What is the point of the Labour party? Ctd

The final post in the series based on an article in The Telegraph about the point of the Labour party. The issues facing labour int eh UK are the same as here. A disconnect from their roots, the diminishing of traditional support demographics, a uninspiring and lacklustre leader and policies that don’t resonate anywhere.

It began as the political voice of the trade union movement. When that formula became electoral poison it transmogrified into a student union fantasy of nuclear-disarmament and soft Marxism. And from that nightmare it was rescued by a Blairite rhetorical trick: Labour would not be a class-based party any longer – it would speak for the whole country. Even if that were not a logical impossibility, Gordon Brown and his henchmen would have put paid to it. They had far too much invested in the traditional sectarian connections to be prepared to let them go. Using Mr Blair’s wars to discredit him, the henchmen are now writing a revisionist history of Labour in which the old shibboleths never died.

But alas, the mass numbers that once rallied to them are long gone. Who answers the call to trade union militancy now? Not even the majority of union members. How many ordinary voters believe that Big State socialist solutions are the answer to our economic problems – even though the free market is in disrepute? (It is remarkable how little parties of the Left have benefited from the present crisis of capitalism.)

Labour in New Zealand was too invested in sectarian connections that were developed under Clark. That is why they were unable to roll Phil Goff because each little faction didn’t have enough powert on its own and was unwilling to work together with one or two others to achieve better outcomes.

So Mr Miliband thrashes around in search of an identity. In an interview last week, he referred proudly to “the things I’ve talked about – the “squeezed middle”, what’s happened to young people, responsibility at the top and bottom…” But how different is this from the things that David Cameron talks about?

Miliband flirts for a time with something called Blue Labour, and then quickly distances himself when its spokesman reflects the anxieties of working-class people about immigration. He hopes to marginalise the unions by officially empowering party supporters as well as members. But what are they being invited to support? He plans a radical review of all the party’s policies. But how are the new goals and priorities to be judged? Perhaps he will give us some answers this week. But somehow I doubt it.

Throughout this whole series you could have substituted Ed Miliband for Phil Goff and every single word would still ring true. Labour are facing electoral oblivion and then they will have to start again, but unfortunately the clay they will have to work with for the next three years is decidedly average and flaky.

Their intransigence has doomed them.

 

 


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  • rouppe

    …but unfor­tu­nately the clay they will have to work with for the next three years is decid­edly aver­age and flaky.

    Don’t you mean dried out and brittle?

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