Thursday, December 11, 2008

Catching Flash Gordon

I'm the same age as Gordon. I thought he was younger. As a young man I was a revolutionary socialist, but now I believe in reform and a mixed economy. Like many as I've grown older I guess I've moved to the right. I know there are exceptions like Tony Benn, but this cooling of revolutionary ardour does seem quite common.

What I can't imagine is ever catching up with Gordon's rightward shift. Am I mistaken in thinking he was once a socialist? I don't think so because this man wrote a sensitive biography of Scottish socialist James Maxton in 1986, although admittedly for his PhD. Maxton's whole life was built on his defense of the poor, the unemployed and low paid workers, especially in Glasgow.

So how can Brown support James Purnell, his public school educated Minister for Work and Pensions, in his attacks on those on benefits. This 'work for benefits' sounds fine but look to the position of the poor and the inner cities in the US to see what we will be getting. The reasons we have a problem with large-scale long term unemployment is that Thatcher's government dismantled so much industry and took away the dignity of labour for many. To New Labour's shame they made no attempt to repair the damage so they must accept some of the blame.

I do wish Brown would read his own Maxton book again.


Manfarang said...

Flash Gordon has been too busy saving the world to read old books on socialism.
Sawadee Pi Mai

Les Abbey said...

Thanks Manfarang - not sure what he is reading anymore.