Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Unpublished letter about Labour and Blair

Jonathan Freedland is right to warn Labour that it has to sort out its relationship with Blair, "once and for all", especially when he stresses the need for the "making of distinctions" (Labour has to get over its Tony Blair problem,23/05/15). It is essential to remind itself of the improvements made to our society during the Blair years, like the introduction of the minimum wage and the windfall tax, but the trouble is that what Seumas Milne calls the "Blairite agenda" is driving the party so far to the right as to make it indistinguishable from Toryism (This New Labour revival could end with a party split,21/05/15). The Blairites` simplistic analysis of the election defeat, with  the emphasis on the perceived failure to meet the demands of both the "middle class people with ambition" and of business, is leading them to the reinvention of a Labour party alien to the majority of its core supporters.
     The Iraq war was not the only disaster under Blair; pandering and cosying up to the City, and generally de-regulating, contributed hugely to the over-confidence of the banking and financial sectors, and the subsequent economic crash. The same over-confidence and arrogance of business are still in evidence, with banking scams, tax avoidance, failures to pay minimum, let alone living, wages, and obscene renumeration, often in excess of 150 times that of their average employee, for many bosses. Didn`t the CBI chief, John Cridland, warn against the ending of zero-hours contracts after three months, as Miliband proposed, because businesses would resort to "day to day hiring", 19th century style? (Give zero-hours workers regular contracts after 3 months-Miliband,01/04/15) Hasn`t HSBC just threatened to take its headquarters out of the UK because of proposed taxes and regulation?
     Miliband was right to "get over any Tony Blair problem" he may have had, and challenge the right of business to exploit workers and flaunt laws, even though he was described by the likes of Cridland as "business-bashing". Labour`s leadership candidates should be praising Miliband`s efforts, rather than trying to create a party which is "intensely relaxed" about inequality, and in cahoots with the City and big business.


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