Immediately after the General Election respected BBC political correspondent John Pienaar interviewed, or rather listened to, the old fraud Peter Mandelson. Trade and Industry Secretary under Tony Blair, Mandelson is notorious for his comment that the Blair government “was intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”.
The Old Fraud Mandelson
Mandelson got filthy rich as did Tony Blair, Alan Milburn, Patricia Hewitt and a host of other exLabour ministers. They moved on to join companies profiting from the privatisation of public services, the process started by Thatcher and hurried on by Blair, Mandelson and their friends.
Rather than strengthening the position of working people the Blair government used tax credits and encouraged personal debt to compensate for that continuing shift in wealth to the wealthiest. That was the economic and political failure ofthe Blair years. The banks took full advantage of Labour being “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich” and grew fat on irresponsible lending . An economy built on massive debt is unsustainable, the debt bubble burst and the crash of 2008 was the inevitable result. We bailed out the banks and we, not the bankers and certainly not Blair and the old fraud Mandelson, are being forced to pay for the bail-out. As bad, the Blair government led credulous MPs into a war that was disastrous for the people ofthe Middle East and now, for us as well. Yet mega-rich Blair intervenes only to insult Jeremy Corbyn. The old fraud Mandelson was treated by Pienaar as a guru. The defeat of Ed Miliband was the result of abandoning New Labour policies, he said, of being too left wing, of being hostile to business. Pienaar didn’t challenge him. In other H interviews Pienaar pushed the same line. Blair won three elections for Labour, he prompted. When one . stumbling Labour stalwart was stuck for words, Pienaar helpfully filled in, “the middle ground, where elections are won and lost”.
What Does Labour Believe In?
This is nonsense. Labour lost in Scotland far more spectacularly than in England. The Scottish National Party (SNP) wiped out the Tories, the Lib Dems and Labour exactly because it didn’t attempt to woo “the (elusive) middle ground”. Labour lost in both countries because it huddled fearfully in no man’s land wearing hand-me-down Tory policies. Now Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendal want to pinch a bit more of the Tory and the UKIP agendas and imagine that that will win them an election. It won’t.
Three of the four candidates for the Labour leadership go along with Mandelson and Blair. Andy Burnham, originally portrayed as the “left” candidate, chose a speech to international auditors (and tax advisers) Enrst &Young to announce that “wealth creators” should be treated as “heroes”. Ernst&Young is the company which audited bankrupt Lehman Brothers, the bank which started the financial crash that went around the world. They failed to report Lehman’s bankruptcy and were fined a mere $10m for negligence.
None of them seem to realise that those in “the middle ground” are also suffering from Tory polices. Teachers, nurses, solicitors, youth workers, librarians, middle managers and many more are seeing their jobs eliminated and their pay frozen. Few can afford to buy a home without parental help. Most are condemned to living forever in rented private property as insecure there as they are in their jobs. Their parents are well aware of the situation that their children are in. Much to the consternation of Burnham, Cooper and Kendal, most Labour party members and supporters understand that too.
Inequality in Britain is now back to pre-First World War levels. Foreign oligarchs flock to London to stash their wealth. The country is awash with money yet Labour leadership hopefuls Burnham, Cooper and Kendal are fearful to even raise the possibility of taxing these people. Or, of supporting labour as it struggles against further cuts. They intend to lead a “Labour opposition” intent on not supporting labour and not opposing the Tories.
Jeremy Corbyn Can Win
These three candidates and most political commentators are left bemused and confused by the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn. He speaks to young and old, to the poor and those in “the middle ground”. They agree when he says that it wasn’t the great mass of the people who caused the crash. They don’t want hospitals closed and care homes privatised. They don’t want to see fellow citizens impoverished while the bankers enrich themselves. Importantly young people and those who failed to vote or even register to vote have also woken up. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall fail to see the obvious; the Blair years were a disaster for working people. Searching for a mythical “middle ground” is inherently stupid. Geologists know that the ground shifts. These three don’t. That is why Jeremy Corbyn can win the Labour leadership contest and go on to win a general election.