That’s what we need, Ed
“Labour should say what they mean, and mean what they say. ” These are words of Tony Benn. A return to honesty in politics was something promised at the last election, that among pledges lacking in substance. The politician and party which can inspire a nation, engender trust and respect and make a difference to the lives of millions is what Britain is crying out for. Aneurin Bevan had those qualities, and did so.
From “In Place of Fear” , Ch.2, Aneurin Bevan (1)
“As we fumble with outworn categories our political vitality is sucked away and we stumble from one situation to another, without chart, without compass, and with the steering wheel lashed to a course we are no longer following. This is the real point of danger for a political party and for the leaders and thinkers who inspire it. For if they are out of touch with reality, the masses are not. Indeed, they are reality. For them their daily work is an escapable imperative. While those who are supposed to be doing the theorising for them are adrift like passengers in an escaped balloon, the workers are tied to reality by the nature of their work. In the absence of clear theoretical guidance, they make empirical adaptions and formulate practical categories. So far as these are incomplete, and therefore unsatisfactory, the first result is a distrust for those who have demonstrably failed them.”
Michael Foot was a man of integrity honesty and direction, a true advocate for socialism, and said in 1956, “Socialism without public ownership is nothing but a fantastic apology”.
To watch Tony Benn speaking on “The issue is Thatcher “in the eighties, leaves a hunger for more of the same.
LABOUR’S LOST VOTES
Since 1997, Labour have lost 5 million voters. One reason that the Labour Party was so frightened by Thatcherism, it bought into the media’s idea that the party needed to change its socialist principles.
Eventually it changed so much it had metamorphosed into something Thatcher herself would have welcomed, so it was no longer the party for the working class, and so many walked away, disillusioned.
LABOUR VOTERS TURNED TORY
Working class voters were lured by Thatcher’s lies and did not recognise the damaging intent of monetarism and neoliberalism. Council home sales, and shares in British Telecom were presented as wealth redistribution, veiling the reality as the bankers and corporations rubbed their hands together in self satisfaction . Now the Coalition wants to put people in hock for their education, by tripling Tuition Fees, and even are suggesting selling off workers’ rights for shares. (9)
It is a myth that the escalating capitalist bubble can serve everyone.
These are policies intended to anaesthetize, the new religion – people controllers. The voters do not need any more pills to pop to change their lives; they need policies and representatives brave enough to put their heads above the parapet and tell the truth, to expose the myths and scaremongering.
Privatization of utilities and transport is now being extended to our NHS and education system by the most right wing government in living memory. Tory pre-election promises that the NHS was safe in their hands were bare faced lies, with plans for privatisation already in place. (21) Myths of more parental choice in schools, exploiting the desire of every parent to want the best for their child were a cover for the demolition of our education system. (23) Yet, the continued privilege of class and the arrogance of politicians who are employed to serve the people, is painfully clear, as Osborne’s train-trip, and Mitchell’s Pleb-gate demonstrated. Mitchell’s replacement, the chief whip, Sir George Young once infamously said, ” “the homeless are what you step over when you come out of the opera.”
STAY AT HOME VOTERS
Others, disenfranchised and lacking trust in politicians of any colour stay at home, many of the apathetic generation having never voted at all.
Cynicism and apathy is unsurprising against a backdrop of media corruption and lies. The Hillsborough disaster, (10) the scandal of child abuse surrounded Jimmy Savile (11) at the BBC, in Broadmoor and hospitals, phone hacking at the News of the World, and police malpractice during the Miners Strike (12) have all been topics of media cover-ups.
Equally there is now abundant evidence of MOD and MI5/6 involvement in UK acts of torture and rendition which the UK authorities have gone to enormous lengths to deny and conceal, and which the so-called Justice and Security Bill now before Parliament is designed to prevent in future ever being revealed. Michael Meacher (8)
This is the same media that slated Michael Foot and demonized Tony Benn, attacked the unions and the Labour Party at every opportunity, effectively making an impotent opposition to neoliberalism, a chameleon Labour Party too frightened to speak out.
Of all the lies, none is bigger than the suggestion that the national debt is the highest ever.
Deliberate confusion is created regarding the difference between national debt and deficit. Lies about privatization of the services such as NHS, education and even the police. Lies that cuts are necessary, that we are all in it together, while the rich accrue obscene wealth while trampling on the death and decay they have created. Democracy around the world is held in hostage. US lobbyists are even infiltrating the elections of police commissioners (Telegraph report) (7) , and many MPs hold contacts with financiers (Britain Under Siege, Think Left) (16) . Power snatched from the people, held by the very rich echoes the Middle Ages, a neofeudalism (18) . The corporations control think-tanks (26) which decide policy, and hide their identities. Was this the intention of those who fought for the vote, for workers’ rights, and for equality?
Hidden behind the headlines, the Coalition government rules by stealth, themselves subservient (6) to a Plutonomy (18) which is both unsustainable, and unnecessary.
Yet, the opposition still quakes in fear of speaking the truths, fear of past memories. This is the opportunity for the Labour movement to rise again. A strong, straight-talking Labour Party will be welcomed back with a land-slide, and in power must redress the balance-of power.
The electorate is crying out for a Labour Party to stop hiding in fear behind the establishment. Those voters have an intellect underestimated by politicians . they know the policies that we need. Unlike Cameron and Osborne, the people are living it.
People are looking for some straight-talking, honesty and integrity. Courageous politicians like Aneurin Bevan who presented policies to an eager electorate and changed the lives of millions.
In the words of Tony Benn,(28) Labour should say what they mean and mean what they say. This is the way we need Labour to speak – why don’t they?
OUR TOP TWENTY
Confident, courageous and compassionate, Labour must seek to pursue the policies which will change our world.
We call upon Labour to:
- BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT THE STRUCTURAL DEFICIT AND NATONAL DEBT. a) Structural deficit & Libor (15) . b) The Fundamental deceit of ‘”There’s no money left.” (27)
- CONFRONT THE PARASITIC BANKING COMMUNITY Monetise or rip up the £375bn debt they’ve bought back by QE and reduce the national debt of the UK with the stroke of a key. a) Simon says: QE is the biggest confidence trick of all time (14) , b) What is George Osborne playing at? (30) c) The IMF and Taking the Red Pill, Think Left (13)
- SPLIT RETAIL AND INVESTMENT BANKS PROPERLY
- REGAIN SOVEREIGN CONTROL OVER MONEY SUPPLY How debt leads to financial servitude (6)
- TACKLE TAX JUSTICE ONCE AND FOR ALL. (3,4)
- WORK FOR FULL EMPLOYMENT for those that can work, maintaining a safety net for those who cannot.
- ENSURE A LIVING WAGE FOR ALL WORKERS
- FORMULATE A NEW GREEN DEAL, and EXPANSION OF RENEWABLES
- STOP SUBSIDIES OF FOSSIL FUELS AND NUCLEAR POWER
- REVERSE PRIVATISATION OF THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
- NATIONALISE UTILITIES, (including ENERGY (19) and WATER. (20) )
- NATIONALISE RAILWAYS (31) and REVOLUTIONISE PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
- BUILD HOMES FOR ALL
- PROVIDE AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE (24) – and reinstate SURESTART
- INTRODUCE A TRULY COMPREHENSIVE National Education Service (23) , and LIFELONG LEARNING
- PROTECT the WORK LIFE BALANCE, and ENSURE FLEXIBLE WORKING
- PROVIDE DIGNIFIED CARE FOR THE ELDERLY (25)
- REVERSE THE CUTS ON THE VULNERABLE, SICK AND DISABLED
- REBUILD OUR COMMUNITIES, libraries, youth services, sports facilities, high streets and local co-ops.
- MAKE THE COURAGEOUS STATE (5) A REALITY.
Reference and Further Reading:
1. Aneurin Bevan, In place of Fear
2. Aneurin Bevan: In Place of Fear: A Free Health Service 1952: (Socialist health Association)
3. Richard Murphy: Tax Research UK Has the public’s tipping point on tax arrived?
4. Richard Murphy: Building the Tax Justice Consensus
5. Richard Murphy, The Courageous State
6. Ian Fraser : On Michael Hudson: How finance leads to Debt Servitude
7. The Secret US Lobbyists behind Police and Crime Commisioner Election, Daily Telegraph
8. Police, MI5, and the growth of the coverup, Michael Meacher
9. Guardian: George Osborne , Workers can swap rights for Company Shares
10. Daily Mirror: Hillsborough cover-up too big for IPCC to handle on its own
11. Panorama airs programme on Newsnights’s Savile investigation
12. Guardian: Hillsborough Investigation should be extended to Orgreave says NUM leader,
From Think Left:
13. The IMF and Taking the Red Pill, Think Left
14. Simon says: QE is the biggest confidence trick of all time, Think Left
15. Structural Deficit and Libor, Think Left
16. Britain under Siege, Think Left
17. Lobbyists are destroying the democratic process, Think Left
18. Capitalism, NeoLiberalism, Plutonomy, and Neo -Feudalism Think Left
19. Nationalise Energy, Think Left
20, . Nationalise Utilities, Think Left
21. Who said, “the NHS will be shown no Mercy”, Think Left
22. For Richer, For Poorer, In Sickness and in Health, Think Left
23. Academisation and the Demolition of our Education System Think Left
24. A Bold Approach to Childcare, Think Left
25. A National Caring Service, Think Left
26. The Lost Democracy and the role of Think Tanks, Think Left
27 The fundamental deceit of There’s no money left, think Left
28. Thoughts inspired by Tony Ben, Think Left
29 Is Labour going to become Real Labour?, Think Left
30 What is George Osborne playing at?
A good article. The problem is that the middle ground has shifted rightwards, as you mention in talking about Labour voters. It is therefore important that the left-wing alternative is said with confidence.
Indeed, the privately funded Progress raises its head again. There are still some in Labour who are misplaced. The policies we need and the way forward are listed above but first tackle the unjust tax systems. he rest will follow. Let’s be positive and open about what we believe in, and the voters will trust us again.
Points 1,2,3,4 – Ed Balls doesn’t seem to geddit does he? Perfect opportunity today to discuss and he makes an ass of himself. There’s absolutely no chance of honesty unless there’s a totally fresh outlook in Finance.
Qn is whether they want to do those things in the first place, and if so they should damn well say so, and prove the argument with facts & figures not just rhetoric. Don’t worry about the press. And expose the lobbyists everytime they’re quoted.
And if they don’t already want to do them, why on earth are they in Labour party anyway?
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I am not so sure that thew middle ground has shifted to the right. Granted, for the past thirty-odd years right wing economics has been the prevailing orthodoxy, but ever since 2008, I think that we have had a greater chance to argue the alternatives. It takes quite a while for a new consensus to be built, and if we don’t argue the case for democratic socialism, then just look at north America.
Remember, after the horrors of the 1929 crash and the awful record of the first National Government in all spheres, they still won in 1935. Ten years later Nye and Clem were in government building all that we fight to protect today.
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Cameron is also lying when he says there “is no magic money tree”. There is if you’re a government with it’s own currency which it can issue, or a bank that can issue money as debt (loans or mortgages) ; and Cameron’s government, like the last Labour one, has created tens of billions of pounds from it’s “magic money tree” called “quantitative easing” to pad the banks’ reserves – so there’s absolutely no reason the government couldn’t create money for public services, to pay of the debt or to invest in infrastructure, research and grants and loans to businesses to build a new, green, more energy efficient economy and create jobs.
There’ll be the usual cries of “hyperinflation” at the suggestion of printing/ issuing money, but actual cases of hyperinflation have had other causes (in Weimar Germany the Rhur valley’s production going to France via French military occupation ; in Zimbabwe international sanctions) and even IMF studies quoted by nobel prize winning South Korean economist Ha Joon Chang found no negative effect on growth till inflation reached 8% ; less conservative studies found 20%.
The idea that government can’t print money and that inflation has to be kept to 2% or lower are ones peddled by the banks, who benefit massively from a virtual monopoly on money creation (as debt) and from very low inflation preventing those debts being devalued. Everyone else loses as a result – including exporters hit by the high value of the pound.
Great comment – quite agree!
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Bring Back EMA and 68 is too late
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