Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Polly At The End of Her Brave New World
Polly’s world must be collapsing around her:
The fall of the Social Democrats in Sweden reverberates around Europe, but sends particular shudders through those close friends of Goran Persson in Labour ranks. As strangers occupy Stockholm's governing corridors, here is a chilly memento mori for Labour.
OK Pol… I understand that you’re in a delicate emotional state at the moment given that your utopia of free love state intervention and the answer to all your problems has in fact been wisely thrown out by those crazy Swedes.
I understand that… but if you’re going to make pretentious comment about a “chilling memento mori” at least demonstrate that you have an above Sure Start education by actually knowing what one is.
You write a memento mori as a warning of death to the Labour Party. Bollocks! A memento mori is a tomb carving frequent in the early medieval showing an effigy of the decayed body underneath the effigy of the occupant in life. There’s a good one in Canterbury Cathedral.
What an irony that the victors - 41-year-old Fredrik Reinfeldt's New Moderates - modelled themselves on New Labour. They took power by ditching old promises to savage the welfare state, rebranding themselves as near Social Democrat clones. Reinfeldt won by doing what David Cameron does, sounding so Social Democratic no voter could take fright. Unsurprisingly, Cameron is in close touch with the New Moderates.
Polly… you’re clinging to a dead past (would you like a memento mori carving to honour it?). Russia has proved that the hard left socialist ideal just doesn’t work. What we’re left with is this whole “mythical” centre ground issue that lefties like you bang on about and the more firebrand tories go on about.
The truth is, this is not far different from life before the Russian Revolution, government and opposition differed about the details of how they would run the country as opposed to this great capitalist and socialist ideological divide. Of course they sound similar, they are similar. But there’s a strong enough difference to base a vote on.
Here is Labour's fear. How can a good government lose power when the country is flourishing?
With a rising growth rate of 5.6%, low interest rates, thriving manufacturing and exports Britain would die for, how did it happen? True, unemployment is a problem - but hardly worse than in much of the EU, while Sweden's welfare system is the envy of the world. Abroad, Persson wasn't hampered by two unpopular wars with no end in sight. So why?
Let me take a wild stab in the dark Pol… the fecking 55% tax rate?
Swedish Social Democrats held many sessions with Labour about "how to renew in office",
I think of course that could be how they lost… if you’re going to ask New Labour how to renew they’ll probably tell you to make sure your DPM bones his secretary and that you flog peerages.
Visiting Sweden during the campaign and talking to those ruefully picking over this week's result, I can see stern lessons for Labour. Persson's party ran out of steam. Its leader stayed far too long, a risk Labour faces if there is a seamless Blair/Brown continuity of more of the same, going on and on. Brown seems dangerously eager to emphasise "no change" on every policy of importance. But change or die is the lesson of Sweden.
Ooooo…. Let’s hope they pick die! She had to get around to it sooner or later didn’t she? The only way for Labour to get in is to ditch Blair and go for her throbbing Viking. I’ll bet that would get her interest rates rising!
Persson forgot his wise maxim: in opposition the left must behave like a government, and in government it must act like an insurgent opposition.
Perhaps if his, and our, government behaved like a government in government then they wouldn’t be chucked off to the opposition. Cross your mind Polly?
Here's the other great lesson from Sweden. They forgot about women - yes, even in Sweden.
How can a country that gave us Swedish Erotica really have forgotten about women?
Sweden's women ministers fumed during the campaign as Persson ignored the party's record on childcare and maternity and paternity leave, which should have been the Social Democrats' proudest electoral assets. He let the right set the agenda with traditional male politics when it is the women-friendly subjects that win the Social Democrat vote.
So the women ministers fumed? Did they get out and campaign on these issues alongside their government or did they pop down to the shops for some more shoes and let the men get on with it before blaming the men for them losing their jobs.
But in opposition look how Cameron's campaign is devoted to pleasing women, in tone, style, words and demeanour: the polls tell him women are more green, family-minded and worried about work-life balance. Never mind if it's all empty mood music, trading on what Labour has done without promising anything more than mild exhortation
Oh for feck’s sake Pol back that up with some evidence will you? We all know that the Tories policy groups are not reporting back for another year. We all know that. We’re not expecting a policy. We’re not in the business of rushing an ill thought out headline grabbing policy initiative that’s doomed to failure, that’s what Blair’s done and it’s cost him dearly.
Argue the strength or lack of strength of Tory policies when they arrive Pol. In the meantime you haven’t got a fucking clue what you’re talking about.
Above all, Labour needs a woman as deputy leader.
Why? Why does it need a woman Polly? First off that’s just sexism, it’s as wrong as saying “what this party needs is a white man in charge”. Secondly you seem to be suggesting that women will only vote for women. You’re talking shite girl.
What a pathetic figure Ming Campbell cut in an ill-advised photo opportunity on the beach with his tiny cohort of women - only nine out of 63 MPs; yet the Lib Dems, like the Tories, still refuse to use quotas to get more women into parliament. Labour has 97 women MPs.
- Patricia Hewitt
- Hazel Blears
- Tessa Jowell
- Claire Short
- Glenda Jackson
The list of great British fecking success stories just keeps on trucking doesn’t it?