Sunday, 25 September 2011

A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

So the Liberal Democrat conference is over. The leadership will no doubt be pleased that any signs of revolt over their propping up of the most reactionary government of modern times have receded. Of course we had the predictable attacks on the Tories and bankers by Vince Cable and Chris Huhne, but the Liberal Democrats are now the party of bankers and the Tories - the attacks being merely a few crumbs thrown to party activists to help them to sleep a little easier at night.

However, you can bet that Cable, Clegg and Huhne themselves sleep very comfortably at night. After all, they are now all government ministers on good salaries at a time of austerity. But their greatest satisfaction must be that they have successfully achieved what Blair and Brown also achieved with New Labour - a right wing coup which has taken their party from the centre to the right of politics. The Liberal Democrat Party, like the Labour Party before it, has now become a shell, a hollowed-out organisation dedicated to putting the leadership into power, another vehicle for the political class, rather than a democratic party for promoting the political aspirations of the membership, and for building a better society - see here.  It is now a truly neoliberal party. As we saw with New Labour, when a party is in power it is all too easy for the leadership to ignore the views of a party membership rendered docile by its party being in government.

In case you are wondering about the title of this post, it originates in one of the most famous soliloquies from Shakespeare, delivered by Macbeth on the discovery of his wife's death, and can be found here. I selected it, because for me, it perfectly describes Nick Clegg's conference speech. Because Nick Clegg is an idiot if he really believes that by slashing welfare, destroying the NHS and wrecking the economy with austerity that he is "doing the right thing", as he claimed in his speech. Even by the standards of neoliberal politicians this was a mendacious and dishonest speech, completely detached from the realities of the crisis of capitalism we are in. It offered no real understanding off the difficulties we face, no hope for the future and It contained the usual lies - Labour caused the deficit and the "economy must be run for ordinary people not big finance" being but two examples. What Clegg said was that his government was doing "not the easy thing but the right thing". He is wrong. What this government is doing by implementing an austerity programme is the easy thing and the wrong thing to do, and it will make our children poorer than us and our grandchildren poorer than our children.

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