I am an admirer of the BBC, believe it to be reasonable, impartial and objective, and that it should be defended at all costs against the assaults of the Murdoch empire.
Having said that, I believe that the interview on this morning's "Today" programme between John Humphries and Ed Miliband was grossly unfair. Again and again Humphries attributed our present economic woes to the profligacy of the previous Labour government, and challenged Miliband to accept responsibility. Alas Miliband made no attempt to deny the accusation, but tried to divert the conversation from a discussion of the past to his views (one can hardly call it a vision) of the future.
It is shameful that in our highly educated and sophisticated democracy the convenient Tory lie that the primary responsibility for out present economic situation lies with Labour has become accepted truth.
It needs to be said loudly and clearly, that, in this country, in order of culpability, our present woes are the responsibility of:
1. Irresponsible capitalism made possible by the neo-liberal economic policies of market sovereignty and deregulation, introduced by the Thatcher-Major governments.
2. The Blair-Brown Labour government which went along with the prevailing philosophy. In this acquiescence they were egged along by the Tories, who urged even more deregulation.
3. The Liberal Democrats,who, having moved to the "Orange Book" right in economic affairs, failed to provide sufficiently vigorous opposition, although Vince Cable did fire a few warning shots.
I am not now nor ever have been a Labour party supporter (nor a Communist either for that matter.) The Labour government did fail, and instead of condoning the current convenient misrepresentation of their economic culpability Liberal Democrats and the responsible media should be exposing the real failings in the "13 wasted years" (an interesting echo of the 1960s), which, in my view are:
in Foreign Policy
+ Iraq war, collapse of ethic foreign policy project and general toadying to the US on foreign policy.
+ failure to engage positively with the EU
in Economic and Social Policy
+ failure to reform taxation and tax rich effectively
+ failure to close tax loop-holes, close tax havens, tax companies effectively
+ continuance of expensive and ineffective PFI projects
+ further privatisations (Air Traffic control, attempt at the Post Office)
+ no attempt to reform company law in the interests of all “stakeholders.”
+ failure to re-link pensions to earnings or prices, whichever is the higher
+ hence a growing gap between rich and poor
+vilification of claimants and those on welfare benefits
+ in summary, a continuance of the Thatcher-Major neo-liberal mixture as before.
in Constitutional affairs
+ breaking of manifesto promise on electoral reform
+ half hearted devolution to Scotland and Wales.
+ quarter-hearted attempt at devolution the English regions
+ further reductions in autonomy of local government
+ incomplete reform of the second chamber
+ failure to reform party funding
+ continued obeisance to powerful interests (Ecclestone, Murdoch press)
on Civil Rights
+ attempt to introduce ID cards
+ attempt to reduce right to trial by jury
+ extension of permitted period of detention without trial .
+ “sofa” rather than cabinet government
+ attempts to micromanage NHS, Education, and even devolved governments.
If Ed Miliband wishes to demonstrate that his party has changed then it is these issues he needs to address.