Thursday, 27 May 2010

NuLab (New Labour) review 1997-2010

By now most of us have given up on politicians. At the election on 6 May 2010 only about 62% of voters managed to lift their bum off the couch and do their duty – a disgrace as this was the most advertised election campaign ever in British history. The full brunt of Twitter, Facebook, eMails, mobile phones, smart posters and big budgets were brought to bear, all, apparently, to little effect. In this age of automation 1000s were not allowed to vote, as the polling stations’ capacity was exhausted across the country and people were refused entry.

Is this Britain or Afghanistan?
Politicians and politics have clearly topped lawyers, estate agents and traffic wardens in un-popularity.

What was it that New Labour promised us in 1997, when euphoria broke out as Labour won a land-slide election?
A new and fairer society? (Did I hear that again in 2010?)
New politics? (Did I hear that again in 2010?)
A society based on strong values? (Did I hear that again in 2010?)
How dare politicians pander to public amnesia and think they can keep promising the same broken promises over and over again?

Let us therefore take a look at some of Labour’s 13 years’ record.

Today we have a society that demonstrates an unprecedented gulf between rich and poor. It has become a society of money, materialism and celebrities. When I bought my house in 1994 it cost roughly 3 times my yearly salary. I couldn’t buy it today for 12 times that amount. If you don’t know what rich is, then take the Alfa list of the 50 people with the highest income in the world. 8 are UK based and most are involved in the financial industry. These 8 managed an average of £200mill income each in 2007 and these 50 account for a total income of approx. £20bill. Hedge funds, Derivatives, Sub Prime Mortgage speculations in a free-for-all market with little regulation – all under the nose of a NuLab government that promised the end of Boom-and-Bust - have done more damage to our lives than we will be able to catch up with in the next 20 years.

When you are blessed with a Labour Prime Minister, who didn’t hesitate raiding our pension funds for £100bill and sell our gold-reserves at a dumping price, it is no wonder that those who were still awake kicked him out in the 2010 election.
It is a bigger wonder why so many still voted for him.
There’s public amnesia for you. Or plain stupidity?

In ’97 Blair trumpeted his 3 major priorities for all to remember: Education – education – education. Recently the UK was placed at nr. 24 on a list of maths teaching in Europe, but some of us didn’t forget the speech Blair gave and the applause he received.
The same positive promises were made on the alleviation of child poverty (it’s worse today than then), drink issues and criminality. When recently the lead was ripped off my neighbour’s house and my car was stolen the police bragged: no serious crime was committed in the area last month. Lies, damned lies and statistics seem to be Labour’s method.

One can argue endlessly (and we do) over the objectives and justification of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Personally I believe that the devout catholic Blair knew very well that the arguments were dubious and that he followed Bush’s tail, putting an almost religious spin to the matter. The follow-up to the invasion was dramatically disastrous. In short, NuLab took us to war without putting the country, or rather the military, on a war-footing. Demonstrated lack of military equipment and a public discussion drowning in political waffle have showed NuLab to be callous to an extent bordering on criminal laissez faire. In the end they had to admit that despite a rise in money spent on the military, the rise in real terms was nil. For a country at war?

This is unforgivable, even if there were a shadow of justification left.

It is almost trivial to make an account of the plethora of mismanagement NuLab has been responsible for. To err is human, but to really screw things up obviously took a Labour government. Here are a few examples.

Tonnes of spin were brought to the fore, when Labour tried to wriggle out of the 10p tax scandal as they mistakenly cancelled the lower tax bracket. It was another example of a party, that has ‘Labour’ to its name, protecting the rich more than the poor – something they always accused the Tories of doing.

Historically Labour has always been a big spender, almost a squanderer of state funds. That’s the reason we can now see the bottom of our coffers, finding ourselves trapped in the worst recession in 60 years, with the Pound at an all time low and unemployment at its highest ever despite the ’97-promise of full employment.

Public spending happened as if there was no tomorrow, even during the last days of NuLab in office and the Brown government had planned to continue as if there actually was a tomorrow, had they not been stopped dead in their tracks at the election.

The Millennium Dome cost in excess of £1.3bill against an original budget of £400mill. 70,000 family houses could have been built for this amount, eliminating the problem of Britain’s homeless. And then there is Ed Balls, the Education secretary, who had planned funding for massage rooms and contemplation suites in our schools. Eh? For distressed teachers, who have lost all control over the kids?

Identity cards would have cost £1bill, at least, and everyone except Labour agrees it would have been a complete waste of money. Quangos, e.g the “Potato Council”, spin doctors and ‘Consultants’ had the life of Roman governors under NuLab.

When the house started to come down after Blair’s departure and an un-elected Brown took over, it looks as though the emphasis changed to lining one’s own pockets before the gravy train stopped.

The MP scandal broke under Brown’s watch. The speaker had to be sacked for the first time since the 17th Century, as he refused to clean up the matter. Labour MPs were caught asking for cash (allegedly £3-5000) for lobbying. ‘Cash for honours’ was another juicy undertaking in which donors to the Labour party could obtain a Lordship. Compare this to Blair’s end-of-sleeze promise in 97. Free holidays for senior politicians also became the heading of the day and Blair was one of the frequent recipients. Then there was Blair’s wife, who excelled in snubbing the queen, using convicted criminals to broker the purchase of apartments and generally the Blairs operating a presidential life style that certainly had little relationship with the 97 promise of labour values. This, by the way continues today, where Blair is rewarded £2-400,000 an hour on the speech circuit with 16 publicly paid police officers as protection – and no contribution by him self - costing the taxpayers £5mill/year, while he retains another costly sinecure job as a ‘Middle East Envoy’.

Is that what he called ‘Labour values’ in 1997?

There must have been something sinister going on at an early state in the NuLab government. Why, otherwise, would the herostratically famous Jo Moore otherwise have said “This is a good day to bury bad news” just after the 9/11 disaster?

Peter Mandelsohn, who was twice sacked from the government, first time over lying about a home loan, was later asked to return as a “Business Tsar” by Brown, with whom he had dramatically fallen out. This prompts the question: what kind of dealings and wheelings were going on behind the curtain? What kind of person is Brown actually? After 10 years of constant arguments and rows between him and Blair, accusations of Brown bullying his staff and a public derogatory remark about an old voter as being an ‘old bigot’ – who did this un-elected prime minister think he was? And on that kind of question one can extend the curiosity to the daily comings and goings of the Unite Trade Union bosses’ daily visits to Brown in nr. 10. These are people who underpin the NuLab party budgets and at the same time try to bring down British Airways while twittering during confidential ACAS-talks. Talk about sinister people and events - - - - .

Then there’s the case about foreigners in Britain. NuLab has been completely unable to clarify what is going on, how many foreigners there are in this country and how many come and go.
The general popular attitude is that foreign immigration is a bad idea. But they forget that a lot of British people work abroad – in the EU and elsewhere.

Recently there was a TV-feature about foreign workers, East Europeans in particular, who worked as farm labourers in Norfolk. According to the local English employers there would be no business without these workers – and yet people on the street were complaining that foreigners took away work from the British, maintaining this was the reason for the local 10% unemployment figure. With great (actually enormous) effort the TV-producer managed to get a few of the English jobless out of bed, sending them out in the field together with the East Europeans.
Most of them didn’t last a day, the rest didn’t turn up on time and none of them was able to work effectively.

Why hasn’t NuLab created better conditions for work? Then you could say: You work, you get paid. You don’t want to work, support stops. Hardly rocket science.

In addition no one knows how many illegal immigrants we have. Poor people from all over the world have found that Britain is a soft target for their ambitions of a life away from extreme poverty. The stream of illegals, making the channel crossing hidden in lorries from Calais is endless. How difficult can it be to ‘defend’ an island? And are these people really such a big problem? In order to exist, they need money and they will only get money if the work, i.e. produce. Consequently they contribute to the economy. It all boils down to proper management and political regulation, something NuLab seems totally incapable of instigating.

As far as the EU-workers are concerned, Britain has a political and contractual obligation to accept them and they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t see the benefit. This is perhaps why the flow goes the other way at the moment, as the value of the Pound is falling.
Non-EU people also seem to leave faster than they arrive.

In other words: where is the problem, other than perhaps a social problem with misuse of people, who are in need of support and who live outside the system – and thousands of British job-seekers, who are too lazy to make an effort? The fact is that there are lots of jobs available, but few willing takers. Isn’t that just a management problem? The Tories seem to think so – a welcome change.

Labour’s record on political correctness and support of human rights is also tarnished.
Ostensibly 900 foreign criminals, some of whom are highly dangerous terrorists, have disappeared in the system, i.e. no one knows where they are. The Home Office is in a mess. Letting dangerous criminals loose on the streets of Britain is not a good alternative to sending them back to their home country. But obviously someone thinks it is better to absorb them as a local danger than potentially violating their human rights.

We don’t all agree!

Finally a word on Climate change and energy management.
NuLab lost the plot!
Britain only produces 2% of their energy in a renewable fashion against some other European countries’ record of 20-30%. The ploy today is to ‘pay’ yourself out of a carbon foot-print. This is disgusting, irresponsible and a mismanagement that shows no understanding of the problem nor commitment to the future. And yet Brown, at the charade conference in Copenhagen in 2009, said that “Britain would lead”. From the back seat? When he decided to print money and kept borrowing from abroad in 2009, very little went into green investments. The wind farms and North Sea grids now being planned will all be financed abroad and none of the materials used will be produced in the UK. It will take us at least 30 years to eliminate the Russian and Arab stranglehold on Britain’s energy. In the economic vice that a spendthrift NuLab has created for us, the consequences are difficult to oversee.

What a lost opportunity. We could have rebuilt our industrial base. Instead we missed an obvious chance to change Britain’s economic platform from becoming based on B&Q, Homebase, MacDonalds and Supermarkets. Will we all end as hairdressers? Perhaps the lack of a business vision for Britain is the worst crime NuLab have committed.

Unfortunately the new Conservative/LibDem government keep talking about a commitment to halt climate change. Although they have a sensible objective of building the nuclear power stations we so badly need, they don’t seem to have seen the light either: that we probably have no impact on climate change whatsoever (see elsewhere on my blog: AGW-nonsense), that we have no money to invest in a dramatic turn-around and that the promised investment in small industry leads nowhere, when the big industry suffers and a green energy industry is left for others to build.

One of the Tories just spent a week in Bangladesh to see for himself the effect of climate change. Eh? When cutting Himalaya’s forests are the main cause of flooding in a country that probably never should have occupied the land they have. Why didn’t he go to Germany, Denmark – or the village in Scotland, where people have made themselves 100% independent of a carbon energy supply, except when used in cars? No one seems to understand that realistic adaptation is far more important than preventing something over which we have no control. NuLab killed the cat and the Tories seem to be just as confused and drowned in political correctness.

My fear is that now the ‘toffs’ are in power, they may lean back and relax. Politicians only work for politicians.

Is there hope for the population, then?

Will the banks stop repossessing the homes of people, who must suffer the consequences of the financial mismanagement by the very same financial institutions? These are the banks, who lend the money in the first place and who now continue to pay billions of pounds in bonuses to their employees – the same money the banks received from the taxpayers to stay alive? In this light repossession is deeply immoral.

Thank you NuLab for creating these conditions through lack of vision, lack of honesty, broken promises, false values, a messy relationship between The Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority, lack of proper regulation – and a colossal mismanagement across the board.

This was done on the watch of what Labour-voters still call the “best chancellor we ever had”, referring to Brown’s 10 years in nr. 11 Downing Street.

His unelected time in nr. 10 showed in less than 3 who he really was!!

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