Despite everything we know, Labour is still acting as the soft wing of the capitalist party and continuing the pantomime that the poor have to pay for the bankers’ crisis while defending the rich who have never had it so good. They may be points up on the Tories in the polls but they’re still running scared at their own conference.
Profits at a record high, luxury goods going through their vaulted roofs because there is no recession at the top, and still Labour perpetuates the myths of the Tory austerity agenda. The Sunday Times Rich List top 1,000 may reveal a worth of £440bn and record profits during the crisis since 2009 but Shadow(y) Chancellor Ed Balls still insists that hard times are set to than people hoped — not for the upper crust, of course, just for the rest of us who are having to recapitalise the banks.
Watching the Labour Conference 2012 is like seeing Mafia hopefuls making their bones before the next stage of their careers. So Balls can pledge to be “ruthless” with our public services, and the Scottish Labour Party leader can promise an “end to the something for nothing culture”, like they’ll even touch the royals and their subsidised business chums.
If, for example, Dr John Reid can step out of his job as Labour Home Secretary and into a directorship of the dire G4S mopping up the privatised services Reid used to oversee; if the Blairs can cash in on the break-up of the NHS with their Mee Healthcare travesty, then why shouldn’t the other chancers in the party pave the way to a golden career? Let’s hope they choke on it.
Chuka Umunna declares, “Markets have been the greatest engines of innovation and prosperity the world has ever known.” Really? He can say this after what the markets have done to the western economy in the past few years? As someone pointed out, plenty of innovations such as the internet have been pioneered in the state sector, not to mention the raw talent unleashed in Britain in the 1960s after education became universal, taxes for the rich were high and key industries were nationalised.
But still they fetishise business and suck up to the rich, facilitating their further looting of our ailing economy. They perversely ignore leading economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz who have given chapter and verse warning why austerity never works: the European solution to the euro crisis is ‘wrong’.
There are a few voices but they are being drowned out. Owen Jones has a stab at explaining what the Labour Party is about, and trade union leaders run the gauntlet when they offer an alternative to the current onslaught.
Len McCluskey said today at the conference: “”A public spending squeeze while City continues to let rip is simply not acceptable” and pointed out that the last Labour government “put too much faith in an unregulated City and allowed inequality to worsen. … Asking the poorest for further sacrifices for a crisis they did not cause is the road to political ruin & defeat at the next election.”
Amen to that.
Meanwhile, Eric Hobsbawm has died and left us with the minnows. Sad for him, tragic for us.
Anna’s food blog here: