party.
But I recognise that I must look objectively at the consequences of their electoral destruction - a Tory government that might last for another twelve years. Although this would almost certainly yield a Thatcher Factor advantage to the SNP's electoral prospects, it would be bad for the nations that presently comprise the UK, bad for Europe, and bad for world peace. I am still an internationalist, and must recognise that an independent Scotland can never be indifferent to its huge neighbour nor to the regimes that it elects. So I must hope for something other than the obliteration of New Labour and the Brown Gang, and the humiliation of their Scottish servile cohorts. What would be an ideal outcome?
Firstly, I hope for an significantly increased SNP presence at Westminster.
In my dreams I see Scotland returning only SNP members of the Westminster Parliament, but that is not going to happen. There is also a nagging doubt in my mind that too many Nationalist MPs at Westminster might find that, as a group, they develop an affection for the House of Commons, and succumb to its blandishments and its perquisites. After all, it has happened to men and women with principles and beliefs as deeply rooted as those of the Scottish National Party, as the widespread corruption of Labour values has demonstrated. But I must suppress that doubt, and trust Scotland's Westminster representatives, a representation that will last only until independence is achieved..
Secondly, I hope for a governing party for the UK that has only a narrow majority, perhaps even a minority government.
Whichever it is, the balance of power would lie with the LibDems and the nationalist parties in a Rainbow Coalition, and I believe that such a delicately balanced democracy would be better for the UK, and more realistic about Scottish independence.
My greatest fear of all is that England slides insidiously towards neo-fascism and Powellite parties. English nationalism - the dog that has not barked - clearly runs that risk.
Those who come, as I do, from the liberal, internationalist tradition, like to believe that the native good sense of the people will recognise the threat, and will recoil from the views of the parties that pose the threat.  This is the thinking behind the view that the BBC is right to permit the BNP to appear on a Question Time panel - the great, fair-minded democratic British public will see Nick Griffin and his party for what they are.
Well, I'm not so sure. I have watched that great British public on the media, and have seen what pushes their buttons, and the sight does not inspire confidence. I know from my own range of contacts that beneath the democratic veneer, many otherwise admirable upright citizens have a rather uncertain grasp of the great principles of democracy and freedom, and have the political mindset of the saloon bar Tory at best, and the neo-fascist at worst.
It is not only the deprived sub-culture of the shaven-headed that might be sympathetic to the simplistic, brutal, divisive policies of the extreme right - remember the kind of people that put Mussolini and Hitler in power.
Perhaps the BBC has no choice but to permit a legal party that has made recent significant gains to offer their views on Question Time, but we should be fully aware that, at a time of widespread distrust of our political and financial institutions, in the wake of the banking crisis and the expenses scandal, and during a recession when many people are being deeply hurt by the venality and short-sightedness of their elected representatives, that simple, brutal messages that pin the blame on minorities within our society will resonate dangerously with many voters.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Iraq was a mistake: it was wrong. Ed Miliband as the new Leader of the Labour Party

At last – they have admitted to the crime of Iraq, and the frozen faces in Ed Miliband’s conference audience of those complicit in it said it all. Brother David, with a rictus smile on his face, is caught by the ever-vigilant BBC camera turning to Harriet Harman and saying “Why are you applauding – you voted for it” The ever-emollient and glib niece of the Countess of Longford smiles, and replied “I supported him …”)

Ed Miliband's speech - Blairite reactions

As Miliband the Younger criticised the Blair/Brown regime's record on the economy, - on civil rights, on freedom, etc. - the camera panning across the audience lingered hopefully on brother David. But just behind him sat Alistair Darling and Jim Murphy, both giving the powerful impression of sitting in an abandoned nest in their still-warm, but rapidly cooling excrement. Douglas Alexander looked much the same.

I didn't see Iain Gray, but then, no judgement could have been formed, since Scotland's would-be next First Minister always looks that way.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ed Miliband – friend to Scotland? Dream on …

This is a lifelong Labour activist and supporter, Terry Christian, speaking in Manchester about Labour's record in power and about the likelihood of change under Ed Miliband. He puts Scottish Labour activists to shame with his courage and frankness.

Miliband the Younger a friend to Scotland ? - dream on, working-class Scots. Pull your forelocks, bend your knees to the UK and vote Labour in May 2011. May God help you all if you do ...

Scottish Labour voters - listen and learn to Terry Christian and hang your heads. Your English brothers don't share your enthusiasm for the thing the Labour Party has become. If you can bring yourselves to vote Labour at the Holyrood elections in 2011, at least be aware that you are not voting for protection from the ConLib cuts and the wicked Tories.

Labour are now the Tories Mark Two

And any trades unionists with the lingering delusion that Labour is on their side had better wake up - and fast. Your unions may have voted for this Metropolitan, Oxbridge-educated professional political career man, but only as the least worst alternative.

Trades unionists facing the apocalyptic ConLib cuts - if you thought you had elected a friend - you haven't. This man is Middle England with a vengeance, with a metropolitan bias to the South East to boot.

But Scottish trades unionists have a real alternative - the Scottish National Party. Vote for your ain folk and for Scotland. The Labour Party you once knew has been dead for over 13 years - and so are a lot of young Scots, thanks to Blair and Brown.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Baron Prescott and Iraq

John Prescott – now Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull – is the man who was supposed to represent true working class values in the money, celebrity and power-obsessed New Labour. He is now complacently ensconced on the benches of the House of Lords, oozing self-satisfaction from every pore, probably still nursing a self-image of himself as an honest, straight-talking working class boy.

The Chilcot Enquiry eventually got around to him, doubtless worried that his uncertain grasp of the syntax of his native language would pose some difficulties for them. But after all, he is now safely embedded in the British Establishment, and there is little chance that he will say anything to jeopardise that new status and incriminate himself, nor is he likely to shed any light on the criminal venture known as the Iraq War. If he does inadvertently give something away, it can be safely laughed off as “just John just being John”.

In spite of being at the centre of events – he was after all Deputy Prime Minister – his testimony reveals a man almost unaware of the fact that he was part of an unfolding tragedy of global proportions, one that would result in death and destruction for hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million innocents, the polarisation of relationships between the Muslim World and the nominally Christian West, and destabilisation of the entire Middle East.

A few quotes -

On intelligence reports: “ --- a bit of tittle-tattle here and a bit more information there ---”

On his evaluation of the reports: “ --- they made me a little bit nervous ---“

On Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, former Head of MI5: “She was always on about the threat of terrorism. Along with it came ‘Give me some money.’”

On Tony Blair’s handling of the decision to go to war, and criticisms of his decision: “We have seen a few people gloss over their part in the history of what happened. I have learned that true leadership is not about having the benefit of hindsight. It is about having the gift of vision, courage and compassion, and I believe that Tony Blair had all three.”

Thank you, Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull, for that deep insight into a man that a large proportion of the world now considers a war criminal, who failed completely to display any vision about the appalling consequences of his actions, who failed utterly in courage in dealing with the Bush Regime, and who, while regularly engaging in displays of gross sentimentality, showed no compassion whatsoever for the lives ruined by his decision.

The multi-millionaire peace envoy to the Middle East, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, will doubtless be grateful for your heartfelt endorsement. It vindicates his decision to keep you on board throughout his regime to sanitise his government’s actions in Iraq, in the safe and secure knowledge that you would never questions them, because you would never understand them.

Enjoy the ermine, the cosy benches of the Lords and the generous attendance allowance, Lord Prescott – it is small enough reward for loyalty such as yours. Greater love hath no man than he avert his eyes from the transgressions of his friend.

Some quotes on Lord Prescott’s testimony to the Iraq Enquiry -

Rose Gentle, mother of Gordon Gentle of the First battalion of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, an early casualty in Iraq. “I’m disgusted. This is my boy’s life they’re talking about. The smug look on that man’s face made it look as if it was just a joke to him”.

Michael Aston, father of Corporal Russell Aston, Killed in Iraq. “His remarks are absolutely disgraceful – there are 179 families who have lost their loved ones in this war.”

Angus Robertson, SNP Defence spokesman in Westminster.There can be few more serious decisions than taking a country to war, yet John Prescott has dismissed some of the key intelligence as mere tittle-tattle.

see also Fallujah's children - BBC