Friday, July 25, 2008

Glasgow East

The victory of the SNP came as no surprise to me. In one way it was quite refreshing, as their candidate was determinedly uncharismatic, rather like an animated garden gnome. But most of all, their platform was very much one of the promotion of social democratic policies, which Labour ought to be carrying out.

I was a Blairite once. Correction. I still think that there were aspects of the Blair government policies which I welcomed and think were very positive. However, their mistake was to be too entranced with their huge majority. The problem is that MP's never want to consider losing their seats. Governments do not need majorities of over 100 to govern, and in gaining such a majority, there were Labour MP's in some very unlikely places, who only voted Labour simply because the Tories were so inept and unelectable. The voters in some of those seats are and remain right-of-centre, and it meant that Labour MP's were constantly looking over their shoulders, fearful of doing anything which might possibly upset those fairweather voters. Of course, the vast majority of them fled after 1997, and simply didn't vote in 2001. By 2005 some had returned, and who knows, were it not for the presence of Dracula, a hung parliament may have been likely. Since then the Tories have become credible, international trends have led to economic downturn, and Labour have managed to upset and annoy almost everyone.

The core Labour vote see little in the way of genuine redistribution and a demonisation of the poor. The middle class guardianista vote ( which is obviously people like me) liked the cultural liberalism of NL but we don't like the foreign policy and are often in the position of seeing little real difference between what Labour in government is doing and what the Tories are promising. Or the LD's , for that matter. three identikit centre parties. No wonder it becomes so easy just to shift to a fresher, brighter model.

Not being of the far left, I would simply want the government to return to essential social democratic values. Forget Essex Man, and gaining large parliamentary majorities - not needed for government. Look towards those who are simply not going to bother to vote in the next election but are still essentially Labour. There is such a thing as the electoral cycle, and it is likely that the Tories will be elected next time no matter what the government do, simply because most governments get voted out after a long time in office ( and sometimes when they don't the outcome is disastrous - the Tories should not have won in 92 and reaped the consequences). But some basic social democracy would be a good idea. For a start, a ban on bonuses to company directors, particularly those in the city. A more protectionist policy in terms of trade ( about time Fortress Europe really did come into existence!). Restructure of the tax system which is far too flat and taxes the low paid at a far too early rate. Abandonment of PFI. Windfall taxes on profiteers. We need a party which has a properly sceptical view of the market - for it is the free market which has caused the current problems. It cannot be the solution.

3 comments:

John Spence said...

Hi Mike,

Much of what you espouse is what the SNP have implemented, which is why they won Glasgow East, in my opinion.

However, as a write, I am watching Newsnight and listening to that brushed aluminium cyber-prick Ed Miliband suggesting it was about the economic downturn, and that's all. The words 'deckchairs' and 'Titanic' spring immediately to mind...

dirty european socialist said...

The PM saved millions of lives by pumping aid into Africa.

Merseymike said...

I don't think brown is all bad, I think some of the things he did as chancellor were commendable.

However, I do think that we expected a change when he was elected as leader, and that has not happened. Also, I just don;t think he has the necessary qualities for PM. He is someone who ruminates and considers each issue, not a quick 'overview' thinker and doer. The former makes a good Chancellor, but not a good PM.