Everybody is ignoring us, because we are weird

by Anthony Painter

As Kevin Meagher noted on Uncut this morning, the canvas on which Labour is currently painting by numbers is wearing rather thin. A bit of blue, a bit of purple, some red, something of a strange colour called ‘new’, finish it off with a bit of a flourish. Stand back and marvel at the complete, er, mess.

In the meantime, the Conservatives emerge largely unscathed from their first electoral test since the general election. OK, they emerged completely unscathed. And Labour has spent the year talking to itself and in the seminar room (in fact, the last four years). Now the results of the experiment are about to be unleashed. There will be a deafening silence across the land.

There is a narrative of failure that has come to dominate: Labour became too statist, technocratic, detached, captured by the market; it lost its soul. All of this is true. But it’s not why Labour lost. The cause of defeat is much simpler than that. People didn’t trust Labour anymore. They’d seen enough and decided enough was enough. They wanted a new government and new prime minister. They just weren’t over-enamoured with the alternative.

But we are very educated people on the left. We read social history. We have consumed the political classics from Aristotle to Rawls and beyond. We have framed and conceptualised every single action of every human on this planet. We inhale public policy as if it were shisha. And you know what? We’re weird.

We haven’t got much of a clue about the 59.9 million other people who have had the temerity to occupy our ideologically pure space. And, having shouted at us, they are now ignoring us. How can we get their attention again? All forces retreat. And read. And debate. What? You’re still ignoring us? Surely you understand how our collective future lies in a closer reading of the London Dock Strike of 1889 (a fusion of religious and industrial social action into a local movement based politics- you see….? No? Never mind.)

Two processes have come together here – messily. One is a discussion about the type of politics we want. As long as we are aware that the type of party we want – new, blue, purple or whatever other label we can come with – may not be the type of party that people want, that’s fine. We are weird remember. We do see the London Dock Strike as politically resonant in 2011 (yes, really). Not many would agree.

In this discussion we fall for historical and philosophical fallacies. If we understand the past, if we synthesise great political ideas, then the future becomes clear. The more we dig, the darker it gets. But digging is good exercise so we feel energised.

The second process is a sociological and strategic one. We look at the nation and its sociological chunks. There’s the working classes, the middle classes, and professionals (there’s also those people who are non-domiciled and living in penthouse suites with a Hyde Park view but let’s not over-complicate things). We fire political ideas and messages at each of them. Liberal social democracy should do for professionals (or at least those of them who work in the public sector), there’s New Labour for the middle classes, and there’s Blue Labour for the working classes. Add all three together – new liberal blue social democratic Labour – and happy days. David Cameron is a decent communicator but that won’t save him from this lethal train of adjectives.

Actually, David Cameron has been down this road himself. By the time he entered the final straight at the last election he was lumbering along with compassionate red liberal “big society” Conservatism in tow. He was speaking to the same people on the right that we are encouraging Ed Miliband to speak to on the left. And the big society, for all the attention it has received, resonates not one jot. It has neither earned nor lost the Conservatives a single vote. It has been impossible to turn into a meaningful and distinct programme of action of government.

All the time, there are a missing 59.9million voices in this discussion. Just occasionally a buzz word, a resonant issue, an understanding of their anxiety flashes across their mindspace. Mostly though, Labour are just the guys who mucked up the economy, got too big for their boots, borrowed like a gambling addict, refuse to take responsibility and who were led by Gordon Brown.

My guess is that new thinking such as Blue Labour won’t survive its first broad public contact. For all its rich insights, it feels too other-worldly – in a spiritual and philosophical sense – for the sceptical English. Its values – of reciprocity, virtue, de-commodification of labour, the common life – will have a place, but it won’t be a compelling, relevant and popular vision for Labour or a pragmatic programme of government. It is a critique – a good one that nonetheless goes too far now and again and not the only critique by any means. It risks becoming a burden in the way that red Toryism/big society has become for Cameron.

Labour’s job is both simpler and more complex than the current debate assumes. The simple imperative is that Labour has to confront its negatives: economy, authority, arrogance, irresponsibility. That is a bottom line. Until that, we can paint in all the colours of the rainbow and it will make not make one jot of difference.

Beyond that, Labour has to find a way of no longer thinking that we know what voters think, want and need just because of their demographic – a complex undertaking. Some good contact with people directly – in a conversational rather than market research fashion and with an understanding of their rich diversity – is a good route to this understanding. If Labour understands what people actually need, what they actually value, rather than what it thinks they do, then it may get more of an audience. Liam Byrne’s speech about the “responsibility society” yesterday feels in tune with mood of the moment in this regard. Politics is a contact sport.

The answer is out there. It’s not in history, philosophy, sociology, or cod strategy. Those are the left’s secret little hobbies. We love them. I love them. But this is about people and their actual rather than imagined commitments and needs. And whether we are blue, new, plain old red or something else, you can do a lot worse than a nicely painted picture of an elephant with a funny parrot on its back.

Anthony Painter is a critic and author.


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46 Responses to “Everybody is ignoring us, because we are weird”

  1. Hang about.

    “My guess is that new thinking such as Blue Labour won’t survive its first broad public contact. For all its rich insights, it feels too other-worldly – in a spiritual and philosophical sense – for the sceptical English. Its values – of reciprocity, virtue, de-commodification of labour, the common life – will have a place, but it won’t be a compelling, relevant and popular vision for Labour or a pragmatic programme of government.”

    But then

    “Liam Byrne’s speech about the “responsibility society” yesterday feels in tune with mood of the moment in this regard.”

    There were good and bad points in that speech, but surely the argument that welfare should offer more to people who have paid in, and that public duty matters in work, politics, and communities, are precisely the values of the common life, virtue, and reciprocity that you earlier dismissed as other-worldly?

    Granted, if our next manifesto is badged “The path to reciprocity, virtue, de-commodification of labour, the common life”, we’ve got problems. But if it says something like “Labour will work with the British people to make sure that people who play by the rules get their fair share, people who do the right thing get rewarded, and that there are jobs for those who can work and security for those who can’t. We know we can achieve this because unlike the Tories, we really are all in it together.”, then I’m not sure I see much of a problem.

  2. Gary says:

    “we are very educated people on the left. We read social history. We have consumed the political classics from Aristotle to Rawls and beyond. We have framed and conceptualised every single action of every human on this planet.”

    No risk of modesty then…

  3. With a title like that we thought you were talking about the political class as a whole, not just Labour.

    It’s true that Labour is in search of itself, but the same can and should also be said about the Conservative and the Libdems.

    Even before the last election (and the coalition) it was hard to say exactly what either party was about other than “we’ll be better than Labour and sort out the mess they put us in”.

    Maybe all parties should go backpacking around Tibet for a few months to ‘find themsleves’ again?

  4. Edward Carlsson Browne says:

    Was this really supposed to be revelatory? That the answer doesn’t lie in rereading Polanyi?

    Well, that’s certainly a shock. Look, most Labour members aren’t politics graduates (and we certainly aren’t Maurice Glasman). Even those who know something about the London Dock Strike (and all I know about it is that it was important in the history of the union movement, involved a Cardinal and was a defeat) don’t tend to see things through that prism. Even those people who will bring up Rawls (and I can only think of a couple of members who will) don’t do so on the doorstep.

    We all know we need to reconnect with voters – and in fact many of us have just spend a good few weeks (months in some cases) trying to do just that. This is incredibly patronising, without even having the benefit of containing any useful insight or advice.

  5. @oldpolitics Yes, you are right apart….I didn’t dismiss the values as other-worldly at all. In fact I wrote:

    “Its values – of reciprocity, virtue, de-commodification of labour, the common life – will have a place, but it won’t be a compelling, relevant and popular vision for Labour or a pragmatic programme of government.”

    When its simmered down it has something to offer most definitely….though these values/ insights are not unique to Blue Labour at all. Remember ‘rights and responsibilities’?

  6. You’re saying that they’re too busy creating a name for a policy rather than an issue. I agree. It all looks like rather a struggle, as if we don’t know what we stand for.

  7. Jeremy Poynton says:

    You know what? Some apologies wouldn’t go amiss. For the outright assault on personal freedom, for the abuse of immigration for the Labour Party’s own ends – not the good of the country, for waving a known lunatic into Number 10 to complete his demolition of the economy (and my pension, now worth, actuaries estimate, some 80% less that it would have been had not Brown decided it was fine to tax private pensions savers twice on their hard earned savings. And of course, Iraq.

    It would be a start.

    By the way, you haven’t got a chance with weirdos like the Milibands. Not a ducking chance. What you thought you were doing electing him after Brown, God only knows. A death wish it would seem to me. Neither Miliband seems entirely human/normal. Whatever you think of Cameron, at least he is recognisably human.

  8. Chris says:

    @jeremy poynton

    Yawn, apologising for the bonkers conspiracy theories and paranoid nonsense peddled by tory trolls is the last thing Labour should be doing.

    “By the way, you haven’t got a chance with weirdos like the Milibands.”

    Among the tory sock puppet demographic we wouldn’t have a chance with Norman Tebbit in charge but lucky for us sock puppets can’t vote.

  9. ECB- ah, a ‘patronising’; normally means ‘on to something that I don’t like.’ Nobody thinks that and that’s not the argument of this piece. The argument is ‘let’s move out of the seminar room and into the public square.

  10. I do indeed remember rights and responsibilities. But then Glasman has implied that Blue Labour would have a positive view of mid-90s era Blair. Somehow “rights and responsibilities” turned into top-down conditionality, means tests, and marketisation.

  11. Ralph Baldwin says:

    Anthony,

    A very intellectual piece that summarises well what i have been Barking about over the last year, I genuinly hope the “academics” give up on the idea of theorising new ideologies without applicability, trust or relelvance to the people in an a priori manner and focus more on research and real indepth communication to create something from the real world.

    Too many silly egos going nowhere fast who might be about to face serious public ridicule.

  12. Mike Killingworth says:

    It’s much simpler than you all make out.

    The Labour Party was designed for a world where politics was about class. Where there were ethnic or religious divisions it struggled – couldn’t organise in the Six Counties, floundered in the face of Powellism. The Welfare State could only have been created in a racially homogenous society? (If you doubt this, consider the role of race in the objection Middle America has to welfare rolls.)

    Labour’s activists always have been weird – moved by an egalitarianism that leaves their fellow-citizens cold when it doesn’t actually appal them. But any future Labour manifesto will need to square several communitarian circles as well as genuflecting both towards and against egalitarianism – no wonder the current debate is neither comprehensible nor convincing.

    Indeed, it may well be the case that “left wing” politics, as people living in the 20th century understood the term, may well be as obsolete as the division between Whig and Tory became when left wing politics began.

  13. Andrew Duncan says:

    Why not start by talking to the grassroots activists in the CLP’s and branches? I think you will be amazed at the diversity of views – frankly from socialist to centre-right (based on a discussion about regeneration at a recent branch meeting I attended).

    There is a wealth of views out there in the Party – and, bless them, they have stuck by this party all through the years of the most horrendous abuse of their goodwill! Don’t you think it is about time to give these people a voice?

    Andrew

  14. @MikeKillingsworth That’s all a bit deterministic. Labour’s only just left office after 13 years in power. It’s not done yet I’m afraid. It’s been written off before on the basis of political sociology then found itself in power soon after. The world has changed- it always does but parties and politics adapts and in turn change the world further. The intellectual heavy lifting is part of that but, as I said in an earlier comment, it’s time to take it out of the seminar room and into the public square- and, indeed, many have begun that process.

  15. @AndrewDuncan I agree. And reaching out to as many erstwhile supporters as possible is important as well. The answer is out there….

  16. Edward Carlsson Browne says:

    Anthony – I have no objection to the idea that Blue Labour (and the other floated ideas) need to move beyond the abstract to the concrete. I’d add that this doesn’t just apply to the quasi-think tanks either, but to the parliamentary party, because I found on the doorstep we had very little positive to offer that wasn’t a local initiative.

    The something I don’t like here is the notion that Labour party members have the same worldview as recent politics graduates and can’t abandon this worldview to engage with reality, because I don’t believe that bears any relationship to any but the self-declared great thinkers of the party.

    I feel like you’re picking on a caricature and misrepresenting the members who knock on thousands of doors every year and already know what you’ve said implicitly. And as I don’t think I knocked on nearly enough doors this cycle, I feel very protective towards them.

  17. Amber Star says:

    Didn’t the Labour Party used to be about organised Labour? I’m sure I read that the Unions still have about 6M members. Now, if the Labour Party could actually represent most of those 6M & those 6M each persuaded one person to vote Labour then we’d win, wouldn’t we? Because 12M votes brings it home by miles.

    Is that weird enough for you?
    😎

  18. Lauren says:

    Elephant with a parrot on its back? What’s that meant to mean??

  19. Jeremy Poynton says:

    “sock puppet” and “troll”. That’s the best you can come up with?

  20. Mike Killingworth says:

    Anthony – you write that Labour’s “been written off before on the basis of political sociology then found itself in power soon after” – may I ask when? Or perhaps rather – by whom? The hard left, such as the New Left Review, were always doing it: but they had their own agenda.

    You don’t answer my central point: that Labour is designed for a politics in which class is more salient than race or religion. Up to a point, of course, that is also true of the Tories – hence the persistence of UKIP. However the defenders of capital will always be single-minded in the last analysis. The “wealth of views in the Party” is not, as you suppose, a sign of strength but of weakness *unless* there is a common core which all concerned regard as more important than anything else. A tribal hatred of Tories is not enough.

  21. Billy Blofeld says:

    Can anyone imagine Ed Balls taking this very sensible advice:

    “The simple imperative is that Labour has to confront its negatives: economy, authority, arrogance, irresponsibility”

    …… until these points are addressed Labour are going nowhere fast.

  22. ECB- as am I very protective of members and activists, 100%. They are most definitely not who’s referred to here. The ‘we’ are more the broad group of both professional and amateur influencers and decision-makers- of whom I guess I would count myself hence the ‘we’- and it’s a call for them to leave safe harbour. I should have defined it more clearly- my bad.

    But this piece does seem to have hit a nerve- everyone thinks it’s about them. Which for me suggests that’s it’s hit on something.

  23. donpaskini says:

    Hi Anthony,

    Lots of interesting and good stuff as ever. A few thoughts:

    “Labour has spent the year talking to itself and in the seminar room (in fact, the last four years).”

    By “Labour”, I think you mean “some members of the Labour Party, considerably fewer than one thousand in number, most of whom live in London.” In absolute terms, I’m sure there are far more members of the Labour Party who’ve spent the last four years talking to voters than the numbers who have been engaged in the kinds of activities you describe.

    Which highlights a troubling question – why is it that the minority of people within the Labour Party who are engaged in these largely pointless and often counter-productive activities have so much influence?

    “All the time, there are a missing 59.9million voices in this discussion. Just occasionally a buzz word, a resonant issue, an understanding of their anxiety flashes across their mindspace. Mostly though, Labour are just the guys who mucked up the economy, got too big for their boots, borrowed like a gambling addict, refuse to take responsibility and who were led by Gordon Brown.”

    I wonder how many of the 59.9 million people think of Labour as “the guys who mucked up the economy, got too big for their boots, borrowed like a gambling addict, refuse to take responsibility and who were led by Gordon Brown” – that sounds like the kinds of opinions held by the minority who follow politics closely.

    I would guess that there are more people who don’t know who the current leader of the Labour Party is, or who couldn’t name a single policy which Labour or the Tories support, than the number who have a defined view that Labour “borrowed like gambling addicts”.

    It might well be that it makes electoral sense to appeal to that minority who have a defined and negative view about Labour because they are more likely to vote and because of where they live, but also worth being aware, following the logic of the article, that there are a wide variety of different opinions about Labour.

    It might well be, for example, that a lot of the people who currently hold negative views of Labour are absolutely and totally uninterested and unpersuadeable by any kind of national speech or policy announcement by Ed Miliband, but could be persuaded if the local Labour candidate turned up on their doorstep and had a chat with them.

    “Liam Byrne’s speech about the “responsibility society” yesterday feels in tune with mood of the moment in this regard.”

    Really? It sounds like the same old approach which the rest of your piece correctly critiques. The “responsibility society” is nearly as bad a piece of wonk speak as “the British promise”.

  24. Anthony, it’s a bit of a straw man to decry intellectual efforts to re-examine what Labour is for. The whole of the centre-Left across Europe is in crisis – the German SDP has been overtaken by the Greens; in the Benelux they’re an irrelevance, and Finland has shown what happens when the populism the Left did so well is adopted by the right.

    What Labour in essence in doing is going away into a dark corner and having a moment of reflection. I don’t think this is bad idea at all. The general election is not for another 4 years – Cameron took his time to build a serious policy platform – we should do the same.

  25. Richard says:

    In short, the Labour intelligentsia and commentariat at the top of the party have their heads up their own arses. Guess what? The grassroots have been telling them this for eons. But have they bothered listening to the little people who engage in the ‘contact sport’ with local people week in week out and all through the year? Do they heck. Most of those at the top are career politicians, who’ve followed the SPAD route, and haven’t the first idea what really concerns Joe Public on civvy street and don’t seem truly interested. An example. We’ve just had an election and I’ve talked to I don’t know how many hundreds of people, as have all my fellow campaigners, and we’re a mine of information about the concerns of our fellow citizens. But has anybody at the top had the presence of mind to ask branches and CLPs to produce a post-election report detailing all the information we’ve gleaned and how we think it can be addressed? Of course not; our leaders just push their heads further up there backsides, in the misguided belief that they know what the people are thinking. They don’t and it’s about time politicians of all hues stop patronising the public with that line. But we do and we’re here, ready and waiting to tell you, if only they were willing to listen.

  26. Glyn H says:

    As one not of the left does all the foregoing not prove that Labour became obsolete with Fred Kite and Harold McMillan? Surely the Brown debacle showed that even shrouding socialism in fake Blairite clothes cannot work for long?
    Clegg is hated as much for not being a lefty as the tuition fees; cannot the sensible left join the orange bookers and form a viable opposition?
    Ah, I’ve overlooked the SDP!

  27. Richard says:

    And I’ll add to that. If they did ask, boy would it transform CLP meetings. Imagine this: lively discussions, a thrashing out of ideas, the grasping of uncomfortable truths, the development of forward-thinking and a vision, greater community engagement etc etc and if we’re lucky, that might even draw new people in.

  28. Dr D Holdsworth says:

    Taking a strictly empirical view of Labour versus Conservative governments, and assuming all politicians to be of equally low intelligence (a reasonable assumption), one thing stands out starkly: Labour Governments always cause financial disasters, and Conservative ones mostly do not. It can therefore be argued that running a country the Conservative way is much easier to get right than running one the Socialist way.

    If you look at the last thirty years or so of Labour leaders, once again a pattern stands out: the only Labour leader out of the seven (including Red Ed) that have been in power who could lead the party to electoral success was Tony Blair; all others were electoral poison. The pattern here is this: the average Labour leader is a man who has fought their way up through the Labour bureaucracy over a very long time (and has lost the common touch along the way); Tony accomplished the same task much more quickly and stayed in touch with the common man.

    The lesson here is obvious, I hope. Lose the overwhelming bureaucracy, and adopt more Conservative policies, adopt also a meritocracy inside the party (which means sacking the likes of Gordon Brown. Here’s some more advice; duck when he reaches for a Nokia) and make the expulsion of electoral poison much easier.

    Alternatively, get used to losing elections.

  29. RichieP says:

    “But if it says something like “Labour will work with the British people to make sure that people who play by the rules get their fair share, people who do the right thing get rewarded, and that there are jobs for those who can work and security for those who can’t. We know we can achieve this because unlike the Tories, we really are all in it together.”, then I’m not sure I see much of a problem.”

    For heaven’s sake, for all the high-flown ideas here, the basic reality is that voters (like me, ex Old South Wales Labour) don’t believe a word Labour says anymore (whatever pastel shade you crayon it in with). You turned this country into the most spied upon and over-legislated state in the world; you took away personal liberties without a second thought; you endlessly nagged on about fairness and all the other buzz words but behaved as if you were always the ones who knew best, wagged your fingers, dismissed and patronised the population and then showed you were (at least in parliamentary party terms) just as much or more corrupt than the bloody Tories. I don’t know what the answer is and I wish I could bear to vote Labour again but I don’t trust you. And I certainly don’t trust the Hampstead graduates who form the bulk of your leadership and shadow cabinet. It would help if Milliband could pronounce his Ts too. And get rid of Balls, what a dire liability.

  30. hampsirehog says:

    No offence, but why don’t you campaign on what you believe in rather than finding what the voters think they believe in and then adjusting your policies. You look like you are too hungry for power for the privilege it brings rather than the good you may be able to do. Start with your front bench – they act like small children who have their dummy taken away….pontificating and criticising on this and that with no offer of a constructive alternative. A spot of humility (not possible for some of them, evidently) would likely go a long way. Just a thought

  31. Martin Robinson says:

    May be a bit off topic but it may help to explain why Labour despite everything that is going on won’t get anywhere with the present strategy

    As someone who has worked in the private sector (engineering sector) all his adult life both employed and self-employed it has been apparent in the last 13 years that labour have very little experience of life outside of the relatively comfortable bubble of the public sector. I and many of my colleagues should be natural supporters of labour, but are in despair of the political process because no party seeks to understand or represent our views and life experiences i.e. work hard, don’t take the ****out of your employer or the customer, the customer is the priority, profit isn’t a dirty word (it keeps us in a job) etc etc

    Many of us have had since the financial crisis, have had years of pay cuts, redundancies, pension cuts (no final salary scheme for us), retirement if we’re lucky at 68 and efficiency drives; yet at the same time we witnessed first hand in the public sector (NHS, Local Government etc) overmanning, waste and incompetence on a scale that has to be seen to be believed. Much of which is freely admitted by those we have dealt with and who are also depairing of the system.

    Try communicating with the whole population rather than your narrow client base, and recruit from a wider gene pool as well and you might get somewhere!

    Finally, an apology for messing up would be a good start

  32. Peter Thomson says:

    It may stick in a lot of the English Party’s throat but you have to ask yourself in a Scotland that remains socialist by intention why did Labour loose so heavily in its Glasgow heartland?

    In many Scots eyes we only have one socialist, left of centre party – the SNP. Worse fro Labour the SNP have successfully tapped into that subliminal Scottish concept that we Scots are ‘Aa Jock Tamson’s bairns’ one that used to be solely Labour’s preserve.

    It has nothing to do with blue, red or yellow with purple spot Labour it is simply that to many of what used to be Labour’s vote pool, Labour just looks the same as the Tory Party – outside of the South and South East we do not like the Tories and why would anyone in the SE and South East vote Labour when they have the ‘real thing’ to vote for.

    Labour have lost the plot big time as MacTeran’s comments on Newsnicht on the 6th of May make starkly clear. Just how can you re-energise Labour when one of its chief wonks is calling the Scottish voters stupid, didn’t get the point of Labour’s campaign because Scottish MSPs and CLP’s were not sophisticated enough to ‘sell the negative message’ about the SNP.

    How about this – Labour will remain stopped in the water as long as Millibank, its introverted leadership carry on in the present manner. What bright spark there thought up the plan of Murphy, Brown and Reid are all that is needed to sort out Labour’s growing problems in Scotland.

    Wee Eck must be laughing all the way to the 2014 referendum. Cameron is giving in left right and centre, the Libdems are talking up kicking Brown and Wendy Alexander’s ‘This will stop the SNP Bill’ into the long grass as it is now a ‘cruddy little bill’. In Scotland the Libdems are asking for the heads of Moore and Alexander.

    Labour needs to do a lot more than discuss the make up of its ‘belly button fluff’ if it is not to head towards obscurity.

  33. Major Plonquer says:

    Congratulations. You win this month’s coveted ‘No-Shit-Sherlock’ award for the bleeding obvious. But how can anyone write such a pile of drivel about a pile of drivel without even mentioning the word ‘immigartion’?

    Every single person in Britain is financially worse off because of your lot. ‘But we are very educated people on the left.’ No you’re not. Your thick as two short planks – ALL of you.

    We’ll eventually fix your economic shambles because we have to. Eventually your leaders will even admit they were responsible. But how on Earth do you propose to fix the immigration mess you made? Even the BNP have an answer for that – however unpalatable. So let’s hear it.

  34. opinion prole says:

    The trouble with you intellectual Lefties is that you are always promising some unattainable utopia or impossible la-la land of fairness, equality, diversity, blah blah blah. You treat the general population as though they are idiots with your childish arguments against capitalism. The British electorate doesn’t take to ‘isms’, whether socialism, communism or fascism. But they do live happily in a world of capitalism because it is just the result of hundreds of years of people working out how to trade with each other, and of course you know that.

    Labour’s leaders merely demonstrate that you can graduate from an elite university with a top degree in PPE and still know nothing about real life. Your problem is – and always has been – that you have absolutely no idea whatsoever how to run anything efficiently at minimum cost because never in your whole existence have you had any experience of doing so. After 13 years of Labour wrecking our country (and two previous attempts since the second world war that both ended in disaster) the voters want a government that can actually run the country properly within its means and stop bossing and nannying everybody in sight. Most people can run their own professional lives with vastly more competence than Labour ran the country, and of course you know that too.

    For heaven’s sake wake up to reality. If you ever want to be re-elected again, ditch the endless drumbeat about the poor (we are all poorer than we were thanks to Labour as our Sterling assets are worth 25% less) and the Tories wanting to destroy the NHS (obviously they don’t) and the need to bend our society to give advantage to minorities (the majority gets the priority in a democracy, get used to it) and ditch the hypocrites who put their kids into private schools (while ruining the comprehensives with crap curricula).

    I could go on, but suffice it to say do not under any circumstances moan about Margaret Thatcher ever again. Your electoral plight is entirely of your own making.

  35. Dan1el says:

    Myabe someone shoukld explain to the Students that the largest debt they will take on in their working lives is a home.

    And under Labour, house prices were purposefully manipulated to rise, by nearly 300%?

    Brown then ‘bribed’ the homeowners by bailing out the banks, so the people who do not own property, are having thier money stolen to pay to keep the banks assets, massively overinflated. In other words, the people who do ot own property are paying for everyone else’s houses, ensuring they can never afford thier own.

    Is that your Socialist Utopia?

    People with the same job, same wage, but just a couple of years older than us, are sitting on £300k houses, where- as weve been forced to waste tens upon tens of thousands in rent, as House Prices were purposefully manipulated to rise further and further out of our reach year after year. Via unpunished, Fraudulent practices which have been rewarded.

    There are literally Millions of us.

    With banks bailouts Brown implemented his ‘Debt Transfer’ Scam.

    Pushing millions who have already been forced to pay off ‘liar loan’ landlords mortgages and retirements, into further debt slavery.

    So we continue to work for nothing. No capital.

    It angers me even now thinking about it, after over a decade of suffering through it. [And there is still no explanation from Brown and Labour as to why they did this. Instead, they scream at anyone daring to question them, like bitter shrews]

    It’s so destructive, unfair, ideologically twisted, and downright evil. Its THEFT. And it was avoidable. It didnt have to be this way.

    The blame lies firmly at the door of government sponsored fraud and theft.

    Proudhon, A 19th Century influential philosopher and staunch socialist criticized big capitalist property from the petty-bourgeois position and dreamed of perpetuating small private ownership…….

    “We do not hesitate to assert that there is no more terrible mockery of the whole culture of our lauded century than the fact that in the big cities more and more of the population have no place that they can call their own. The real key point of moral and family existence, hearth and home, is being swept away”

    Now that could accurately be described as a socialist policy.

    Which is the LAST THING in the world the LABOUR Party are.

    Economic Fascists is a much more accurate description of Labour.

    [The most notable characteristic of a fascist ideology, being the seperation or persecution of one section of a society at the expense of another]

    Is there a Left and a Right?

    I dont see ANY evidence of it in the political Parties of Modern Britain.

    It takes a crisis to show that all political philosophies, are reduced to the lowest common denominator.

    The Terms ‘Plutocracy’ or ‘Corporateocracy’ describe the UK better than any other.

    The Parties just exist to divide and Conquer the Masses dont they?

    To give us all a ‘pretend choice’?

    Real Democracy is anathema to ‘the State’ and they have been fighting against it for centuries.

    By mutual consent, all Political Parties are corrupt. Because Money corrupts all politicial philosophies.

    Rot In hell forever Labour. You have condemned millions of us to lifetimes of Debt Slavery.

  36. iain ker says:

    The Terms ‘Plutocracy’ or ‘Corporateocracy’ describe the UK better than any other

    ******************************************

    Rubbish.

    Try publicpursocracy you’d be a lot nearer the mark.

  37. Dan1el says:

    Corporatocracy:

    A social theory that focuses on conflicts and opposing interests within society, denotes a system of government that serves the interest of, and may be run by, corporations and involves ties between government and business.

    Where corporations, conglomerates, and/or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country, including carrying out economic planning notwithstanding the ‘free market’ label.

    Plutocracy:

    One modern, perhaps unique, formalised example of a plutocracy is the City of London. The City (not the whole of modern London but the area of the ancient city, which now mainly comprises the financial district) has a unique electoral system. Most of its voters are representatives of businesses and other bodies that occupy premises in the City. Its ancient wards have very unequal numbers of voters. The principal justification for the non-resident vote is that about 450,000 non-residents constitute the city’s day-time population and use most of its services, far outnumbering the City’s residents, who are fewer than 10,000.

    The second usage of plutocracy is a reference to a disproportionate influence the wealthy have on political process in contemporary society

    ——————————————————————————-
    Rubbish? I do not think so.

    http://i718.photobucket.com/albums/ww185/GoFastGeorge/head_up_your_ass2.jpg

  38. Dan1el says:

    The concept of corporatocracy is that corporations – to a significant extent – have massive power over governments, including those governments nominally elected by the people, and that they exercise such power via corporate monopolies and mergers and by their enormous, concentrated economic power which, by recent economic crises, allows them the luxury of saying “we are too big to fail” and by legal in-the-open mechanisms (lobbyists, campaign contributions to office holders and candidates, threats to leave the state or country for another with less oversight and more subsidies, etc).

  39. iain ker says:

    Daniel says
    [And there is still no explanation from Brown and Labour as to why they did this’

    ————————————————————–

    I’m afraid that when it comes to cock-up vs conspiracy, with these two I would go for cock-up every time.

    I mean is there any evidence anywhere that they succeeded in anything they tried to do, anything useful that is.

  40. Balrog says:

    As a self employed carpenter working it is crystal clear to both myself and others that Labour sorry New Labour was THE worst thing to happen upon this country. I’m no Tory troll before you start spitting bile at me, i even voted for them in ’97.

    But to my astonishment by the end Blair’s first term everything i was working for seemed pointless, housing was slipping from my grasp as prices increased dramatically while my personal pension was heading for the floor.

    From my own experience of running a business in the construction sector i can only say that had new labour put more time into the bigger picture rather than tapping me on the shoulder with sheafs of new legislation that i needed to comply with we may not be in the mess we currently find ourselves in.

    Part P legislation was one of the more memorable cock up’s i can remember (from the office of the deputy prime minister), over night the construction industry was thrown into unmitigated chaos by requiring everyone to re-qualify (even though they may have been trademen for 30 plus years) to a ‘new standard’.

    What was wrong with C&G and apprenticeships thats how i learned.

    Great. so you have to stop work so no earnings – thanks, and then outlay a load of money to get yet another id card to hang round your neck before you walk onto a site oh yes and then pay a yearly subscription for the privilege of going to work otherwise without it you can’t earn.

    As a mate of mine pointed out, “we’re paying to go to work and this is under a labour govt?”.

    The constant meddling in the affairs of its citizens both professional and private indicates to me a govt that’s not in control, is it any wonder that the likes of people like me look for an alternative, and whats around ain’t much better in my opinion.

  41. Richard says:

    “Labour Governments always cause financial disasters, and Conservative ones mostly do not.”

    Dr Holsworth, 18 years of Tory government and three recessions. 13 years of Labour government, one recession. Is that empiricial enough for you?

  42. Richard says:

    “some unattainable utopia or impossible la-la land of fairness, equality, diversity, blah blah blah.”

    Opinion Prole, well tell Cameron that then with his Big Society idealism, his self-proclaimed progressive budgets, his repeated assertions of fairness for all, his equality of opportunity, blah blah blah.

  43. Richard says:

    “we are all poorer than we were thanks to Labour as our Sterling assets are worth 25% less”

    You better take that up with Osborne then as he is deliberately implementing policies to keep sterling weak to boost exports.

  44. Richard says:

    “and the Tories wanting to destroy the NHS (obviously they don’t)”

    Oh ah, Opinion Prole, then perhaps you’d care to explain why Mark Britnell, recently appointed to a new panel of senior health policy experts by David Cameron to advise his government, said in his speech at a seminar addressing health corporations, that:

    “In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer.”

    And this delicious revelation:

    “The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”

  45. WillNeverVoteAgain says:

    In your zealous attempts to ram home your belief in your own political philosophical superiority over the Tories, you ended up severely injuring, not the tories, but the average folk of Britain.

    Possibly irreprebably.

    It felt like you had a personal vendetta against us.

    I wondered in my naivety if you understood what you had done. But now I understand how ruthless you are.

  46. SoapboxL says:

    A strategy derived within the back rooms of Labour offices by intellectuals who have over-thought and over-intellectualised how to communicate to disenchanted Labour voters who have abandoned the party in favour of Cameron’s Blues and a strategy to outline how to take Labour forward.

    I give you the link above to help you understand what Blue Labour is, but it makes Blue Labour thinking even more confusing. If it is a strategy in strengthening the foundations which Labour are built on, why introduce the traditional Tory colour of blue? If it’s an attempt to bring back voters to Labour, the jargon of a party seemingly indulging in the exploration of their own intellect will surely be enough to keep them away.

    The Big Society and Alarm Clock Britain are two very good recent examples of how to confuse voters by attaching ambiguous titles to policy ideas. I feel Labour are heading in the same direction labelling what is essentially a simple strategy. It’s a label which also confuses voters who have stayed with Labour.

    It lacks clarity. It raises more questions than answers about the direction Labour are going in. It’s a label which results in you having to look at the detail to find out what it means. It turns a strategy which is clear into confusion. It blurs the line between Labour and Conservative. It doesn’t resonate – people will not be talking about Blue Labour on the street.

    The voters Labour are trying to reach out to aren’t inherently Tory. They want to be red. Those people and those who have stayed with Labour just want to know where the party are going – without the fancy labels.

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