Gary Younge`s excellent article in the Guardian recently, criticising the Obama regime, rightly repeated LBJ`s question about the purpose of the presidency; if it isn`t to make "transformational" change, what is its point? The same question has relevance for our politicians, and, sadly, the answer is obvious in Cameron`s case; the whole point of his being prime minister has been to shrink the state, with policies of cuts, austerity and privatisation.
For Miliband, however, the answer would be less clear. Whilst not denying that some of his policies sound encouraging, there is little to suggest that, as in Obama`s America, the "underlying policies, priorities and structures" would be changed. Political commentators tell us how close to City corporations some of the Labour front-benchers are, whilst the coalition`s outrageous education reforms face little challenge from a privately educated spokesperson seemingly determined to out-gove Gove! Some of the most cruel innovations of the government, like the bedroom tax, seem thankfully destined for the proverbial dustbin, but the lack of passion and anger emanating from the oppostion leadership does little to suggest much will change. Nationalisation and tax increases, apart from the obvious one, are never mentioned, support for legitimate and worthy strikes is shunned, whilst Trident renewal, like payment for HS2, seems about to receive approval. There might be some excuse for such passivity in view of right wing media`s hostility, but there can be no denying the large surge in the opinion polls after slightly more radical policies are promised. What seems likely, therefore, is that a future Labour government will, Obama-like, favour "piecemeal" change rather than the much-needed fundamental reform.
What the hell`s the point of being Labour prime minister, Mr Miliband, if it`s not to reduce inequality, to defend the weak and exploited, and to support the consumer against the profiteers? There is little point if your government is in cahoots with the City, and your reforms tinker rather than "transform".