Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh the irony

Lots of Labour voters waking up this morning and attacking the Lib Dems for being “two-faced”. Word to the wise: now you know how I and many other people felt after the euphoria of Labour’s win in 1997 wore off and we realised what we’d been left with.

It’s as if Labour voters have indulged in a bout of collective amnesia, forgetting how the gap between rich and poor has widened over the past 13 years, or how tax increases have been levied on the poor (witness the abolition of the 10p rate of tax) simply to appease the rich and because the poor are easier to target. Witness the mismanagement of the country’s finances, with money splurged on “public private” partnerships that line private companies’ pockets while the taxpayer takes on the risk – result, billions pumped into the NHS with very little to show for it. Then there are unelected Quangos, people being elevated to the Lords so they can become cabinet ministers and an inability to deliver on the promise of electoral reform (until, of course, defeat was staring them in the face – now who’s being two-faced?).

And I haven’t even got as far as talking about the rapid erosion of civil liberties, an illegal war in Iraq, unquestioning support of the most right-wing US president in recent history or woeful record on the environment (encapsulated by their support for additional runways at Heathrow and Stansted in the face of concerted public opposition).

Of course there have been successes – you’d hope so after 13 years of government, but Thatcherism had its successes too. The simple fact is, the outgoing Labour government have been little more than an amalgam of the worst excesses of both Thatcherism and old Labour.

The Tories are in power – hopefully constrained by their coalition with the Lib Dems – precisely because Labour has messed up big time. After the 1997 election I woke up feeling elated and full of hopes. After the 2010 election I harbour no such hopes, but I am glad the Lib Dems are on board instead of falling on their sword just to satisfy a bunch of voters who think Labour are truly progressive just because of the name.

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