Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

"We need a fresh start and my party is the only way. Despite the evidence."

So essentially says Jon Trickett in the Guardian today. His thesis is that we are close to another major political turning point in 2015 rather like the one that started with the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. He also thinks that Labour (the party he has been a member of for 30+ years) is the only one that can bring about this change.

Here are a couple of snippets:

...when a country arrives at a turning point, as we clearly had, the direction that it takes is not pre-determined. 
Thatcher had understood all of this too. As we now know, it was she who ended the interregnum into which the country had fallen. 
She broke with the Attlee consensus and created a new settlement that has endured (albeit modified by New Labour) ever since. Thus it was possible for Tony Blair to say – in his comments immediately in the aftermath of Thatcher's death – that: "I always thought my job was to build on some of the things she had done rather than reverse them."
And then further down:

Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are hopelessly compromised by their period in office. The Tory modernisation project has been jettisoned partly due to the threat from Ukip, and the Lib Dems have irrevocably embraced divisive neoliberal economic and social reform (such as the NHS reforms). 
Therefore, if there is going to be a government that will usher in a fresh start for Britain it will be the Labour party.
I don't necessarily disagree with Jon's broad thesis. I think something does need to change quite radically in our body politic. I wouldn't be at at all surprised if in decades to come the next few years is seen as another historical pivot point.

But it takes a certain kind of willful blindness to look at the evidence of how all three main parties have bought into the post 1979 Thatcherite consensus including essentially Labour (with a bit of tinkering around the edges) for 13 of those years with massive majorities when they could have forced a change in direction and decide the only party that can effect change is Labour.

If they couldn't do it between 1997 and 2010 why is he so certain they can now?

If we are to see a new political consensus it is likely to require the backing of people across the political spectrum and also from outside. This sort of blinkered tribal thinking will not help us get there.

No comments: