What might inspire me, when I come to ponder who the best leader of the Labour party be? Perhaps not whether or not they can smile at the drop of a hat!
Primarily, it might be the link between localism, by which I mean the Thatcherite type, allocating money down for local distribution, which consequently wreaks havoc in periods of low spending, like how the period of 2011-15 might look – a shortfall in state-sponsored libertarianism, if you will – boom, spending cuts and mismanagement.
One hardly ever wanted to throw matches on right whingers’ fuel, but during our booming years there was much public spending waste, throwing money at problems, a brimming kitty was never an issue. Means-testing, tailoring public services to meet the right people, and correcting the ills that Thatcher/Major’s legacy had branded onto the sector, that was what was missed out. But now the question is money again, and the kitty is being starved.
The suspicious argument that Labour HAD to change because times of boom elevated the working class from their chains, that laissez-faire capitalism (so far as we can call the capitalism we have that) had achieved what trade unions had always wanted to achieve, or that the left are the true creators of inequality, and the Disraeli Tories are the ones for equality, working class and the recapitalisation of the poor, those arguments couldn’t be further from the truth. Just think about them; they’re to truth what Icarus was to beach holiday packages.
The US housing bubble bursting can explain debt, but it can not explain the New Labour project of overspending and mismanagement. A change in scene should reflect that the era of new labour has not only passed, it has failed, and we will have to pay for it – and it should be no skin of ones back to admit, as a supporter and member of the party myself, that we will have to pay for New Labour mismanagement.
As Dave rightly says in a blog entry about the left online ‘Sooner or later, purely economic – for the sake of our bread and butter – strikes have to cross the line into politics’. But it ought not to have waited this long. Boom is not merely a supplement to bust, it helps cause it, and it prolongs it. Boom should not be an excuse to spend madly, like a student who spends his entire loan in the first week and is reduced to borrowed beans for the next 11 weeks +.
The Labour party I want to vouch for is not one that operates in a political structure that forgets the people who can not, or even do not, vote for it, or for whose vote they have taken for granted, as was the intention of Blair with the unionised.
Guaranteed, the leadership contest will all be centered on an overcoming of the ‘Blair vs Brown’ day (it even says this on Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign website, I suppose sticking it to his brother), but it should be way more than that. It ought to be a disavowal of the whole NL project, which spans longer than 13 years.
I’m at least encouraged by the words of Former PPS to Gordon Brown, Jon Trickett MP, who has said recently that Labour ought not be the party of the establishment anymore. Austerity and deep cuts to the frontline are compromises, not predications of fairness, this isn’t Labour, and actually, on rhetoric alone, this isn’t even New Labour (creators of the loose use of the word ‘fairness’). All parties have claimed they’ll be tough on the banks, but lets see them dance to the tune of the working class for a change, let the only austerity package be for the mouldy ol’ establishment political system of compromise, aptly played out currently by the Libservatives.