Monday, 12 October 2009
Whatever happened to the heroes?
International perpetual revolution, United Front, Fourth Internationalist, Clause Four, the emancipation of the proletariat - if any of these terms mean anything to you, positive or negative, then you are probably a student, or follower, of socialist politics - and definitely not a member of the New Labour party. In contrast to now, the cusp of the 19th and 20th century was a time of impassioned political discussion. All around there was debate that engaged everybody - from the aristocracy to the proletariat; and love or loathe it, the new socialism forced all to engage in politics, because it mattered - and through universal suffrage everybody felt they now had a say.
Kier Hardie helped create and led a British 'United Front', built upon a burgeoning need for the representation of a recently franchised urban proletariat. The general election of 1895 saw the first candidates for this newly formed front under the banner of the Labour party; a party that brought together trade unions, the socialist bourgeoise, Social Democrats, the Scottish Labour Party and disparate socialist groups. By 1923/24 Labour had consolidated its place in British politics, by winning their first general election and remarkably exiling a longstanding Whig/Liberal tradition to the basement of 20th century politics.
All well and good you might say; Labour was popular and fighting the corner of the working man and woman. The first policy of the first Labour government, one that defined them, was to build 500,000 rental homes for inner city workers who were living in nothing much more than hovels being exploited by landlords such as Peter Rachman and his ilk.
New Labour will lose the next election to a party devoid of any coherent political philosophy other than a tacit inclination to support big business and Rachmanite exploitation of the proletariat. Bankers and financiers are the modern Rachmans, the inheritors of this tradition. We are in hock up to our eyeballs to these modern landlords, now lenders, not through inflated rents and shoddy houses but through over inflated mortgages, insurances and laughably over-valued land and buildings - not that different to Rachman when there is no rental sector to speak of is it? In fact merely another version of the same scam.
It is a fact that this depression is a direct result of internationally traded bundles of worthless debt, secured on over-valued land and buildings, owed by ordinary people throughout western capitalist democracies. Families who simply wanted to put a roof over their head and were convinced to stretch their borrowing to the limits, reassured by the plethora of worthy financial institutions willing to assist them in doing so.
The New Labour response? Bail out the Rachmans - now that is hardly in keeping with their founding traditions, is it?
David Cameron tells us that we will have to tighten our belts, that we are to blame for this recession, that we borrowed too much. That particular piece of disingenuous etiology speaks volumes of their intent - I see no real prospect of change under the Conservatives, just more of the same. As they grandstand over New Labour's failure they should bear in mind which policies differentiate New Labour from old and where they came from.
New Labour is a failed experiment, one that bears no resemblance to the United Front of the original Labour party. A warmongering, ineffective, bankrupt and corrupt centrist party who adopted failed Conservative policies. A party guilty of defrauding their supporters by claiming a socialist tradition that is no longer theirs - now that truly deserves them being consigned to the Eighth Circle of the Inferno, doesn't it?
So do we cover them in excrement or consign them to a lake of boiling pitch? I'll need to brush up on my Dante to answer that one.
In the meantime I guess I've no option but to set about working up another choice line of abuse with which to spoil my next ballot paper, and wait patiently for the new heroes...