A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lib/Lab Pacts? No thanks

Sunder Katwala of the Fabians is a nice guy and a clever one too, but he's not covered himself in glory with his proposal for a pre-election Lib/Lab coalition in the New Statesman.

To quote Labour newsletter "Liberal Demolition":

"The most ludicrous and objectionable contribution the debate on the future direction of the Labour Party was made in the New Statesman this week by Fabian Society General Secretary Sunder Katwala. In his article he calls for a "pre-emptive progressive coalition" to be formed before the end of April, with the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats joining together as a political force and Gordon Brown appointing Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister.

This would be a betrayal of the British electorate and Labour Party members as great as that of Ramsay MacDonald in 1931. In 2005 Labour was re-elected with a healthy majority of 66 MPs with a clear mandate for governing Britain. The Lib Dems failed to win over voters then with their soft-on-crime policies, pie in the sky spending promises, plans for local income tax and a 50% top rate of tax. Since then under Calamity Clegg they have lurched to the right, promising to cut public spending by £20 billion, but they are still soft on crime and their sums still don't add up.

The Labour Party has no mandate to hand power to these people. It would also be a slap in the face for Labour activists who are fighting the Lib Dems in council wards across the country and who know just how nasty and opportunist they can be.

Labour thinkers should know better than to peddle this nonsense."

Couldn't have put it better myself.


Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

I'd thought the greatest betrayal of the Labour electorate was the synthesis of New Labour and the embracement of the free market. In our 10 years we have failed to re nationalise the utilities and rail, reform properly the union laws, introduce tuition fees, further burden the civil service with an ever changing and complicated tax credit system (where the lower grade staff are not properly trained by their superiors), no new grand plans to introduce council housing to cope with the shortage we have, put out to tender areas of our public services (even where these services are run well)and the Iraq War (where we flew in the face of the UN Charter by having a war of aggression against a sovereign state, I should also mention the lack of logistical support our troops recieved from the government when they were in theatre and lack of military hospitals and car facilities to treat the wounded when they return).

A lib dem pact, seems mild in comparision.

Mind you I have my own reasons not to like the Lib Dems, which can be summed up in three letters....

3:51 pm, February 04, 2009

Blogger Shamik said...

"In 2005 Labour was re-elected with a healthy majority of 66 MPs with a clear mandate for governing Britain"

Yes, Tony Blair was elected in 2005 with a majority of 66 and had a very clear mandate for governing Britain.

The same, alas, cannot be said of Gordon Brown; he has NO mandate, NO popularity and NO future.

The idea of Clegg jumping into bed with this pathetic exuse of a Prime Minister really is a ludicrous and objectionable assertion.

The Liberals may be mad, but they arenn't that mad....

4:22 pm, February 04, 2009

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

I think a pact with the liberals would have its good side; in fact, rather than simply demolishing Labourism a la McDonald, it could actually pull us leftwards, while still leaving us with a majority to get the resulting principles enacted.

Plus, we'd get electoral reform, which would sort both us and them, possibly for decades.

This is not to say that I favour a coalition. I just don't understand why it's that bad.

Secondly, I can't understand why, if the pledge were to be a pre-election one, this would be as bad as McDonald.

Or why, for that matter, Lib Dems are as bad as tories.

In my view, from a proper Labour perspective, the Lib Dems are not the historic enemy. They are firstly an inadequate answer to getting pro-worker/left policies put into practice (hence the lib/lab split), secondly an irrelevance, and third, bereft of principle.

But then, at least they're not tories.

5:00 pm, February 04, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Well, its just not going to happen, is it?

But if there is to be electoral reform, there may need to be some sort of temporary post-election agreement in order to gain it.

I think that the LD's have become quite vacuous under their current leadership - which has become too Gladstonian Liberal, losing its social democratic flavour.

5:22 pm, February 04, 2009

Blogger Paul said...

no-one who has experienced lib dem local government campaigns could ever suggest this. While they do have some good people and good policies they are a party that thrives on nasty personal campaigns while projecting themselves as not being the nice party.

The interesting difference is that Labour is slowly but surely shifting back to the left while the lib dems are moving right under Clegg. I also think they may be about to start riping themselves apart over policy shifts.

I don't want a coalition just for Labour to rediscover its more liberal side.

8:33 pm, February 04, 2009

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Sham, I think we won the 2005 election on the basis Brown would become PM, given Blair's was so unpopular.
I remember at the time people were saying they were not voting Labour because of Blair, some were apparently appeased by the notion Brown would become PM. That said I accept your basic premise Brown never won a leadership election (though I think it would have ripped New Labour apart).

I should have also included on my list civil liberties (ID cards and the like) which might prompt some of our supporters to vote LD in the future (again finding myself agreeing with Mike on this they are a cadre of vacuous nobodies, except Vince Cable- hey Luke was'nt he one of ours sometime back? Did he join the SDP?).

8:39 pm, February 04, 2009

Blogger Mark Still News said...

Ravi Gopaul

I agree with your 2 posts, NLP have betrayed us. The RMT one of the founders of the Labour party gets kicked out of the party in 2005, because Bob crow speaks out for his members he works for. NLP made the exuse that one Scottish branch had affiliated to Tom Sheridans party! Bob crow is an elected employee of the RMT on 5 year CONTRACT so he is paid to represent his members and even if that means upsetting some Yuppies, such as Blair & Mandy in NLP. NLP has lost 80,000 RMT members political donations, no wonder their skint?

NLP at national level are so right wing they could have a coalition with the Tories?

9:04 pm, February 04, 2009

Anonymous Jako said...

Agree with Luke and Paul. Local Lib Dem regimes can be thoroughly unpleasant and reactionary. When many of us are doing our best to struggle against them on a local level it would be very demoralising for our national leadership to cosy up to them. Sunder's suggestion that Labour would have to stop contesting seats where the main competitors are Tories and Lib Dems would be very dangerous for Labour's identity as a national party, IMO. Even if the national Lib Dems do have some good policy ideas we should not need to form a coalition with them to improve our own policy programme! And as someone else has pointed out, in many respects the Lib Dims are moving rightwards at the moment. Our party was born out of working-class frustration with the useless Liberals! Let's not forget that!

9:46 pm, February 04, 2009

Anonymous Ben said...

Quite right Luke.

Going into coalition with the vile Lib Dems would be a complete non-starter.

Miller 2.0 peddles the conventional lazy "progressive" thinking on this issue. Firstly, I'm not sure the gray blancmange of a government you are suggesting imposing on us for "possibly decades" is particularly democratic. Secondly, you make the assumption (why?!) that there is something which makes them always more likely to back us than the Tories. Polling evidence suggests that this is a poor assumption.

But there's a bigger reason it's a terrible idea. Progressive centre-left politics is inimical to their basic assumptions. Why are they so bad? Because they're a party with either irrelevant (a curious anti-statist "civil liberties" bent) or dangerous (junking Trident, legalising drugs) priorities that are frankly obsessive and entirely out of line with the views of sensible folk. They also exhibit a reticence towards our most important ally - the US, many of their members have a weird obsession with Israel and not only are they prepared to lie and cheat their way to success, but they're also not above using the previous two points to dabble in a nice bit of bigotted reactionary communalism.

An utter disgrace, in other words. It would be a massive betrayal of not just the Labour Party, but of common sense. They don't believe in anything more than a confection of pseudo-left "right on" middle class received wisdom. Which is in fact neither wise nor left wing.

And they smell.

1:05 am, February 05, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

Ravi is 100%, Labour were elected because people wanted Labour a labour government and not a new labour one.

You forget that most people pay very little attention to manifestos and probably didn't realise what New Labour was all about. My opinion is that it was John Smith who won Blair the election and not New Labour policies. People were expecting action on the Railways, Utilities and more employment rights.

The fact is that over the last ten years only 10% of British people have benefited from the global market. Over 40% have seen no increase in their living standards and the remaining portion have actually seen their incomes fall in real terms. Those at the bottom of the job pile have actually lost out as a result of the global market. The benefits of Browns global vision have only been seen by a minority which contradicts all of Labours policies.

Labour have often talked about giving people the skills to increase social mobility, but the reality is that social mobility has virtually stopped. Simply redistributing wealth via taxation will not reverse this trend and at the end of the day we will always need people to do these jobs, so why not pay them properly to do them.

So we have one real choice. We have to start paying more for services and products. That coffee we like in the morning is given to us by someone earning just £6.00 per hour, and we all know you can't live on those wages.

Brown has been so concerned with inflation that he has driven down the wages of the lowest paid. He has done this by tapping into the global employment market and by destroying manufacturing. Brown is the problem here and he must be removed.

10:50 am, February 05, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep a mandate...you might say that the electorate trusted Labour enough to give them another go of not screwing the country up further...

Boy hindsight is a wonderful thing...

11:19 am, February 05, 2009

Blogger Jackson Jeffrey Jackson said...

In my view, from a proper Labour perspective, the Lib Dems are not the historic enemy.

Arguably they are the primary historic enemy.

The Labour Party arose because of the inadequacy of both Tory and Liberal political programmes. Although the Liberal Party was more widely supported by workers, there was a significant background of Tory trade unionists and Tory Chartists. I don't think 19th century laissez faire Liberal economics delivered any more for workers than the protectionist imperialism of the Tories at the time.

And the SDP? The lowest vermin of the lot. Thanks to them (and Galtieri) we had a Tory government from 1983 to 1997.

12:11 pm, February 05, 2009

Blogger Shamik said...

we won the 2005 election on the basis Brown would become PM, given Blair's was so unpopular.
I remember at the time people were saying they were not voting Labour because of Blair, some were apparently appeased by the notion Brown would become PM

Yeah, I guess! But looking at Blair's personal popularity back then compared to Brown's over the past 18 months or so, ever since he bottled calling the election, it's a no-contest; part of me is tempted to throw my hands up in the air and say to the Labour party "this is what you wanted and this is what you've got"! Maybe the party doesn't deserve to have a change of leader and will only truly appreciate Blair once Brown has led us to disaster at the polls...

On the point of pacts, I think a Clegg-Cameron pact is far more likely than a Clegg-Brown one, but an outright Cameron majority is the most likely outcome of all.

12:29 pm, February 05, 2009

OpenID frankowenspaintbrush said...

Indeed, we at the Paintbrush Collective have already blogged to this effect - glad we agree, Luke.

1:02 pm, February 05, 2009

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

"Although the Liberal Party was more widely supported by workers, there was a significant background of Tory trade unionists and Tory Chartists."

Yeah, before the Labour Party was even born. Plus, any mention of this should include the context; it was a cynical ploy to cut the Liberals to of the working class vote, which had yet to come into existence, bearing in mind the franchise.

The point is that Labour split with the Liberal party because the class base of the party was an innefective counter to organised capital.

The primary party of organised capital is the Conservative Party.

Further, whatever their views are, most people don't go into Labour politics to stop STV, under age drinking, cannabis use and local income tax.

But the bulk of them are concerned about the condition of workers and users of public services, who are always the main target of Tory onslaught.

I accept the above point about Libs being right-wing on a local (and increasingly national) basis. But nationally they still don't have a patch on the tories for right-wingery.

A young documentary maker interviewed me recently. I asked her whih party she associated with the term 'social justice'. She said 'the Lib Dems?'.

This is a common opinion among people, like myself, who were brought up under New Labour.

It needs reversing if we are to have any prospect of polling well in the future.

2:09 pm, February 05, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It would also be a slap in the face for Labour activists who are fighting the Lib Dems in council wards across the country and who know just how nasty and opportunist they can be."

You have GOT to be kidding me? The Labour Party in particular has a reputation for being the most hate filled bunch ever to seek political office. Tory candidates are regularly on the receiving end of their foul mouthed diatribe whenever they cross paths, and their mood isn't much softer when dealing with the Lib Dems.

Certainly, there are tossers in every party, but let's not for one second start to throw stones while standing in front of our own frail greenhouse of seemingly infinite size.

2:17 pm, February 05, 2009

Blogger Richard said...

"In 2005 Labour was re-elected with a healthy majority of 66 MPs with a clear mandate for governing Britain"

... and a firm, unequivocal promise that Tony Blair would finish the term as Prime Minister. Now taht was a bad enough prospect, the grinning fool himself. Gordon Brown is a disaster.

3:36 pm, February 05, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

If, Ben, they really were LD priorities then I'd be all in favour of a coalition - and I'd be an LD m,ember! - but they are not. They have softened their view on both trident and the so-called war on drugs, they would still be overly Atlanticist and have become less overtly pro-Europe, I haven't hears anyone but the excellent Jenny Tonge say what needs to be said about the state terrorists of occupied Palestine (Israel)....

But then I suppose you are a reactionary worker-worshipping populist who thinks new labour is left-wing, Ben, when it actually isn't and even now hasn't the hits to nationalise the banks for positive reasons and still thinks globalisation is a good thing!

4:33 pm, February 05, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

' pie in the sky spending promises, plans for local income tax and a 50% top rate of tax.. and their sums still don't add up'

So, Vince Cable's sums don't add up? and Brown's performance as chancellor/ PM has shone has it?
I know who the public think would make the best Chancellor!

I think the Labour Party has far more in common with the Tories, so should work with them in the event of a hung parliament.
Lib Dem policies, like scrapping ID cards, reducing class sizes, and cutting taxes for the lowest paid, are not compatible with the 'progressive' Labour/ Tory parties. So, guess we've got another 18 years of Tory control to look forward to!

5:14 pm, February 05, 2009

Anonymous Ben said...

Yeah. They're welcome to you Mike. You do have form in parading your tortured, morally pure soul around these parts, and it's a bit of a one track record, to be honest. Your holier-than-thou approach would fit in in the Liberals very well. :)

I don't claim to be especially left wing. A tad of centre, certainly. I'm no socialist these days (is anyone?) but because I believe in progressive taxation, (efficient) spending on public services and social solidarity I am committed to the Labour Party - not least because it is the only political platform that ordinary people have.

Some lefty you are if you can't see that and want to parade your pristine conscience around all over the place. Oooh oohh Iraq! (Bad Blair for overthrowing an evil dictator.) Oooh oooh civil liberties! (Nasty Labour for defending the population against terrorist attack and as a result shoring up our liberal democracy). Frankly, and in the nicest possible way, I don't care about your silly preoccupations that you've convinced yourself are litmus tests of being left wing and you can take your pious conscience for a long walk off a short pier.

PS - you think globalisation isn't a good thing? Jesus. I rest my case.

9:42 pm, February 05, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

You sum up, Ben, why so many people have left the Labour party, and why the Tories will win the next election - because their voters are motivated, but Labour's are not.

Iraq - replaced a dictator with a similarly unpleasant regime to suit Bush. Civil liberties - well, I can't recall saying all that much about those, but it seems that other countries manage quite well without silly suggestions like 42 day detention.

Actually, your populist mildly left-wing workerism can be met quite easily by the BNP. They are socially conservative and economically populist too.

Oh, sorry, no, you can't vote for them ... you think globalisation is a good thing! Not that it has anything at all to so with the current recession, of course - no wonder Labour are sinking fast if this is what they stand for. Globalisation is simply a free market, right wing idea. It needs actively opposing

11:39 pm, February 05, 2009

Blogger Shamik said...

Iraq - replaced a dictator with a similarly unpleasant regime to suit Bush.

Mike, you really are so full of sh*t; muppets like you just aren't worth debating with.

It may have escaped your notice, but there were ELECTIONS in Iraq this week.



As for your diatribe against Israel, it could have come straight off a Hamas press release!

You're a member of the Labour party? Why???

"A part-time lecturer"! Where at? The Merseyside Madrasa for the criminally insane?!

And you have a PhD. Wow!

10:36 am, February 06, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

No, I'm not a member of the Labour party. I left when they invaded Iraq illegally.

Russia has elections too, and Iraq's are about as meaningful. And I pointed out that the replacement regime was 'unpleasant', not a dictatorship. A combination of Islamic fundamentalism and instrumental support for the US
can't really be seen as anything else.

Israel is occupying land which is not theirs. Is that really anything which can be denied? Have a look at the agreed boundaries of Israel in 1948.

looking at the views and beliefs you hold, I am relieved to be the victim of your ad hominem attacks. It would be concerning if I wasn't. Why do right-wingers pretend to be something other?

12:44 pm, February 06, 2009

Blogger Shamik said...

No, I'm not a member of the Labour party.

Thank heavens for that! I hope you never re-join! Jihadist bigots like you have no place in our party.

A combination of Islamic fundamentalism and instrumental support for the US
can't really be seen as anything else

Spare us the hypocrisy. Please.

You idolise Hamas. You defend them. You describe them as "democratically elected". You refuse to condemn them and reserve all your scorn for Israel.

You'd prefer a regime which is a combination of Islamic fundamentalism and murderous hatred of Britain, the US and Israel...

Where was it you said you lectured?

Not a real subject at a real university I bet!

2:40 pm, February 06, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Hilarious...'jihadist'...since when? Anyone who knows me or has followed what I have said over a period of time would know that I am no fan of Hamas, but that I think Israel's actions have been primarily responsible for promoting their growth - indeed, quite openly so at one time where they attempted to destabilise the PLO by assisting in the creation of an alternative which would split the Palestinians.

I don't accept the Zionist argument but that hardly makes me a follower of Islamic fundamentalism. And just watch Iraq - a government dominated by Shia Islam is hardly going to remain pro-Western forever. That is what you got by removing Hussein where there was no secular opposition movement - well, there actually was but it was marxist so hardly something the Americans would support. The position for minorities in Iraq is far worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein - despite your claims of 'democracy'

So, yes, I'll happily state that I don't support Hamas, but neither do I support Zionist settler expansionism. I don't really see very much chance of a viable two-state solution any longer, unfortunately.

Oh, and your inability to refrain from personal attacks only shows you up. It isn't necessary.

4:56 pm, February 06, 2009

Blogger Shamik said...

Relatively sane words, but you're still committed to the same ends as Hamas: the destruction of Israel.

It is your wish that Israel ceases to exist, and to hell with the consequences!

You could not be more wrong on Iraq; just imagine the situation had your man Saddam remained in charge. But, as he was anti-American I suppose you'd prefer him to the democratic pro-Western government of today...

On the point of personal attacks, it isn't personal to question your intelligence nor integrity nor even your anonymity.

And I'm sure you've never indulged in personal abuse aimed at Bush, Blair or anyone who disagrees with you!

7:26 pm, February 06, 2009

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Sham, you should have been on this thread when we debated the Gaza invasion.

Hamas, won, albeit a narrow victory in the Palestinian Authority. Their victory was a surprise for everyone.

We (and I include Mike in this) all have critised Hamas for their repellant antisemitism and homophobic nonsense.

But we also critise zionism as the racist ideology it is.

I want to see a unified secular multifaith liberal democracy where all the ethnic groups can hope for high office, not just their Jewish compatriots. I probably going out on a limb, but I would assume Mike feels the same. Unfortunately we don't have that there.

You're familar with the tale of Raktabeej I'm sure; just as his blood generated more clones of himself, violence only generates more violence. the only way to deal with these terrorists is to play it smart, we can't try and wipe them out because more of them will come out the wood work.

As for saying Mike is Jihadist, is rather uncharacteristically lazy of you, make a note to do better!!!

We both a traded views about Saddam and the west (again more Raktabeej here); though we obviouslly disagree about Iraq I am sure we all agree that the Middle East is a complicated problem. Mike and I believe such an intricate problem requires a more velvet touch rather than an iron fist. You and Luke have (sorry to say this) a rather misplaced view of the use of force to achieve peace in the area.

Anyway should'nt we move this onto the idea of Lib/Lab pacts?

Personally I'm against a pact on the basis I don't trust the LDs, especially Clegg. I do on the other hand like Vince Cable, he seems to me like a bloke who knows his onions!!

11:27 pm, February 06, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

It is my wish that we create a situation where world peace is the priority. I would hope that means a two state solution which all could agree upon - but now doubt that is a possibility because of a combination of Hamas and Israeli government attitudes.

What I do not believe is that the presence of Israel should be accepted without question - if their continuing presence will cause and prolong strife and threaten world peace than I think it is perfectly genuine to question whether fulfilment of the Zionist dream was sensible. However, I would also agree that the Arab states surrounding Palestine need to be far more flexible and offer land.

I don't agree about the forced removal of Saddam Hussein: I think it was a mistake and once the Americans have gone, I expect there to be a very swift breakdown of the current equilibrium. There were and are far worse people than Hussein leading countries, but they remain in situ.

Ravi: agree about Clegg, who I think would veer towards the Tories in any case.

11:10 am, February 07, 2009

Anonymous Rich said...

The problem is Hamas. Remove this organisation and you will get peace. The problem is how to remove them. Using force appears to strengthen their support but relax and Hamas simply uses the time to regroup and kill innocent Israelis.

Personally I would use secret service agents to root out Hamas support across the globe. How are they funded? what are their methods of communication? Who is in control and how do you infiltrate key cells. Remove the Hamas stranglehold on the media and open up TV, radio to the global media market. The people of Gaza should know the truth. Does Hamas have any weak points, is it possible to destroy the organisation from within.

1:56 pm, February 07, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

I don't think its about destroying the organisation - but defeating the ideology.

The PLO and Palestinians in general have not been extreme Islamists but I do think that the current situation is hardly helping

1:13 am, February 08, 2009

Blogger Shamik said...

Must've missed the Hamas debate! And I've got no idea how this thread on Lib/Lab pacts descended into a war of words over Israel!!

But, now we're on the subject... I don't really see how constantly going on about 1948 helps. Israel is not going to disappear. Fact. Deal with it. It always crops up, as if somehow you can just turn back the clock 60 years. Let's just remember what preceded the creation of Israel. Hitler? Remember him, Mike?! But then, given your views on Saddam...

1:30 pm, February 09, 2009

Anonymous Ben said...

Yes, in being a run of the mill government supporter my views are those of the BNP. You fucking clown, Mike.

Do please excuse the language, but, having read your various responses to Shamik, I am pretty sure that you don't deserve the time of day. At least I'm only accusing you of being a soft-soaper of dictators (which you transparently are) rather than a racist, eh?

I'm pretty glad you're not a party member any more, by the way. I think I would find it rather distressing to be a member of the same party as an amoral fool like you.

2:03 am, February 10, 2009

Blogger Merseymike said...

Hardly 'run-of-the-mill', Ben , given your expressed views. I don't think the majority of Labour voters would see globalisation as a good thing! You are typical of the dregs of the dying new Labour experiment. There are many decent people left in the party who despair of what has been going on. They are not raging left-wingers, simply mainstream Labour people who find the party's uncritical embrace of the free market and globalisation entirely alien to them.

Think of all that could have been done since 1997 - and the abject failure of so many policies. Sad, but the outcome of too large majorities and constantly seeking approval from natural Tories.

In the meantime you cheer those who gave left the party who don't share your views - over half the party membership has left, Ben. Local Labour parties have been utterly decimated and are moribund. And more left because of the Iraq war than any other single issue - and they have never returned to membership.

I note that you too have resorted to personal abuse - under the cloak of anonymity too. So brave, so fearless. Doesn't impress.

Shamik: I agree, Israel is not going to 'disappear' - but whether it will be viable as an entity on the long term is questionable. I do think it will have to return to agreed boundaries, no matter what happens with Hamas. It would obviously be easier if Hamas were not there, but they are. Sometimes its the extremes who reach agreements, as in Northern Ireland, so nothing can be ruled out.

2:21 am, February 10, 2009

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Well Ben you don't pull your punches! I am one of the lefties that joined the party and decided to stay neither because I agree with everything the government says, nor because I believe in the New Labour project but because there are some people still left (pardon the pun) in the party who share some semblance to the Labour Party ethic. This ethic is one that binds all Labour people; from Tony Benn to Tony Crosland and even our own dear Luke (who considers himself a socialist by the way Ben) who has on occasion showed flashes of red from time to time.

You have said you don't consider yourself a socialist. I have always held the belief socialism is a broad church and if you consider people who are not even on the same political footing, Tony Benn and Luke for instance, consider themselves socialist than you can see it is a very broad term.

Looking at what you have said I have to say that I agree with your stance on progressive taxation (it makes more sense) and your stance on the public sector is one I can support. I agree with you 100% regarding social solidarity. These are the bread and butter issues of the Labour Party (and indeed basic social democracy or if you prefer democratic socialism) so maybe your more of a socialist than you think!

With regards to globalisation we disagree, there I admit it. Personally I can't see how if poorer countries can provide us with cheaper products how richer countries can compete. Surely the end result would be either tough anti union laws, slave wages or unemployment. Let’s take manufacturing. We used to have a fair bit of an industry before 1979, but as Thatcher managed to show we could get products from abroad at a cheaper price our manufacturing sector shrank. I tell you what; I bet Gordon wished we had some of that industry now!
Mike is right about a failure of globalisation. They way I think of global markets is the sameway I think of potatoes. The potato is a clone plant, and is able to repopulate a field from 1 tuber. As with all clones, there is not enough genetic variability in the crop so when a fungus or any other pathogen come along it can infect the whole field wiping out the crop. Surely this translates to something in the world of economics? Harmonised markets would only expand the problem and not cure it.

I'd be interested to hear why you support globalisation; maybe you feel it has been an excellent way to reduce poverty? I am in the process of widening my reading on the subject. Andreas Patterson recommended me read Ha-Joon Chang's “Kicking Away the Ladder” and “Bad Samaritans”. That is if you are prepared to hear the case for the defence.....

With the regard to the removal of Saddam Hussien; there can't be many people who like dictators (one less in the world) but just because you don't back the war does not make you an apologist for a dicatorship. We still have many friends in the world that don't share our view that democracy is a great idea, but they are still our friends. Surely you see this as a double standard? If one is bad, they all are and we should have nothing to do with them. Our more pragmatic "brothers" might say we need to support regimes who share our national interest so we need to turn a blind eye to their human rights record. I don't share this, but personally I think we are better boycotting and severing diplomatic ties rather than using our military to deal with them.

I was once of the same opinion as you and Sham about the use of our armed forces, for instance I supported the Kosovo war. That all changed when I joined the Naval Reserve. People who volunteer to wear the Queen’s uniform do so for a number of reasons and I bet you none of them would be so they can fight a war on the dodgiest of reasons, with the megerist of kit.....

2:13 pm, February 10, 2009

Anonymous Ben said...

Ravi - I don't consider myself a socialist because in all intellectual honesty I'm not one. I don't find moderate, democratic socialism offensive, I'm just not one of them. Luke can call himself what he likes. I largely agree with him. We're from the same wing of the party.On globalisation - I'm emphatically pro because it has delivered sustained and dramatic standard of life improvements for pretty much all regions with the possible exception of sub-saharan Africa (though what would that be like if fortress Europe and America refused to accept any of their crops?).You see, people like Mike can piss on about people like me being extremist (when actually I am extremely moderate) and having a go at "globalisation" (I'd love to know what he understands by this bogey word), but the reality is pretty clear. And it sadly just isn't on Mike's side. It's a very interesting area, and I wish you fruitful reading.I realise it could be said that I'm being a bit nasty to Mike, but it's only because I am a part of the left and people like him do no end of damage to progressive politics by being completely irrational idiots with their pathetically unreal talking points. (And I haven't called him a BNP supporter, unlike vice versa!)

1:22 am, February 14, 2009

Anonymous stephen said...

Oooh oooh civil liberties! (Nasty Labour for defending the population against terrorist attack and as a result shoring up our liberal democracy

So how will ID Cards protect us against terrorist attack? How will 42 days internment protect us from terrorism? Or the massive surveillance database on the activities of the 99.9999% of people who aren't terrorists? Or untrammelled data sharing? The answer is of course is that they won't, which is what everyone who knows anything about the subject readily acknowledges. Moreover pitching the argument in terms of 'defending our liberal democracy', as though we were overrun with nasty revolutionists who are trying to overthrow it, makes you sound paranoid and unhinged. It is rather sad that you continue to push this lazy conventional rent-a-quote authoritarianism. It may have worked for you in 2003. Now it's just an embarrassment.

12:09 pm, February 15, 2009


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