Reflections on the Labour Party

In the 2010 General Election Labour won just 29% of the vote mainly coming from its old Labour Party heartlands of southwest Scotland and the former manufacturing cities of the North of England. There is a strand of Labour votes which come from its knee-jerk support among the traditional working class – people who think of the Party as it used to be not how it is today. Labour was the Party of the working class – the Party affiliated to the Trades Unions – the Party which stood up for decency and worker’s rights. But is that today’s Labour Party? The Party of Blair and Brown? The answer is of course no. Labour has long since cut away its roots in collective social conscience: reform of parliament, removal of the Lords, narrowing divisions between rich and poor, withdrawal of nuclear weapons.

There has always been the intellectual Labour supporter – often the ones who reached the top of the Party, as well as workers who found no alternative in the Conservatives or Liberals but the university educated voter can no longer be depended upon to vote Labour, especially in England. Where is Labour getting its support from? Look at the media in Scotland. Many journalists and presenters who never went to university but are upwardly mobile – the high achieving kids of skilled working class parents especially from the south-west of Scotland who have become middle class – and you have them. Then look at the public sector across the country to those up and coming from similar backgrounds – education, social work – once careers for caring types who have not realised the hypocrisy they are supporting. In contrast unskilled workers and their offspring are more likely to vote for other parties.

Labour has become the Party of ingrained working class prejudices and the striving middle classes. It postures that it still represents the downtrodden and the vulnerable in society but the truth is that Labour stands for quite the opposite. Labour has been turning the screw on civil liberties in the UK since Blair and his babes took power. Labour has created over 1000 more crimes, increased the prison population, acquiesced with the police over giving them greater powers and on terrorism legislation, has a disgraceful record on immigration and asylum and misspent millions on pushing through ID cards on an unwilling population. Labour has begun what some describe as the slide into a police state.

What New Labour learned quickly was how to lie effectively. We have the Labour opposition in Holyrood doing this over government spending with its cry of ‘spend, spend’ when Darling has just been telling us that cuts greater than we can imagine are what is needed. This ease Labour has with deceit comes from the mindset which allowed evidence to be manipulated or ‘sexed up in Labour-speak, to justify invading Iraq – an episode so outrageous it alone would justify never re-electing the Party. Blair eagerly colluding with the trigger happy US to ignore civilian deaths, in excess of 100,000 people – remember people with families not just a statistic if you don’t mind – multiply the grief we have just witnessed in Cumbria – in Iraq and how many thousands more in Afghanistan?

Labour has become a reactionary Party, morally bankrupt and riddled with greed at every level . The issues brilliantly explored in the TV series Our Friends in the North are alive and kicking in Glasgow and possibly in many other local authorities. We know only too well the brazen self-serving attitude too prevalent among Labour MPs at Westminster.

Labour is the Party of the Union today. It needs the Union to have any hope of getting back into power in the UK and this heartless and ruthless Party will continue to lie to voters to win their support all the way back to London if it can.

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