Dr Eoin Clarke’s Labour Left, (Gimme a Gottle o’) GEER, or whatever it is called this month, seems to have vanished into quietude under the weight of its own nonsense, but a warm welcome to the new dodgem on the funfair ride.
Tim Worstall pointed out that the National Advisory Panel comprises in depressingly large part a roll of the political living dead, consisting of (take a deep breath):
Dr Ha-Joon Chang, Jack Dromey MP, Daniel Elton, Mark Ferguson, Sunny Hundal, Will Hutton, Joy Johnson, Paul Kenny, Stewart Lansley, Professor Costas Lapavitsas, Professor Ruth Lister, Kevin Maguire, Angela Mason, Professor Marjorie Mayo, Len McCluskey, Professor Jonathan Michie, Seumas Milne, Richard Murphy, Frances O’Grady, Ann Pettifor, Professor Kate Pickett, Professor Allyson Pollock, Professor Roger Seifert, Polly Toynbee, Hilary Wainwright, Professor Richard Wilkinson, Zoe Williams
It’s the same people, pushing the same politics, sitting in different chairs and wearing a new hat. Like Internet Explorer, you put a pretty skin on the package, but underneath it will still collapse in a heap just as often.
There’s a survey which is a masterpiece of questions asked without the relevant background information being supplied first, exploring policy options without explaining the inherent difficulties:
Would you support or oppose each of the following policies
Introducing a 75% top rate of income tax for those earning over £1 million per year?
(56% support. I wonder what happens when they all leave as they did in the 1970s and when the effect of the investment money being taken by the Govt is felt?) .
Reducing the state pension age to 60 for people who have worked for 41 years or more
(63% support. God knows what it would cost. I wonder if this organisation is run by Public Sector Trades Unions.)
A national programme of building 500,000 extra homes a year, including 150,000 new council houses
(64% support. Just the Council Houses will cost £15-18 billion a year)
In short, they are going back to the political stone ages, and boy are they bent on taking us all back with them.
But I think not, Professor Moriarty.
Not very much is going to happen, because the ‘staff‘, in addition to Rachel Yates the ‘Centre Coordinator’, the staff who are going to take on the Herculean task of animating this new initiative at the intellectual cutting edge of the left wing revival, in its entirety consists of (don’t take a deep breath):
The Revenge of Subbuteo Jones’ is upon us.
We all know Little Owen from his weekly rant in the Indy, and some of us may even read one occasionally. To save you the trouble, he’s trying to reinvent a socialist nirvana that has never existed, and he is unable to explain how it could ever exist, but it probably feels good to throw a few daydreams around in the meantime; and we are all destined to be the rats in the experiment.
I think that Owen Jones’ problem here is the common one that he hasn’t questioned deeply enough the political memes imbibed in his teens, and some idiot running a newspaper has given him a platform before he’s had a chance to sort himself out. That’s going to lock him in to a permanently spinning revolution of silliness, and give him an entire archive of youthful embarrassment when he finally gets his thinking a little straighter. (*)
Looking to the future, we can predict some amusement. Owen Jones’s columns won’t be going anywhere, if the history of the Indy is a guide.
Consider Johann Hari’s archive of more than 1000 articles, which both Hari and the Indy promised to review and ‘footnote’.
When I last checked it was still online, unreviewed and unfootnoted, still riddled with lies and character assassinations, still filled with made-up quotes and imaginary interviews, and still stuffed with misrepresented facts.
Even Johann Hari’s final speech about Free Speech *after* his fraudulent journalism had been exposed for all to see, which we could perhaps expect someone to have fact checked at least slightly, and whether or not you agree with the case made, still refers amongst other errors to London Gay Pride marches in the “early-1960s” (first march: 1972), police ‘beating up everybody there’, based on ‘something someone told me a couple of years ago’. That’s quite a strong allegation for a “reputable journalist” to make on the basis of unchecked hearsay containing a schoolboy error on dates.
The Centre for Labour and Social Studies is based in the offices of Unite the Union at Theobalds Road in London.
For the Union, and the other Unions, sponsoring it, it’s a nice cheap way to enlarge their control of the left hand side of the political agenda.
I think there’s only one serious question raised by the new Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) thinktank, and that is the one of the need to introduce a fuller measure of democracy into political representation of Trade Union members by their Unions.
Unions promote themselves as “representing all our members”. In reality, we have monochrome representation. Members who do not accept the single political option are forced to put up with it or quit if they don’t like their masters pretending that they support the chosen party.
I chose to quit.
And one of the reasons I left my Trade Union MSF 15 years ago was because, attending a national conference, I found that a base of excellent local services for members were traduced into supporting sectarian politics at national level.
I see no possibility of my rejoining any time soon.
We need to see the Trades Unions given back to their members, and members of Trades Unions to have the right to direct their political contributions to a political party of their choice. One benefit would be that Unions would be forced to engage constructively with all parties, rather than for their leaderships to be able to divide the world into sheep and goats, to affiliate with one and run campaigns of demonisation against any others.
Alternatively political affiliation should simply be abolished.
And I can’t understand why the Coalition haven’t taken this one on.
(*) Just in case of the “I must be doing something right because they are attacking me” response.
I can see three reasons to mock a chappie:
- Because you find the cheeky chappie frightening in the buzz saw keenness of his intellect and political argument.
- Because you want to do the chappie down.
- Because you find the chappie funny.
Take your pick in the case of Owen Jones.