Thursday, September 22, 2005

labour come to town

One of the oddities of politics at the moment is that you'd think I'd be looking forward to having Labour down to Brighton for the conference next week; Blair and his shoddy government have behaved so contemptibly recently that you'd expect to feed off the groundswell of bitterness and anger that people feel for the Labour party. But instead the conference will most likely go off without a hitch, expertly stage-managed to block too many mentions of Iraq, Bush or Robin Cook. I've not heard of any demonstrations in Brighton while Labour are down here, either. Instead we'll have to watch, feeling sick, as Blair gets his seven minute standing ovation.

UPDATE: My comments above and in the comments section below, by the way, are much informed by Jonathan Freedland's recent article, 'One sentence that tells us so much about Tony Blair', which you can read here. Inspired by Blair's words to Murdoch last week, Freedland is good on our PM:

"[...]We owe Murdoch a great debt. He has given us a single sentence that says so much. It reveals a Labour prime minister whose every instinct is at odds with the movement he leads. The BBC or Fox News? He chooses Fox. The victims of Katrina or the Bush White House? His sympathies go to the White House. German Social Democrat or the Prussian Thatcher? He chooses Thatcher.

This is Tony Blair, utterly out of step with the party he has led for 11 years. There is no outrage, just a shrug of the shoulders. Next week at the party conference he will get a standing ovation, as out of reach as an American second-term president - there is no realistic way of getting rid of him. Instead Labour will just wait for the day he goes, off to meet his inevitable destiny - the US lecture circuit - to earn millions and eat fine dinners with the Kissingers and Murdochs, the Berlusconis and Bushes, who are for him what Labour never was: his natural home."

8 comments:

kate said...

don't bet on it. hopefully the bastard will get savaged.

Ian said...

I know we keep saying this, but perhaps people really will stand up to blair this time. His recent behaviour hasn't just been offensive its been bizarre: briefing for a thatcherite in germany, castigating the BBC for fair comment on new orleans. The guy is in his thatcher phase - totally unstable and disconnected.

jonathan said...

Yep, true. The Merkel stuff was unbelievable, I can't believe it's come to this...

Anonymous said...

I missed that, what happened with Merkel?

jonathan said...

basically Blair's aides went on the offensive briefing against Shroeder, saying he was finished and suggesting that Angela Markel would "carry the blairite torch in Berlin" - all part of him repeatedly aligning himself with the likes of Bush, Berlusconi and Jose Maria Aznar. In other words, thatcherites and neo-cons.

Bloggers4Labour said...

Anglo-German relations are poor at the moment: partly due to the German government's refusal to help oust Saddam, and their inability to reform their ossified economy (complete with nearly 5 million unemployed). Or perhaps Blair's just doing these things to get on all our nerves, a craven puppet of Murdoch.

Should we all be nice to Schroeder just because he's SPD, and not talk to people who want to institute reforms just because they're CDU. Is unemployment OK when it's on the watch of one of "our" parties? If you want the benefits of capitalism (and face it, nothing else is on the table in the foreseeable future), you have to broadly play by the rules. And one of those is "you don't solve unemployment (except in the very short term, if at all) by making your workers even more expensive to hire". Labour always gets stick here in the UK for doing this, from the CBI, et al., so they can hardly be accused of Thatcherism.

If I can make myself even less popular, just for a second, I don't see why, all of a sudden, there are going to be mass protests (precisely none of which the late Robin Cook would have participated in, or encouraged any other Leftie to). There'll be stage-management, naturally, but that doesn't imply that everyone's got a gag on. There was a General Election just 18 weeks ago.

jonathan said...

I'm not a big fan of Schroeder particularly; Germany faces a decade of reform either way and whether they go slow or fast is a matter of taste - all the same, Merkel is a fairly unpleasant character: opposed to Turkish entry to the EU, anti trade union, pro-war, anti-immigration, pro-nuclear etc.

The second most popular motion tabled for the conference is for some kind of monument to Robin Cook and his continuing influence. But the conference arrangement committee are, unsurprisingly, doing everything they can to block it "on technical grounds".

DailyLinks said...
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