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Blairites, Valls and Renzi, offer little hope for Eurozone

reddish Euro flagValls and Renzi, the new prime ministers of France and Italy respectively, have made clear their respect for Blair and their intention to follow his example. That’s bad news for the Eurozone and for the EU in general. Blairism is not an economic ideology, but rather a style of leadership that is far more about presentation than substance. So far from representing any new economic ideas, it swallowed the existing free markets capitalist fundamentalism hook, line and sinker. That’s why following the Blairite line in France and Italy, both countries in deep economic difficulty, is likely to be so self-destructive.

Free market deregulated capitalism isn’t part of the answer, it’s the central problem. The international economy tanked in 2008-9 because the banks had too much power and negligently and recklessly abused it, and the UK has taken so long to recover because deregulated capitalism decimated British industry in the previous 3 decades in favour of the City of London, whilst at the same time generating the biggest inequality between the very rich and the very poor since the Edwardian age. To regard such a programme, which Blair eagerly promoted, as a model for recovery borders on absurdity.

Blairism was always based on rarefied rhetoric without much grasp (or interest in) the detail of reforms needed. It was a platform for personal advancement and access to world leaders, so any significant deviation from the conventional wisdom or more relevantly from the coat-tails of US presidents was never seriously on the cards. Blair presided over the run-up to the crash which began in August 2007, just a few months after he was forced out in May, so he bears significant responsibility for this disastrous economic collapse. The idea that he has anything worthwhile to offer to a country that is effectively bankrupt (Italy) or in free-fall decline (France) is laughable.

The real problem is that the Left have notoriously failed to come up with any credible alternative economic paradigm. Such a programme must obviously hinge on ditching austerity and using public investment to promote sustainable economic expansion and job creation. Blair is in favour of austerity, cutting expenditure and benefits, and advancing the Tory package for so-called welfare reform, whilst leaving the ultra-rich (like himself) intact. A programme more calculated to bring the masses on to the streets and to lose elections it’s difficult to imagine.

15 Comments

  1. David Ellis says:

    Blairism’s magnificent Third Way was to transform the state from a provider to an enabler. All the services like health and education that were paid for by the state and provided by the state are now paid for by the state and provided by the private sector. This means that today’s capitalist does not even have to invest capital to make a profit. All he has to do is skim off 20% of the state’s investment from front line services to pay fat cat salaries and shareholder dividends. And if the state wants to cut back on its expenditure then it legislates to allow these private companies to charge for services which is why to attract private leeches the NHS budget was initially ring-fenced and why now the talk is of charging for access to health services at the point of use. Blairism finds its apogee in Cameron’s Coalition.

  2. John reid says:

    David Ellis was Health paid for by the state in 1997′ I recall the NHS being one day away from being destroyed completely, under the strokes, the Tories being the Party that Labour let win by Such a degree in 1983′ that it took us 14 years to get back in power, the Tories also having been the Party, that haven’t won an election in 22 years , as for the coalition being due to Blair, he of convincing the Tories to not destroy the NHS

  3. David Ellis says:

    Indeed, the previous Tory government by starving public services of cash paved the way for Blair’s Third Way Revolution by which the private sector rode to the rescue of the public sector by getting paid to take over its buildings and run its services. This miracle was of course paid for by the City of London’s thirty year Ponzi Scheme or what Gordon Brown called Dodgy (sic) Growth Theory.

  4. John Reid says:

    David, Blair had to do that to get elected, the public, knew the Tories were destroying the NHs ,but reselected them in 87 and 92′ the question,to be asked is why did labour ,let the Tories win those elections, was it more important in chasing impossible far left dreams the public, did t want rather than sticking to the centre and being in a place to have won in 87 and 92

  5. I think its worth pointing out in this debate that Labour’s core vote dropped disastrously from 1997 to 2010.Oh yes by six million votes!The vast majority of whom were of Labour’s natural supporters.

    I here almost every day from those of the six million.someone telling me that its not worth voting no more as all the parties are the same!

    I’m afraid this isn’t a dream but a reality and one which has to be faced.

  6. Rod says:

    Well, Michael, in your book ‘The State We Need’ you provide an alternative to Blairism but there’s no chance of your proposals ever having any influence in today’s Progress/Labour Party.

    And don’t tell me to join the LP and work for internal reform – I started doing that back in the Harold Wilson era and today the LP is further from the policies described in your book than it has ever been. What was the Labour Party no longer exists.

    It seems to me that our first priority must be to leave the EU (if you can’t bring democracy to the LP what chance do you think you have of bringing it to the EU?).

    And if leaving the EU is a priority we only have one option at the ballot box.

    1. David Ellis says:

      Ha, ha, ha. As if the Stock Broker led party of spivs known as UKIP could ever be some sort of alternative to New Labour’s betrayals. Delusional shit. There only interest in getting out of the EU is not because it is currently a neo-liberal shit pit where free markets rule and workers have no power but because they think it brings too much protection to workers via Human Rights and Working Time Directives. They want a `liberated’ UK ruling elite not a liberated British working class.

      No, the task for socialists is to outline a socialist programme not direct workers from the frying pan into the fire and as far as the EU is concerned the UK and European labour movements should be looking to renegotiate its founding principles along socialist principles such as an EU-wide living wage and EU-wide full employment which will put an end to the misery of mass economic migration whilst keeping the borders open and guaranteeing peace.

      1. Rod says:

        “EU-wide living wage and EU-wide full employment”

        Not going to happen, mate. That’s not what the EU is about. And socialists aren’t even able to achieve anything similar in the UK.

        Disengaged theorising is all very well but there’s also a place for practical action. And that requires recognition of current realities.

        If you want an indication of how successful the Marxist/Leninist approach is, consider the results of the Eastleigh by-election.

        The TUSC candidate received 62 votes and was placed lower than the Beer, Baccy and Booze Party, the Monster Raving Loony and Elvis Loves Pets candidates.

        The revolutionary might of the SWP and Socialist Party, after decades of experience and in the wake of a major capitalist crisis, could only manage laughing-stock status.

        You couldn’t make it up.

        1. David Ellis says:

          That is not what the EU is about right now as it is based on neo-liberal principles. However, if the labour movements throughout Europe took power they would surely renegotiate those founding principles along socialist lines and until that day that is the policy they should stand on.

          As for the meagre votes garnered by the opportunist sects it is because they do not have a programme for the transition to socialism just a load of disconnected propaganda so that everytime they come to the polls it is as if for the first time. They have nothing to build on politically. On the other hand Left Unity mirroring the New Labour approach also does not have a coherent programme just a mass of contradictory policies made up on the fly.

          1. David Ellis says:

            Here is a manifesto/programme for the transition to socialism that reflects objective necessity and the most immediate and transitionary interests of the working class. It is to the point and logical and could become extremely popular very quickly if adopted and promoted ethnusiastically by the left against the labour movement right:

            1. End the bail out of the bankrupt banks. Take their estates, staff and deposits into administration to form a People’s Bank lending at base rate to small business and facilitating social investment in accordance with a democratic plan;

            2. For a regime of full-employment by which every school and college leaver and unemployed worker who cannot find their own job are bought into the workforce to share in the available productive work with each on the minimum of a trade union living wage;

            3. Defend all necessary and desirable public spending and collect sufficient taxation to fund it;

            4. Socialise and democratise the cash-hoarding, asset-stripping corporations, cartels and monopolies. Re-nationalise all privatised services and cancel all out-sourcing contracts in the NHS. Replace Old School Tie Network and shareholder imposed fat cat executives with worker-elected management;

            5. For a federation of sovereign British nations and the north of Ireland to replace the Norman Union and for the renegotiation of the founding treaties of the EU in accordance with socialist principles such as EU-wide Living Wage and Full Employment.

  7. John Reid says:

    William Russell Jones,it was actually 4.8 million, and most have since passed away, apparently, but too take your point yes labour did lose 4.8m votes between 1997- present, they also lost 5.6m votes between 1951-1983 and gained 5.2 million votes between 1983-1997

  8. Well JR there will always be that point about “statistics,statistics etc”!

    Again whilst I am not going to state that everything we did in Government was wrong,even I accept that it will always be a case of perhaps three steps forward and two steps back,though to hear some of the present leadership you would think this was the case!

    One of the biggest errors of the present leadership has been that they have allowed the Condem Government to get away with the lie when they state that it was overspending by the last Government that significantly contributed to the banking collapse in 2008.

    Of course as we know the facts suggest otherwise in that spending 1997-2007 showed no great increase in relation to GDP.As for Debt it was lower in 2010 than 1997.

    However it has been left to those of us,if you like,shouting from the sidelines to point this out when we should have had it shouted from the rooftops from the present leadership.

  9. Robert says:

    Labour then spent money like it was water from 2007 to 2010 the banks would be given what ever they wanted, but worse to win the next election the poorest were given tax credits and child credits mainly due to labour losing it’s way and attacking the poorest the 10 tax band.

    labour did lose it totally and lets not forget the failed IT the Id cards ATOS and the massive amount of money thrown at wars.

    I would vote labour in a shot if anyone can point out the labour party to me.

  10. Well Robert if the Banks had not been bailed out,the revolution may well have happened by now!lol

    Seriously though you may quibble at Alistair Darling all you like but unlike the Condem Government he at least sought to ensure the poor sick and disabled were insulated as best as possible from the economic collapse.

    I contrast his efforts with that of Cameron and the gang,to name just one policy that of the Bedroom Tax.Surely a full frontal assault on the vulnerable groups I mentioned.

    In conclusion though,speaking as a victim of the Bedroom Tax,you do not have to be a revolutionary socialist to realise that mere tinkering with the present system after next year will not be good enough.

  11. Robert says:

    Better to live and let live of course labour brought in the bedroom tax on people living in non social rented accommodation, I’m sure Brown would have planned on something for us, after all we all remember Flint ideas.

    Darling and Brown of course wanted to end DLA for the disabled nope me I will just not bother voting for any of them.

    The banks bail out of course should have seen a number of the banks we have to day like RBS going to the wall you can protect people, but keeping that failed liability is to much, when it’s sold it will never regain the money we have paid it.

    But even if you saved all the banks labour should have ensured the bonus payments ended labour did sod all.

    The next election I will let you vote for the One nation party.

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