Bryan Gould disowns New Labour

Hat tip to Tom Harris for pointing out Bryan Gould’s article, I disown this government, in the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

I remember Mr Gould, former Labour MP and member of the shadow cabinet, as a seemingly decent sort of bloke – far too decent for New Labour, as it transpires.

He returned to his native New Zealand in the mid-Nineties to work in a university, but disowns his former Party with these words.

The floor is all yours, Mr Gould…

Those, like me (and almost everyone I know in the Labour party), who have been critical over the years of New Labour and its record in government, might have expected that the passage of time would bring with it a kinder judgment. And in my case, in particular, it might have been thought that – 12,000 miles away in New Zealand – distance would lend enchantment.

How, then, to explain that the more we take the long view of the Blair and now the Brown government, the sharper seem the contours of its failures and betrayals? How is it that the features of its landscape that grow – as our perspective lengthens – in shocking, anger-making prominence are those shameful episodes at home and abroad which cumulatively are a complete denial of what a Labour government (or any British government) should have been about?

There have been of course many good and decent day-by-day achievements of this government. Across the whole range of political issues, I do not say that Britain did not do better under Labour than it would have done under most alternatives. But these achievements have been molehills, judged against the towering peaks scaled by New Labour in its rejection not only of Labour, but of any decent and civilised values.

The first – and for that reason perhaps most unexpected – contravention of civilised norms was the Iraq war. The damning judgment of that doomed enterprise has been repeatedly rehearsed, but to read the charge sheet again is still a shocking experience. A British prime minister, claiming the right to moral leadership and an almost religious duty to confront evil, sucked up to a soon-to-be discredited US president and helped to launch an invasion of a distant country – an invasion based upon a lie, and one that flew in the face of international law, undermined the United Nations, alienated the whole of the Muslim world, seemed to validate the claims of terrorists and those who recruited them, destroyed the country that was invaded and killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens, took many young soldiers to their unnecessary deaths, and rightly reduced Britain’s standing in the world.

The New Labour government still refuses to acknowledge that any of this was wrong. It will not even countenance an independent inquiry into how such a fatal mistake was made.

It may seem improbable that the scale of the Iraq calamity could be matched in any other area of government. Yet, as the reasons for and scale of the global recession become clear, it is also increasingly apparent that another global (as well as British) disaster can be laid – substantially, if only partly – at the door of the New Labour government.

It was, after all, that government which enthusiastically endorsed the virtues of the “free” market, which turned its back on the need for regulation, which celebrated the excesses of the City, which proclaimed that it was “intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich”. The government that should have protected the interests of ordinary people was dazzled by the super-rich; unsuspecting Labour supporters found themselves thrown on the tender mercies of a marketplace that was cleared of any limits that might have restricted the rich and powerful. There have been no more enthusiastic cheerleaders for the culture of greed and excess than New Labour ministers.

On the central issue of politics – the willingness of government to use its democratic legitimacy to intervene in the market in order to restrain its excesses – the New Labour government ensured that the dice lay where they fell and applauded as they did. It was Tony Blair who, standing shoulder to shoulder with Rupert Murdoch, proclaimed that the future lay with the “globalisers” and that those who wanted to reclaim some control over their lives were “isolationists, nationalists and nativists”. It was Gordon Brown who removed the major economic decisions from democratic control and handed them over to unaccountable bankers.

That betrayal of those who looked to a Labour government to help them has seen a rapid widening of inequality and a sharp intensification of social disintegration. It is the jobs, homes and lives of ordinary people that have borne the brunt. The country is a weaker and poorer place as a result.

But even that failure pales by comparison with the latest revelations about the abandonment by New Labour of any pretence to civilised standards. We now know that this government connived with the Bush administration to hold people illegally, to kidnap them in secret, and to torture them while in custody – all in the name of a war against the forces of darkness. The perpetrators of these outrages seem to believe that they can be washed clean by simply declaring their superior morality.

Nothing more clearly distinguishes those beyond the pale than their willingness to use the secret, illegal and cowardly infliction of pain to terrify, cow and bend to their will helpless people being held without charge or trial or legal redress. It beggars belief that any British government could, in a supposed democracy, do so, and not even bother to respond to its critics. It is simply incredible that a Labour government claiming to represent the values of the Labour movement could believe in these circumstances that it has any right to remain in office.

For me, this is too much. I am sick to the stomach. I disown this so-called Labour government. I protest.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Economy, Heroes and Cowards, Iraq, Labour Lies, Torture, UK Politics

3 responses to “Bryan Gould disowns New Labour

  1. What an excellent article and it pretty much sums up how most people feel. However, it would have been nice if Mr Gould also made some reference to the fact that New Labour has also expended a great deal of effort to remove the right to privacy and liberty, that each and every British citizen is entitled to. Had he done that, then I believe he would have covered everything. That said, Bryan Gould has succinctly demonstrated what it is about this government that so sickens the people of this country.

  2. Byran Gould gets my vote any day.
    New Labour Government was a seamless transformation from the Centre for Policy dominated Thatcherite Tories, in that, it merely followed the same globalist trajectory which has led to: increased job insecurity via agencies, increased de-industrialization of the economy, a widening gap between rich and poor etc. Brown flogged off much of our gold reserves on the cheap. Blair brought the UK into senseless, costly, illegal wars. New Labour was created on the backs of massive dubious private donations (cui bono). Believe me! Old Labour Socialists spent far too much time taking on board, the pro-Gay, multicultural Tatchellite agenda and too little, listening to the ordinary working man. This coalition is going to abolish the state pension by default, they are going to work us to death. And all the trendy self publicizing Tatchellites seem concerned about, is promoting queer rights and multi-racial pop festivals.

  3. Here here. The abused people of UK and the world have had enough of being bullied, robbed, cojolled, kettled, lied to, cheated, raped of cash and dignity and above all the fictional notion that either of the current left-right paradigm partys (Labour and Conservative/Lib Dem). We have been backed into a corner and its more than overdue for change.

    I have decided to offer that change and its already gaining large support..Hits to my website are growing and although its a work in progress.. I do aim to be the first and only truly democratic, fair, people honouring prime-minister. As long as we get basic needs, the nonsense need never apply.

    Thank you for your continued support and referals

    David Sorkin
    The Gugu Party

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s