Tuesday, 1 January 2013
A real New Year or more of the same old stuff? This year is likely to be as bad as last year.These are the dog days of a dreary government that is simply waiting for something to turn up. Without doubt this coalition is the most reactionary government I have ever lived through and it's getting worse.It is a Thatcherite government, red in tooth and claw,but with no resistance to its marauding instincts. It has incorporated the most feeble of coalition partners in the history of feeble partners. Whatever claims to dignity and political integrity the Lib-Dems once claimed has vanished in the grubby ambitions of a handful of mediocrities who wanted the ministerial limousines to comfort their fattening arses. I am always reminded of ee.cummings line when I see the smug face of Clegg: "A politician is an arse on which everyone sits except a man." facing the savage cuts in the welfare system, the dismantling of public education and the health service,the fragmentation of local authorities and the dismemberment of the police service- where is the opposition? Of course it must be very difficult for those in the Parliamentary Labour Party to summon up the spirit to fight hard this monstrous government.So many of the policies that they are enacting began life in the Blair sofa cabinet and were given breath and life by many of those still leading the Labour Party. The facile little jest that Liam Byrne left in the Treasury 'There's no money left' just about sums up what has happened, and the cheerful little japes between chums reflects the horror of a decade of dreams and hopes betrayed. We all fell for it, we needed a Labour government after the Thatcher/Major years, but tragically we paid far too high a price. For the protection of the bankers,the widening gap between rich and poor,the PFI's, the Academies programme, health service reorganisation,weakening of local government, and the hideous war in Iraq we paid the price. A party dominated by careerists and opportunists and the abandonment of those socialist values for which the Party of Labour was created for! We let it happen, those of us who were loyal members for decades, we were willing to sacrifice everything for power! And now we have the spectacle of a vicious government getting away with murder and an opposition so feeble. There are exceptions,there always are men and women of principle who ignore what's going on around them and plough a lonely furrow.Yet look at who the Party parade on TV as the voice of the Party.A bunch of sharp suited airheads who offer a clever but meaningless sound bite,and at the other end of the spectrum the pompous Keith Vaz and the detestable Frank Field. We are told that the party is waiting to see how things develop before presenting a political programme.Truth is that is the party's political programme, they will hang about offering the merest meaningless phrases and just waiting for their turn in office, where like Gordon Brown last time they will 'carry on with the Tories financial policies' They have had opportunities,the most obvious one being the elections for the Police and Crime Commissioners.It was universally agreed that this was a dumb idea, indeed a bad dumb idea.Labour peers put up a good fight in the Lords, along with Lib-Dem and Independent members. But in the Commons the fight was half-hearted and the pass was sold.A national campaign led by the Party to boycott the elections and urge either mass abstention or support for genuine independents might well have won popular support for an unpopular election. However as soon as the salaries were dangled in front of the traditional careerist wing, the battle was lost. Indeed the battle was doubly lost here in Northamptonshire.When it became clear that Lee Barron was ineligible to stand, the sensible thing would have been to turn that into a virtue, and to urge voters,particularly in Corby, to vote Independent. But such a course required political intelligence and a capacity to see beyond the party machine. labour will win seats in the May County Council elections, working not on any political or ideological point of principle but simply by sitting still,handing out a few mediocre leaflets and waiting for UKIP eating away the Tory vote and the Lib-Dem vote collapsing then they will reap electoral gains. But they will merely be electoral gains that will benefit whom? The people of Northamptonshire who are looking for inspirational leadership but will simply get more of the same. Where ion earth are the Trade Unions when we need them to give leadership?