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 Blair, Alan Milburn and a host of other Labour leaders. They moved on to join companies which are profiting from the privatisation of public services, the process started by Blair, Mandelson and their friends. For 23 years they presided over the transfer of wealth to the richest in society, a process started when Thatcher defeated and neutered the trade unions.
Rather than strengthening the position of working people the Blair government used tax credits and encouraged debt to cover a further shift in wealth and to provide a veneer of prosperity.
The banks took full advantage, the skyscrapers in the City and New York monuments to their wealth and power.
It was unsustainable and the crash the direct and inevitable result. We are paying for it now. As bad, the Blair government led credulous MPs into a war that was disastrous for the people of the Middle East and now, for us as well.
Yet the old fraud Mandelson was treated by Pienaar as a guru. The defeat of Ed Miliband was the result of abandoning New Labour policies, of being too left wing, of being hostile to business, according to Mandelson. Pienaar didn’t challenge him.
In other interviews Pienaar pushed the same line. Blair won three elections for Labour, he prompted. When one stumbling Labour stalwart was stuck for words, Pienaar filled in, “the middle ground, where elections are won and lost”.
What About Scotland?
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 handme-down Tory policies.
Three of the four candidates for the Labour leadership go along with Mandelson. Andy Burnham, originally portrayed as the “left” candidate, chose a speech to international firm Ernst & 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 a crash which went round the world. They failed to report Lehman’s bankruptcy and were fined a mere $10m for negligence.
Jeremy Corbyn Can Win
Three candidates and the political commentators are left bemused and confused by the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn. His audience listens when he speaks. 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.
Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall fail to see the obvious; the Blair years were a disaster for working people and searching for a mythical “middle ground” is inherently stupid. Geologists know that the ground shifts. These three career politicians don’t. That is why Jeremy Corbyn can win the Labour leadership election and go on to win a general election.