"People felt the national government had slightly lost its way, that it was interested in things that weren't terribly Labour. I'm not saying that these were fair judgments, but that was what people felt."The above quote was Jim talking about the spending plans that Gordon Brown launched last week a few days before the release of the Butler Report in an apparent bid to boost Blair's battered popularity ratings. That's since been followed up with a new crack down on crime announced. Presumably next week will see the announcement of an increase in the number of public holidays every year in Britain.
The Butler report was exactly as expected - just down to a few misunderstandings and no harm meant by anyone so how could blame possibly be attached to anyone? Just like another report released slightly earlier in America. It's a curious phenomenon this groupthink thing they're on about. Since the release of the Butler report we've had a stream of Labour politicians on the news saying how Tony was vindicated by the report and anyhow all's well that end's well because Iraq is rid of that nasty man. And all is groovy in UK because we're spending money, catching criminals and giving you more holidays. Hooray!
Which brings me back to the quotes from Jim. I think, and I hope that Jim thinks, that those judgements about Labour not being Labour are very fair judgements. He'd be naive to think that is a view that wasn't held by the majority of Labour supporters.
So what's groovy in the UK? Manufacturing in decline, siphoning of jobs abroad, widescale layoffs in the civil service, creaking health service, schools swamped with one daft initiative after another, higher education being priced out of the reach of many people, widespread poverty, old boy network scandals, lack of low cost housing, poor transport infrastructure and rampant yob culture. Sounds a bit Tory to me. In fact it's like the 1980s revisited.
And then there's the small matter of Iraq. Wanton slaughter of civilians, torture, show trials, people deprived of basic amenities, profits from oil not being spent on the people and mad displays of power and cruelty by the head of state. And that's all since we've liberated Iraq! Did I mention children being raped? So how Labour is it to go to war for nothing and side with one of the most right wing governments ever to be in power in the USA?
Still don't think our judgement is fair Jim? Regardless of the fairness it is our judgement that will elect the next government. The simple truth of the matter is Labour have had two massive majorities in a row for the first time I can remember and yet the popularity of the party seems to be at an all time low. For that alone the leader of the party must be held responsible. Tony Blair's personal popularity has plummeted recently mostly due to the war in Iraq and he is tarnishing the image of Labour. The man is a liability. If you want your seat in the next election Jim you are going to have to get rid of the millstone around the Labour Party's neck. Heed the warnings from the local elections or bury your head in the sand. Your choice Jim.