I don’t read the Guardian anymore, just as I don’t lick around the toilet bowl or engage in dalliances with farm animals.
On Wednesday I made a reluctant exception, after discovering that arch-Blairite sycophant and former arms trade lobbyist Luke Akehurst had written a pub-bore piece about New Labour, Jeremy Corbyn and his vision for the party.
Akehurst starts off by recalling a story of how New Labour came into existence after the party considered the ideas of Gramsci and Marx, and how they could be applied to the challenges faced by modern Britain.
While not an expert, I have read a reasonable amount of Marx and Gramsci. I must admit to having missed the chapter that inspired the upper echelons of the Labour party in the early 1990’s to embrace free-market neoliberalism. Akehurst waxes lyrical about how the Labour party grew and the public embraced New Labour. Yet, as always, never applying any context via analysis of the times.
Never underestimate the public’s desire for change. Governments, after long periods in office, inevitably atrophy and collapse. Electoral victory is as much, if not more, about the toxicity of the incumbent as it is about the positives of the victor.
A sex-toy smeared in peanut butter would have routed John Major in 1997. The flea-bitten Tory Party that Major just about led was a punch-drunk Frank Bruno that had managed to hang-on until the tenth round, wandering aimlessly and exhausted; one solid connection and the contest would be over.
Harold Wilson in 1964, Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Tony Blair, in 1997, all swept to power on the back of their opponents’ collapse. Context is important. Oddly, Akehurst also forgets to mention the loss of four million votes and 200,000 party members during the New Labour years.
Akehurst crows about a “decade of economic growth” ie. the economic growth that was inherited from the Tories, which they had balanced on the backs of the public services that had been grossly underfunded. Blair stuck to the Tory spending plans for his first parliament.
Akehurst concludes his snivelling tantrum with this:
“You can keep your big rallies with mediocre speakers; you can keep your Twitter storms and social media abuse; you can keep your 16% Tory poll leads and spitting at CLP AGMs; you can keep your blind-eye to anti-Semitism and your fetishising of dodgy Latin American regimes and Middle Eastern terror groups; you can keep your snappy slogans and absence of policy, you can keep your mass recruitment of passive clicktivists to stack internal elections; you can keep your elevation of a faction above a 116-year old party that founded the NHS.”
There are a few things in the list that I would keep. However, there are some that do not exist, or that have been twisted to suit Akehurst’s bias.
If there is to be a divorce within the Labour party, then I would suggest that Akehurst contacts Pickfords, arranges hire of their largest vehicle, and makes a start on packing – as him and New Labour have a lot of unwanted crap to move out of the Labour party.
Because, Akehurst, you can keep your countless stealth taxes; you can keep your selling off of school playing fields; you can keep your four-in-ten children leaving school unable to read or write; you can keep your refusal to look at Hillsborough as a favour to Murdoch, you can keep your refusal to reverse Tory trade union legislation; you can keep your lack of regulating the buy-to-let landlord boom; you can keep your selling-off the nations gold for peanuts and you can keep your sticking to Tory spending plans.
You can keep your abysmal levels of spending on social housing; you can keep your erosion of legal aid; you can keep your attack on the right to trial by jury; you can keep your privatised prisons; you can keep your 40,000 new laws; you can keep your record prison populations; you can keep the highest recorded levels of homelessness; you can keep your hiring of ATOS and starting the attack on the disabled.
You can keep the creation of Yarl’s Wood and its culture; you can keep your refusal to properly regulate the privatised utilities; you can keep your dropping of clause IV; you can keep the racist Phil Woolas; you can keep the millennium dome; you can keep your attacks on firefighters; you can keep your love-in with Rupert Murdoch; you can keep your £300,000,000 of PFI debt and you can keep the PFI hospitals and schools that were so poorly constructed they are crumbling.
You can keep your hundreds of Quangos; you can keep your invasion of Iraq; you can keep your sending of soldiers to war with inadequate equipment; you can keep your lies, spin, and distortions to justify war; you can keep your unparalleled levels of snooping, cameras, and surveillance; you can keep your installation of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister and you can keep your ‘fixing’ of Frank Dobson as Labour candidate for London Mayor.
You can keep your closing of 32,000 NHS beds; you can keep the sleaziest government in history; you can keep Charlie Whelan, Alastair Campbell, Damian McBride, Peter Mandelson and other purveyors of snake-oil; you can keep your wasted £20,000,000,000 NHS IT project; you can keep your brown-nosing of big-business; you can keep your bribes from Bernie Ecclestone and you can keep your lobbyists, special advisors, and nepotism.
You can keep your stuffing of the House of Lords with spivs, brigands and assorted lickspittles; you can keep Jack Straw, torture, and rendition; you can keep your protection of General Pinochet; you can keep your electoral expenses scandals; you can keep Mandelson and Robinson’s dodgy loan; you can keep the Hinduja brothers scandal; you can keep the liar Stephen Byers and you can keep the racist David Blunkett.
You can keep your anti-terror legislation that was used against anyone and everyone; you can keep your expenses scandal; you can keep your control-freakery and attacks on internal party democracy, your parachuted-in PPCs, and your centrally selected approved lists of crony candidates; you can keep your attacks on Dr David Kelly and you can keep your kick-starting the privatisation of the NHS.
You can keep your bungs from business; you can keep your bringing big-business bosses into cabinet; you can keep your lies about Abu Ghraib; you can keep cabinet ministers who were seemingly incapable of keeping their cocks in their pants; you can keep your red-baiting, purges, attempts to subvert democracy and failed coups; you can keep your unwavering support for Israel and your wilful ignorance of the Palestinian struggle.
You can keep your pension raids; you can keep the dog-collar that George Bush led you with; you can keep your grubby relationships with dictators and despots; you can keep your tuition fees, top-up fees, and the lies you told about them at three successive elections; you can keep your doubling of gun crime and you can keep your doubling of violent crime.
You can keep your record levels of families in temporary accommodation; you can keep your closure of 100 special schools; you can keep the 10,000 Dentists that left the NHS on your watch; you can keep the loss of four million votes between 1997-2010; you can keep the halving of party membership by 2010; you can keep an almost permanent state of scandal and sleaze and you can keep your toxic legacy.
And, Luke Akehurst, you can fucking keep New Labour.
And all its shitheel devotees.
And for that matter, New Labour can fucking keep Luke Akehurst, as well.