Where is the next left? Part 1

What seems apparent to anyone with half a brain, and those of us who have barely the faculty to cogitate, is that whatever constituted ‘Left’ values and reasoning has been replaced by spin and Right-Wing ideology. The New Labour hijack of the Labour Party took any true representation of working peoples values and politics. Instead, the majority, we the electorate, were left with an unrepresentative and undemocratic Parliament.  Government by finance was the new order of business. It can be argued, quite validly, that the ‘great bastion of democracy’ was always open to a bit of financial coercion.  I am not going to debate what is an evident fact. The difference now from then, is the degree that those with money have been allowed access  the UK’s populous. We saw the rise in non-elected Ministers: Lord Adonis and Mandelson for instance.  (Men of Money or men connected to men with money). For Mandelson see:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake/3141550/Peter-Mandelson-and-George-Osborne-the-Russian-link.html a point I will return to.

With the increase in data storage and transference, for the first time in history, government had information on almost every aspect of its population.  The constant of civil liberty  and privacy had been destroyed and replaced with a woolly alternative of civil privacy in the form of the Data Protection Act  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents.  What at first seemed a positive, libertarian piece of legislation, was soon to show its true intent. Any of those amongst you that have fallen foul of this act will realise that it protects no one’s privacy and is usually used to inhibit or prohibit an individual’s access to their own life and how it is being portrayed by corporate interests.  To be fair to New Labour, the act was a Tory design that they watered down to suit their own corporate pals. The first irony of New Labour was how they damped down the true intent of the act,  by reducing many of the protections for civil life that the Right-Wing Tories had installed into the original draft.  This should have triggered alarm bells throughout British society, but we were all too pleased to see the end of the ‘Corrupt’ Tories. Little did we know what was to come.

David Blunkett as Education Secretary allowed for the introduction of tuition fees within months of New Labour coming to office. Although it has been argued that New Labour hadn’t promised to remove the threat of tuition fees, what was evident was, that they weren’t that eager to mention that they were keen to introduce them either. The British public were, without a shadow of a doubt, duped and deceived.  In typical Right-Wing fashion, New labour adopted the punitive aspects of the Dearing Report and avoided the more liberal ideals. Where Dearing had suggested keeping grants, Blunkett ignored this part of the report and went straight for the ‘pain’ being transferred onto the student.   http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2004/jan/27/tuitionfees.students

This was typical New Labour behaviour. When it came to choices to be made it always erred on the side of punitive damages onto the populace. Whether the great ideal of increasing access to higher education was valid or not. What was for certain was that Labour was going to follow the American model as closely as the British Public would allow it to.

At the same time as the New Labour Government were punishing the populous in general, with tuition fees, it was also very happy to reduce the tax burden on the wealthiest of society.  Reducing Corporation Tax to 31% from the Tories previous 33%. A strange quirk of ideology rises from this attempt, as Labour believed, to increase entrepreneurial endeavour. What actually happened was:  tax payments actually decreased in real terms. Individuals, using tax loopholes, jumped between self-employed and incorporation depending on which declaration afforded greater tax avoidance.  Larger companies chose to avoid British taxes by registering themselves abroad. Therefore, although Labour believed in the American dream of a low tax society, regardless as to how low they put tax rates avoidance increased.  http://www.ifs.org.uk/budgets/gb2008/08chap11.pdf What is also significant is the rise in ‘incorporations’ where employee levels were low or non-existent.

This seemed to be a factor that New labour were unaware of or unwilling to see.  Onward went the march of the Jack Boots over every aspect of British society. I could wax  lyrical about the tyranny that has oppressed genuine political thought but we all know that it’s true. Instead I want to see if there’s a way of bringing the majority into a real understanding of what it means to be a Lefty.

The labour party stole the ‘left’ almost at the point of their inception, although within the movement there were individuals with genuine socialist ideals. Sadly politics being the beast that it is those more interested in self-advancement soon weaselled their way into the party and stymied genuine socialist progress. A telling example of this was the National Health Service (NHS).  Although the super-structure (Hospitals and bureaucracy) were taken over by the state General Practitioners  (GPs) were left to be self-employed. This has, historically, caused conflict within the service.  Bevan, either through a lack of resolve or through ideological prejudice, was the beginning and continued direction of low funding within the NHS.  ‘We shall never have all we need,’ he said. ‘Expectations will always exceed capacity.’ He reported to the the Royal College of Nursing. http://www.nhshistory.net/shorthistory.htm Whether this is a truism or not we will never know for sure. What is certain is that this set in stone the political will for the NHS.  Therefore, free at the point of use health care was always seen as a service that would never be sufficiently funded, which may also have led to a professional and political belief in a failing system.

Instead of a will to push onwards and forwards for better ‘societal’ health, the NHS became a ‘just-in-time’ provision. This led to under funding in health education and a disjointed approach to health care in general. If funding had been sufficient from the onset and the political thought could have been more focused, the increases in expenditure and the raised expectations of the populous with regards to health behaviour may well have been different. The fact that research was, predominantly, undertaken within the public sphere, yet pharmaceuticals were kept with the private sphere, could not have benefited the NHS in any form. What should have been pushed was not.  That is, to have connected the NHS up to it’s research facilities and then to have further developed the infra-structure for drug development and production. This was never seen as an option by Bevan initially and any respective Labour government.  A sure sign, I fear, of Labour’s lack of true socialist commitment.




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