Friday, 30 March 2012

In Bradford Labour gets the kick in the pants it so richly deserves

I'm not exactly a fan of George Galloway, in fact I don't know anyone who is. Despite this, the man has a track record of causing upsets and getting himself elected. So, I wasn't wholly surprised when I woke up to find he had won the Bradford West byelection with a stunning victory. But I sure was pleased :D.

No wonder he's smiling
This result is exactly the kicking that the Labour Party richly deserves. At a time when we have a Coalition government which insists on implementing deeply unpopular policies such as the 'granny tax', cutting the top rate of tax, and has been caught out peddling influence for cash to the rich, Bradford West ought to have been a very easy win for Labour. So why didn't they win? The answer is simple - Labour has deserted its social democratic roots and people want a real alternative to austerity, not the Tory-lite version being offered by Ed Milliband and co.

So will Labour learn the real lessons of this humiliating defeat? I doubt it. The reality is that Labour is now a neoliberal party of the centre-right, populated by discredited Blairites who are itching to continue the process of privatising and destroying public services. A recent poll showed that the public think the Tories are the party of the rich, if they'd asked the same question about Labour, they might have got the same answer. After all, as Mandelson famously said Labour are intensely relaxed about people being filthy rich.

Like many people I'm angry about the fact that Labour abandoned being the party of social justice in the UK, for grovelling to big business and corporate capitalism. Although it is clear to many of us that Labour needs to discover its social democratic roots, Labour has bent over backwards since its election defeat to avoid doing just that, producing absurd alternative narratives such as Blue Labour. People want an alternative to neoliberalism business as usual, and at the moment to only mainstream party which offers that alternative is the Green Party.

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