Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reasons to Dump Brown - Part 4

Labour is in danger of matching its 1931 election results if it can not hang onto the safe seats in Scotland. Back then, after Ramsey MacDonald had deserted the party, they were reduced to 52 seats. With the Gordon Brown impersonator, Wendy Alexander, as leader of the Scottish Labour Party is it any surprise that Labour lost its traditional support in Glasgow? (I wrote this without even realizing she had alreay resigned almost a month before because of sleaze. Things are looking up.)

Today we have union leaders Paul Kenny and Tony Woodley calling for change, one for a new party leader and the other for a return to more traditional policies. In reality one without the other will not save the party from a terrible disaster in the next election. So what has gone wrong?

I suspect it all started with Kinnock. The moment the party lost the balance of three power centers in the party, the constituency party, the parliamentary party and the unions making decision and gave instead the parliamentary party absolute power in all but words the rot set in. Of course it looked so good when Blair could win elections after years of Tory governments but it was based on policies without principles.

In 1997 Labour just had to be there. The Tories were committing suicide over Europe and with sleaze, and the public wanted them gone. In 2001 and just about in 2005 Blair could show that New Labour made better Tories than the Tories themselves. Now it looks like the Tories are back to being the best right wing party in the UK.

There was a hope that Brown might change direction after Blair went, but this was a false hope as it was Brown who had been inventing the policies of the Blair governments. For the leadership contest only 29 of the 356 Labour MPs had the courage to try and force a leadership election which included the other sections of the party. This was 16 shy of the minimum needed.

Of course most MPs are pretty selfish individuals who will do what is best for themselves but now they must realize they have not only hurt the party but also put those, even with what had been regarded as safe seats, in danger of not getting re-elected, even as opposition MPs next time.

This year there must be a leadership challenge and it must go out to the whole party. Are there 45 MPs who will do the job? Here's what the union bosses are now saying.

Tony Woodley - "The change people want - in Glasgow and around the country - is a change of political approach. Blairism should finally be buried in Glasgow's East End."

"For too long the government has put all its eggs in the free-market basket. People are now looking for more support and protection from government as we face serious economic difficulties rooted in City excesses."

Paul Kenny - "The MPs have got to make a strong decision as to whether they want to go into an election with Gordon Brown or have a [leadership] contest."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reasons to Dump Brown - Part 3

As a young man I criticized Labour for being reformist rather than revolutionary. Now, much older and liking reformism, I can't find any reformist tendencies in New Labour. The closest we get with get to any reforms after 11 years in government is more Thatcherism in privatization. Although often called reforms what Thatcher was doing was turning the clock back to days of more laissez faire capitalism.

The reason a reformist government needs to be the opposite of a laissez faire conservative one is that we need central economic planning to take on the likes of big oil, the drug companies and the banks. Instead we get in today's news a story that really sums up the Blair/Brown policies.

We have some lickspittle in Brown's cabinet, James Purnell, regurgitating the old Tory attack on social security claimants, a work for your benefits and end disability payments diatribe.

David Cameron quite rightly accuses the government of stealing Conservative Party policies regarding the proposed benefits changes. Are there any brave souls left amongst the Labour MPs to stand against the Thatcherites that control the party.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reasons to Dump Brown - Part 2

What's in a name. Privatisation, selling off the family silver, selling the crown jewels, all pretty much the same thing. We can add Brown's favourite, "public-private partnership", to that list. We have to remember that he is a Thacherite when it comes to the public services.

We are told that private companies are more efficient than public ones, so why is it that every time we hear a public service in trouble we find a private company not doing the job. Brown pushed for his public-private partnership to do the London Underground maintenance and it was a disaster. The latest is the school kids exams are not getting marked. According to the BBC website the problem is caused by a private company called ETS Europe.

Didn't the mafia say "let everyone wet their beaks". That's what has happened as we sell off bits of education, health, railways and other services. The gangsters in the City make fortunes and the public service workers have to strike to get more than a two and a bit percent pay rise.

Maybe the unions should only contribute funds to MPs who are prepared to dump Brown.