ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Useless New Labour, the Tories And Workfare.

with 9 comments

Despite impressions to the contrary New Labour is still very much alive and kicking in Ed Miliband’s Labour Party.

This is evidenced by their inability to tackle the Tories head-on over their workfare scheme.

Any other party would have highlighted the inadequacies of Iain Duncan-Smith’s proposals and been able to show the callous pennypinching authoritarian nature of the Tories, but not Ed Miliband’s frontbench mediocrities.

Instead Gang Miliband concede the Tories’ arguments from the outset, Douglas Alexander admitted as much on Sky News arguing Labour had similar policies (the difference being apparently “real” jobs) that were “backup by real sanctions”.

So Alexander and the Labour Party don’t mind penalising the poor, as the Tories are doing, they’re just arguing over a few details, he says as much in a Guardian interview.

Britain faces one of the most ideologically twisted governments since Thatcher’s time, and in many ways they are pushing through measures that only Margaret Thatcher could salivate over, yet their political opponents, in the form of the Labour Party, can’t muster cogent arguments or real opposition to them.

In fact, the political cretins running the Labour Party have been outflanked on the Left by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Who would have thought it, and I say this through gritted teeth, Rowan Willams makes some penetrating points:

“People who are struggling to find work and struggling to find a secure future are – I think – driven further into a downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair, when the pressure is on in that way.

“People often are in this starting place, not because they’re wicked, stupid or lazy, but because their circumstances are against them, they’ve failed to break through into something and to drive that spiral deeper – as I say – does feel a great problem.”

One final thought, I remember Thatcherism first time around.

I wasn’t in Britain all of the time, but when I was I noticed a change, a perceptible shift, there were many more people living on the streets, sleeping rough, more beggars, more destitution, an increased climate of fear and the introduction of security guards where you never saw them before.

I suspect that Britain under Cameron’s Tories will make Thatcher’s time seem like halcyon days.

That’s how bad it will get, and Ed Miliband’s pathetic Labour Party need to accept their part in allowing it to happen.

Update 1: What we mustn’t forget is that the Tories are only really implementing a New Labour policy, albeit in their own inequitable way.

Who can forget the contemptible James Purnell ?

“James Purnell was accused of introducing a version of the American “workfare” today after he published plans to ensure that most benefit claimants are preparing for employment.

The work and pensions secretary said that under the proposals in his white paper on welfare reform “virtually everyone” claiming benefits would have to do something in return for their money.

Unveiling the plans in the Commons, Purnell said that most people on incapacity benefit would be required to attend job interviews and the unemployed would be expected to do four weeks’ full-time activity after a year out of work. Pilot schemes would require them to work full time for their benefits after two years.”

Update 2: Diary of a Benefit Scrounger has a heart felt post:

“And “Puff!” there go another 2.6 million voters Mr Alexander. Maybe a few more activists like me. Because if there is anyone in society you should be protecting, anyone Labour should instinctively know they should protect, anyone that needs you and our party desperately today, it is these sick and disabled and frightened people.

Admit you got it wrong on ESA. Take the hit. Come up with solutions and most of all, do what you claim you will do and LISTEN. Now, before it is too late – or give up the name Labour and all it stands for.

In the end, you see, there will be no-one left. No-one who believes you are any different to the Conservatives. No-one who doesn’t expect you to let them down on every promise, just as the LibDems have. I heard it every day of the campaign. “they’re all the same, they’re all the same THEY’RE ALL THE SAME.” The words should ring in your ears, you should not need suggestions for government when people up and down the country are suffering and frightened.

By all means support the “Squeezed Middle” but if, in the process, you decide the rest are all “Feckless Poor” then admit you are, in fact, Tories. Make the same dazzling conversion on the Road to Damascus that has overcome Mr Clegg and leave Labour to her true supporters.

And to Ed Miliband I say – You are not Labour. I am Labour and so are the millions of people who came out to vote for and canvass on behalf of our party on May 6th. You represent us, you do not decide to mould us in your image. You decide on policy with us in mind, not with one eye on the Daily Mail, and one eye on the opinion polls. Do what is right and the votes will follow. Most of all, reshape my party, our party so that I don’t hear that endless refrain on the doorsteps next time “They’re all the same.”

I, and other bloggers, politicians, journalists and charities will make this an issue. We will campaign with every ounce of strength until this terrible, terrible removal of ALL benefits from the most vulnerable people in society is reversed and ESA is overhauled. It would be a dreadful state of affairs if Labour are not there, campaigning with us, side by side, if they choose this issue to prove once and for all, that they really are “all the same.”

Update 3: Sue Marsh’s post is cross posted on the Labourlist, it will be interesting to see if the penny drops within the Labour Party, on how they are viewed from the outside, as basically useless and not much better than the Tories. I am not optimistic.

Update 4: Left Foot Forward is uncritically pushing Douglas Alexander’s guff.

Update 5: Flesh is Glass’s musings on the Big Society are worth a ponder.

Update 6: Chris Dillow displays his usual thought manner:

“If we take this as a measure of those who really don’t want to work, then “workshy scroungers” represent a mere 6.8% of the claimant count, 4.1% of the LFS measure of unemployment, and 2.1% of the wider unemployed (which adds the economically inactive who‘d like a job to the LFS measure of unemployment.)

The vast majority of unemployment – over 9-10ths on this reckoning – has nothing to do with people not wanting to work, and everything to do with a lack of demand for labour.

And this is where that rightist trick (or error) enters. They mistake small truths for large ones, and use the small truth to obfuscate the big one. So, the truth – that a few of the unemployed don’t want to work – is exaggerated and used to hide the bigger truth, that the vast majority of unemployment has other causes. “

9 Responses

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  1. Great post. It seems that the parliamentarians are increasingly tailoring their policies to a smaller and smaller group of Middle-England and the journalist/political establishment.

    What I find more terrifying is the increasing talk about a further chipping away at the right to strike. And again, I cannot see the pathetic Labour Party opposing it in any sufficiant way through fear of the right-wing press and what “Middle England” may say. The calls have started already, but just wait until the strikes start to ramp up as the cuts bite. What we may see is the slow march to authoritarian capitalism. How else are we going to compete with the slave-economies of the East?😦

    James Bloodworth

    08/11/2010 at 10:01

  2. The problem is now of course if your poor disabled sick or just a socialist where do you go form here, it’s getting harder to find a person to vote for these days. New labour I suspect will sell it’s soul if the Tories have another hung Parliament, I suspect they do a deal with the Tories to take over as the junior partner.

    So who do I vote for at the next election, I’m so bloody angry I might well vote BNP, nope not yet anyway, green what a waste of time, liberal do not make me laugh, so i will sit at home.

    Robert

    08/11/2010 at 10:28

  3. Robert,

    Go away, if you are so stupid as to want to vote for the BNP then:

    1) you haven’t read my comments policy 2) You don’t understand who the neofascist BNP are 3) you are too stupid to discuss these issues with…

    Go away, I have an even lower tolerance for your type of idiocy.

    modernity

    08/11/2010 at 14:09

  4. The Times (I know…) had a cartoon that summed it up nicely: street cleaner is fired in council cuts > goes frantic applying for jobs > ends up cleaning the streets again on workfare (neatly solving the problem of cuts reducing services.)

    DA

    08/11/2010 at 15:07

  5. James,

    I think you’re right about the authoritarianism, the political class, both sides (if there are any) are very much wedded to it nowadays.

    modernityblog

    08/11/2010 at 23:55

  6. I think your right I will have to join somebody and the BNP look about right for me. thanks for making up my mind.

    Robert

    16/11/2010 at 10:06

  7. Robert,

    You’re not wanted here, go and play with your neofascist friends.

    Do you want me to explain that again?

    modernity

    16/11/2010 at 13:39

  8. yes go on why not

    Robert

    17/11/2010 at 14:00

  9. Robert,

    You can’t read.

    I don’t like fascists, neofascist or their mates, so no more rubbish from you.

    modernity

    17/11/2010 at 14:02


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