I didn’t know who to vote for as Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands. We didn’t have local elections in my area. I had high hopes when Labour got rid of Tony Blair, after he said God told him to kill the Infidel but… Gordon Brown? As someone who previously wouldn’t have put Labour in charge of the float at a jumble-sale, I thought he was a surprisingly good Chancellor BUT he had the charismatic leadership style of a fried Mars Bar and was clearly not going to appeal to ‘hard working’ Brits. I can understand now that HE might not have had the judgement to see that, but MOST OF THE OTHER LABOUR MPs must have voted for him. Are they fools? Or were they cynical, ambitious career politicians looking for a scapegoat that they could easily dump later? Did they know that the seeds of defeat had already been planted? It doesn’t really matter which it was, does it? We took the cash-box off them, sent them to sit outside on the step and think about what they’d done until they were collected by a grown-up.
I heard a documentary on BBC Radio 4 a couple of days after the election, when shell-shocked top politicians were being uncharacteristically honest. SO honest that I suspected the effects of sleep deprivation or a hidden microphone. Nick Clegg offered to support Labour in a coalition, in exchange for a vote on proportional representation and discussions on shared policies. Labour told him they already had policies. They could support them or get lost. The arrogance of this is astounding. They had just lost an election on those policies. Nick went home and the Tories came a-courting. The rest is well known. It was all Nick the traitor to the Left’s fault.
Labour had left the country in a huge mess. I’m not saying that it was all their fault and I think their fast decision making prevented further economic disaster, but everything had fallen apart quicker than anyone could possibly have hoped and they didn’t want to try to fix it. Labour chose to give themselves a parliament to sort themselves out in the shadows, while someone else cleared up their mess and attempted to pay off the debts they left behind after their unlucky flutter on the UK economy with the banks.
Then they picked Ed. We were told he was a bit of a geek, (which would make a nice change from the soulless, power-hungry little monkeys) but he was a master political theorist and strategist. I confess I hadn’t seen any evidence of this but I thought I should at least read the election blurb:
“Labour’s Cost-Of-Living Contract With You.
- Freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and reform the energy market
- Get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020
- Stop families that rent being ripped off and help them plan for the future with new long term predictable tenancies
- Cut income tax for hardworking people through a lower 10p starting tax rate, and introduce a 50p top rate of tax as we pay off the deficit in a fair way
- Ban exploitative zero-hour contracts
- Make work pay by strengthening the Minimum Wage and providing tax breaks to firms that boost pay through the Living Wage
- Back small businesses by cutting business rates and reforming the banks
- Help working parents with 25 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds
- Tackle the abuse of migrant labour to undercut wages by banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe
- Back the next generation with a job guarantee for the young unemployed and more apprenticeships
This is our contract with you. Vote Labour to make Britain better off”
and he signed it, like you would a legally binding contract; something you actually believed was true. Amazing.
He didn’t appear to understand that a) the UK has a barely-functional market-capitalist economy b) I was voting in a European election and most of our major energy companies are in European ownership and hardly making any profit. Perhaps them being foreign makes them an easy target but if he puts them under too much pressure they will close down unprofitable power stations. If the weather turns cold he will have to grovel for them to be turned back on, at any price.
Build homes? Make private builders invest in homes they may not be able to sell or build council houses with money off the magic money pile? Lower rents? In another market that has other options and might choose to sell the homes to Russian immigrants or undercut the builders he’s just forced to build?
Ban zero-hour contracts? Many workers will be sacked before it happens because they have no job security because you have also been ineffective in opposition.
Pay people more through company tax cuts, paid for out of general taxation… hang on! Are you really stupid or is it just that you think we are?
More tax cuts… free money… a bit of casual racism dressed up as protecting British jobs, even though the problem is an invention of UKIP and the Right-wing press… force young people into jobs they don’t want or stop their benefits to pay for all the tax cuts.
This is their choice of their Top Ten ideas. I did not vote for Labour.
They have never taken responsibility for the mess that they left.
They don’t seem to understand that you cannot spend if you do not earn over anything but the very short term.
They seem the most clueless of all the parties about fixing it.
If I was the Queen, I would ask someone else to lead the official opposition until either Labour or the UK electorate come to their senses and pick someone else (that isn’t UKIP) or a sensible voting system that leads to sane policies.