The conceit of Neal Lawson
That's enough about Trident.
Now let's resume normal service with a look at Compass Chair Neal Lawson.
Neal has been Down Under. Unfortunately for the British Labour Party he had a return ticket.
His trip was not, mind, a fact-finding trip to find out how the ALP has got a huge poll lead, is being rejuvinated by new moderate leader Kevin Rudd or is in power and governing well in every state and territory government.
Nope, he went to tell them "the lessons they could learn from" Compass.
I think that is what is known as a Pommie colonialist mentality.
Did anyone tell the dominant faction in the ALP, the Labor Right, that he was there?
And what lessons did he tell the bemused Aussies? How to publish tract after tract of pseudo-intellectual codswallop? How to undermine your party's current and next leader? How to regularly attack your own party in the Guardian? How to be wrong on almost every major issue? How to preach democracy but rig your consultation poll on the Deputy Leadership?
Here's what he actually said, in italics:
- Don’t rely on or blame leaders: Neither Tony Blair, the new ALP leader Kevin Rudd, Gordon Brown or any other Labour leader has all the answers. Leaders always take the path of least resistance. They need to be channelled to take the best possible path. Crying betrayal just disempowers us. What a hypocrite. He spends all his time blaming leaders.
- Don’t turn desperation into capitulation: The left in the UK gave Blair too much room and too much credit after 1997. We didn’t win as New Labour and we didn’t have to govern as New Labour. We won, like all oppositions, as not being like the previous failed government. More radical paths were open to us and still are. This probably one of the most politically illiterate single paragraphs I have ever read. A good example of Neal writing the diametrical opposite of the truth and thinking if he asserts it enough times it will be retrospectively true. And back in 1997 he was one of the worst "New, New, New, liquidate the Party" ultras.
- Have an alternative economic policy: The left has been lazy on economic policy above all else. Its left just one route – too much accommodation with free market practices that lead to a social recession. The Compass report on A New Political Economy sets out the starting points of such an alternative. Yeah, an alternative economic policy - a real vote winner like it was in 1983. An alternative to the prosperity we actually have had for 10 years. We'll have to give that a try on the doorsteps: "let's pull you out of the misery of the social recession you didn't know you were in. You'll lose your job, but never mind, you'll get a yoghurt weaving class or esperanto lessons to make you feel more socially prosperous."
- Have an alternative public service reform agenda: Don’t just be left with commercialisation as the only response to new demands on public services. Develop democratic and collectivist alternatives such as co-production. "Co-production"????? Oh I see, another made up concept from the Compass book of ideas generated by 2nd year sociology students...
- Have an electoral strategy: New Labour has held a monopoly on this issue and must be challenged. Not least because 4 million votes have been lost since 1997 and more of the same strategy will see us lose the next election. Yep Neal's got an electoral strategy. It's called winning all the 400,000 Guardian readers but losing the other 99% of the population.
- Believe a different world is possible: Left politics must be about transformation not just adaptation. People join Labour party’s and align themselves to left politics because they want to change the world. If we stop believing this is possible then we start to go backwards. Believe a different world is possible. But one only Compass members would want to live in.
- Build a force of ideas and organisation: Ideas and beliefs are the starting point of politics but as Lenin said “the victory of ideas needs organising” and cannot be left to chance. Aha, a Lenin quote. Obviously a great inspiration for all democratic socialists (ignoring the few hundred thousand of us he had murdered in the Red Terror. I hope he quoted Lenin in Sydney. They expel people who quote Lenin there.
Welcome back Neal. I was missing your frequent reminders of exactly how pernicious and laughable Compass is.