Wednesday 29 September 2010

By their deeds (or lack of them) shall ye know them

It was good to hear Ed Milliband admit that three of his political heroes, Lloyd George,Keynes, and Beveridge, "were not members of our party," (though he couldn't quite bring himself to admit that they were Liberals) and that he is going to vote for AV. But the main burden of his speech was to dissociate himself and the "New Generation" Labour Party from all the errors of New Labour.

On the previous day Brother David had given an enumeration of Tory foreign policy failures from 1979 to 1997:
  • halving the aid budget,
  • standing to one side while tens of thousands were slaughtered on the edge of Europe,
  • fighting and losing a beef war with the EU.*
What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. For 13 years New labour had a substantial majority and, in the early days at least, substantial good will. Yet in this period they:
  • toadied to the most right wing American president in recent history and illegally invaded Iraq,
  • failed to give the opportunity for electoral reform (in spite of a manifesto promise),
  • introduced only half-hearted political reform,
  • further reduced the powers of local government,
  • were relaxed about people becoming "filthy rich" and failed to implement a fairer tax system,
  • burdened future tax payers with the cost of the absurd PFI system,
  • presided over an increase in inequality,
  • further eroded our civil liberties,
  • continued the Tories' prescriptive policies in education,
  • debased politics by their obsession with spin.
An article on religion which I read recently claimed that repentance and forgiveness are merely a desire to achieve a happier past. Liberal Democrat campaigners should make sure that Labour is not allowed to wash its hands of its past, and Liberal Democrats in government should remember that the same will apply to us.

* As reported in the Guardian, 28/09/10

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