Sunday, 13 April 2014

And you thought only the Stuarts had a divine right to rule!

Three hundred odd years ago the people of this country fought a civil war to end the divine right of Kings.
They almost got there,but sadly when the crunch came old Noll was disinterred and his head stuck on a pike.
The old order reverted, and whilst they lost the 'divine right' they retained the right of succession through a bunch of useless German princelings and princesses right up to the present day.
From the preposterous Hanoverians to the mediocre Saxe-Coberg-Gothas.

But at least we had an elected parliament that allowed some degree of democracy,albeit it took most of that 300 odd years to get anywhere near a free equal and working democracy.
For much of the time parliament was ruled by rich boys from top public schools,often from the landed gentry.many came from the military,the higher reaches of the legal profession and were frequently large landowners or obscenely rich factory owners.
Thinking about it not really much has changed!
But of course many of them, when the couldn't buy the odd totten pocket borough or the land where the borough itself stood  made sure that the parliamentary power kept strictly in the family.

Most of the great landowners made sure that political power was dynastic-that seats passed from father to son in the usual ordered way.

Then about 100 years ago a great change appeared to happen, a small number of working stiffs got themselves elected,many started out as Liberals, but in 1900 the emergent trade unions decided that Liberal toffs with a scattering of working class Liberals did not really represent their interests.
The labour party was born.
A party that represented working people, their needs and their aspirations.
It was never a revolutionary party in the sense that the Levellers and even the Diggers were in Cromwell's' time.Indeed it was nothing like the great revolutionary parties and movements that were churning up Europe and had been since 1848.

What was important was that the Labour Party was not a party of privilege and was not one with a hereditary principle at its core.
But asa social democratic party it found itself a house divided.For decades it was never quite sure if it was a social democratic centralist party with a tinge of socialism or a socialist party with a tinge of social democracy.
Generations of good men and women gave their life to the party because they believed that whatever the foibles of the 'leadership' at any given time its collective heart was in the right place.

This has of course allowed it to degenerate , as the Thatcher era destroyed much of the strength and solidarity of the trade union movement the Labour Party, with no strong ideological core simply drifted into becoming another 'political' party.
So it attracted in growing numbers men and women who if push came to shove would join whatever party deemed to give them the best chance of a political career.It didn't really matter what the party stood for, as ling as they could chat up a selection meeting ot buy off a few local party officials or trade union hacks.

I well remember years back when an aspiring parliamentary candidate came to solicit support for the Northampton South constituency.
What a speaker the guy was and how he paraded his working class credentials before us.His father had been a miner, his granddad had been a miner, even as far as I can remember his fucking dog had been a miner.
He of course was a barrister! Now by the way in the House of Lords!

And where have we come to now?
Why the dynastic Labour Party.Neil Kinnock's son,married to the Prime Minister od Denmark no less has been selected for the safe labour seat of Aberavon (be interesting to see where his second home will be located-or maybe his third one)
Then we hear that Jack Straw's boy is going for a safe Labour seat(wasn't he once done for possession of drugs?)  and it would appear that the offspring of the noble Lord Prescott is on the hunt for a safe Labour berth.

But if that all stinks of nepotism then the worst of all is that Euan Blair,son of you know who is hoping to be parachuted into the safe Labour seat of Bootle on Merseyside(majority 21,000) His claim is that as his mum came from Liverpool then thats alright!

Is it possible that in the whole of Merseyside the Labour Party there could not find a working class candidate?
Are they so bereft of talent that they need a London lad educated at Brompton Oratory to speak for those inarticulate scousers?
Is this what the workers party is now reduced to/
I know people can point to the Benn dynasty and say that it has happened on the left, but I suspect Hilary Benn was carefully vetted to make sure that his was not infected by the old mans radical politics and I suspect there were many in the party hierarchy who were nervous of another Benn.
Luckily they got one of their own.

The sad truth is that the party is now picking candidates few of whom have any trade union experience or local government experience either.
Clones by any other name,
A party whose idea of inspiration and values has nothing to do with Keir Hardie or Nye Bevan but rather Dolly the Sheep! 

According to the local press in Liverpool Blair will only get a chance at the shortlist if the 81 year old sitting Mp decides to stand down voluntarily,then the party nationally can designate the seat a 'women only' shortlist.If however he decides to stand again-they can't.
The irony here is that it would appear that he too believes in a sort of hereditary principle(he wants his agent and the current leader of Sefton to replace him!) 
So the outcome might be that young Blair,who part owns a £3 million property in London with his mother might end up representing one of the most impoverished constituencies in Britain!     

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