Saturday, 21 February 2009

Simple Harriet's moment has come

From every mainstream news source we are now hearing that which the world of blogology has headlined for months, poor Gordon is a political dead man walking. At every turn, and I really do mean every turn, he makes things worse either for the country or for himself (the two are not necessarily the same, at least in the short term). David Milliband's wimpish attempted coup last autumn came to nothing once he was photographed doing something embarrassing with a banana, and now rumours abound of simple Harriet rustling up support to take over command before the next election. The height of her ambition is exceeded only by the shallowness of her ability, but that has never stood in the way of vain egomaniacs before. She knows her only chance of glory is to take over before Labour risks annihilation at the next general election.

In a way she is the perfect choice for the Labour Party because she says almost all the things the idealist lefties love to hear. After more than twenty years in which socialist dogma has not been spoken by the Party leaders, the grass roots are baying not for action but words. It must be acknowledged that the ludicrous John Prescott did use socialist language at party conferences. That was his job, to keep the true believers happy by letting them hear the words they wanted to hear; and how the rafters shook with cheers when he uttered the "S" word. Yet he was the only one and he was just window dressing. He was enough to keep them on board, but not enough to satisfy them because the actions of the government were not accompanied by the necessary words. They have had the action, all the action their hearts could reasonably have desired. Massive increases in taxes, massive spending by government on all the projects they have claimed to be essential for socialism to be proved the true and right path of human progress, massive increases in the power of The State over the people. It's all there, it's all happened, it's all been tried. But it has not been accompanied by the correct words so it doesn't count.

In the eyes of true believers the absence of the label "Socialist" has been fatal to the whole New Labour project. For them nothing is socialist if it is not said to be socialist. Equally, everything is good if described as socialist. Hence their unqualified support for every repressive and oppressive tin-pot dictator who calls himself a socialist. No matter how many they kill and how many they impoverish, the socialist saviours are beyond criticism. When they intercept aid money and spend it on armaments, the resultant starvation is the fault of those who oppose them. Lists of proscribed books in Cuba are not evidence of repression but of purity in both thought and deed. Intimidation of political opponents is nothing of the sort, it is protection of the beneficial State against treasonous activities. The purpose of elections is to show support for the great socialist leader; the result of the election must, therefore, do just that.

It must be wonderful to have such deep belief, something so important that it sustains everything in your life and gives you hope and purpose. As with every fundamentalist religion it is never enough for others to act in accordance with the creed. Living in accordance with the ten commandments will not save my soul, I have to acknowledge I am doing so through belief that 2,000-odd years ago a middle-easterner was the son of god. Woops, not god, not a god, not just any god, the right god, the one with a capital G. What I do has the same effect on my life and those of people around me whatever the reason I say I am doing it, but that is not enough for believers. Somehow acts change their character and change their substance if accompanied by the correct thoughts and words; and this is so for fundamentalist socialists just as it is for fundamentalist Christians.

Friday's Times carried an article by a former Labour minister, Frank Field. He was appointed Welfare Reform minister in 1997 with the express role of "thinking the unthinkable". No social security benefit or structure was to be beyond his remit, he could pull down the whole edifice of state welfare benefits if he felt it right. Then he issued his first few reports and questioned the need for this and the need for that, questioned whether certain benefits encouraged indolence and discouraged work. None of it fitted traditional socialist dogma, so he became an ex-minister. His article in The Times is the single most powerful argument you could ever read against state initiatives to create employment. As he points out, no less than £75billion has been spent on these initiatives since Labour came to power 11 years and 9 months ago. That's just under £532million a month. It's utterly mind-boggling. £532million is equivalent to the gross monthly salary of more than 250,000 people on an annual salary of £25,000. It represents the income tax paid each month (at current rates) by about 1.7million people earning £25,000 a year or, if you prefer, 2.8 million people earning £15,000 a year. Mr Field described this as "an expensive failure", he described the record of the initiatives in actually getting people into work as "depressing" and the overall results of this sensationally huge amount of government expenditure as "derisory". He looked at it in practical terms and as a member of the party that is in government and introduced all this stuff.

For true believers the failure of this expenditure to produce results is nothing to do with faults in the schemes it financed. Those schemes had no faults. They can't have had because they were straight out of the student union lefty politicos' manual - The State was decreeing who should have what, nothing could be more beneficial. When Mr Field was a minister the head of his government department was simple Harriet Harman. Perpetually out of her depth as head of a complex department she was eventually shifted after so many gaffes that even the thick skin of Tony Blair could take no more. She was instrumental in Frank Field being removed from office because his criticisms of the very policies he highlighted on Friday were not what she wanted to hear.

How difficult the last dozen years must have been for simple Harriet. Despite being wedded to the religion of socialism, her own career has been more important to her. All the time she kept the "S" word away from her sneering lips you could see her frustration; yet she knew her own advancement and the high salary accompanying it would be at risk. Nonetheless, she has said just about everything else the party faithful wanted to hear, dressed in a code that avoided the "S" word but used it's cuddlier synonym "progressive". The faithful understood her, but still they and she were frustrated because the little people were being spared true enlightenment. How, they thought, could the little people be expected to understand the full glory of what the government was doing if they were not told it was socialism in action? Just that one word would make all the difference. Benefits payments to the indolent and feckless are currently viewed by many as undeserved hand-outs, if only they could be told these payments are redistributions to the needy from the greedy. Oh how the world would change. Oh how eyes would be opened to the true benefit behind this spending of £75billion.

Simple Harriet wants the top job in order to satisfy has massive ego, but she is also driven by another force. She wants to label Labour policies "socialist" because she believes that will make them deliver benefits. Benefits they have so singularly failed to deliver over the last twelve years. £75billion on job-creation schemes? A mere bagatelle. Let's do the same again and call it socialist, then it will work. It is not just in her facial features that she will remind the voters of Michael Foot.


Ayrdale said...

FB, I wonder if there is any move, or even any inkling of a move for proportional voting in the UK ?

Can be "problematic" as they say, but it seems that the 2 party stranglehold (in spite of the recent support for the BNP) has the UK by the throat/bollocks...

TheFatBigot said...

There's no great support for it, Mr A. It's probably reasonably accurate to say that we would rather have a government that took its own decisions even if elected by a minority than a constant coalition blowing in the wind and never able to make any serious change.

At least we know where we stand with the present system. And we know who to blame when their experiments go wrong.