so... what's wrong with the labour party? - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-26-2008, 01:12 PM   #1
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so... what's wrong with the labour party?

it's no secret that the labour party is in freefall (though poll stats that came out a couple of weeks show that the party's support appears to have bottomed out), but i can't figure out exactly why.

as a canadian, i see a few similarities between the labour party today as the liberal party from 2005.

labour have been in power for over a decade, and gordon brown has been at the head for just over a year since tony blair stood down. brown had waited in the wings for a long time for his chance to be in this position, and pretty much the moment he took over the party has been falling apart. of course, much has been as a result of of things leftover from the blair days, such as the iraq war)

the liberal party had been in power since 93 with jean chretien at the helm until finally being pushed aside by paul partin in 2003 but was plagued by the sponsorship scandal (and other leftovers from the chretien era). by early 2006, the liberals had fallen to the tories and martin resigned as party leader.

in canada, it was felt as though the liberal brand had ran its course and combined with the scandals, it was time for a change.

is that the same case in britain? labour have been in power since before princess dianna passed away, and are people now simply wanting change?

the fall of another seat in a by-election last week to the snp in what was statistically the third strongest labour riding in scotland is yet another sign that people do not like what they see.

so what's wrong with the labour party? has gordon brown been the architecht of their demise, or are people simply tired of the labour party in general?
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:09 PM   #2
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oh, i forgot that this had nothing to do with fucking american politics.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:23 PM   #3
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My 2c.

The people of the UK are fed up with being told what to do and being spied upon by a corrupt self-serving elite.

It's not a question of where Nu Labour went wrong.

They were never right in the first place, IMO.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:56 PM   #4
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in terms of being spied upon, that wouldn't exactly change no matter who else came to power.

"corrupt self-serving elite" sounds exactly like what people said about the liberals during their slow fall from grace a couple of years ago. they still haven't recovered, and they won't with their current (clueless) leader.

do you think jack straw would make a better pm?
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:05 PM   #5
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Jack Straw is an anti-libertarian statist who when appointed Home Secretary displayed himself to be is precisely the kind of person I was talking about above, i.e. an interfering Nu Lab type. He reduced the rights of juries, for example. He may not have been quite as bad as that horrible David Blunkett who succeeded him as Home Secretary but he wasn't far off.


Quote:
Straw briefly served as Shadow Environment Secretary under John Smith from 1992 to 1994, speaking on matters concerning local government. When Tony Blair became leader after Smith's death, he chose Straw to succeed him as Shadow Home Secretary. Like Blair, Straw believed Labour's electoral chances had been damaged in the past by the party appearing to be "soft on crime" and he developed a reputation as being even more authoritarian than the Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard. Straw garnered particular attention for comments condemning "aggressive beggars, winos and squeegee merchants" and calling for a curfew on children.

Home Secretary
Appointed as Home Secretary after the 1997 general election, he brought forward the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, increased police powers against terrorism and proposed a reduction in the right to trial by jury. These policies won praise from Margaret Thatcher who once declared 'I trust Jack Straw. He is a very fair man.' They were deemed excessively authoritarian by his former students' union, which in 2000 banned him from the building — a policy which lapsed in 2003. However, he also incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, abolished the death penalty and pressed for action on institutionalised racism in the police revealed by the Stephen Lawrence case.

In March 2000, Jack Straw was responsible for allowing General Augusto Pinochet to return to Chile. There were requests from several countries for Pinochet to be extradited and face trial for crimes against humanity. Pinochet was placed under house arrest in Britain while appealing the legal authority of the Spanish and British courts to try him, but Straw eventually ordered his release on medical grounds before a trial could begin, and Pinochet returned to Chile.

Also in 2000, Straw turned down an asylum request from a man fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime, stating "we have faith in the integrity of the Iraqi judicial process and that you should have no concerns if you haven’t done anything wrong."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Straw_(politician)


I think John Reid could probably do a reasonable job.

I hope the Conservatives get in, I think they have put together a good set of policies at the moment.

But ultimately it's probably a case of the lesser of two evils.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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It's the endless dance of modern politics in what we might (with a cringe) term the Anglosphere: social democratic party betrays its roots in power, pisses everyone off, turns ugly. Rightwing party not known for niceness throws up a pleasant and presentable leader who promises to be really nice. Wins election. Turns very nasty indeed, in power.

Rinse and repeat... except that eventually wider events will overtake us all.

As for what is wrong with the Labour Party (I keep forgetting that only Australia's version uses the American spelling, thanks to one King O'Malley), two words: Tony Blair. Or rather, the path he set the party on. I would be very interested to see how things might have gone had his predecessor John Smith lived. There was no question about the Tories losing in 1997.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:11 PM   #7
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But really, what's wrong with the Labour Party? The same thing as what is wrong with UK politics: non compulsory voting, leading to low turnouts, leading to long-term disenfranchisement. This isn't new. It spans decades.

Corrupt and self-serving elites are not in some magical way a natural feature of Labour politics. They are a feature of power without accountability. And that is what you get when the democratic system withers through lack of vitality.

I suspect the press can take some of the blame as well. Are they entertainers, or are they serious about informing us?

I pray Australia never chooses the UK/US approach to electoral matters.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kieran McConville View Post
But really, what's wrong with the Labour Party? The same thing as what is wrong with UK politics: non compulsory voting, leading to low turnouts, leading to long-term disenfranchisement. This isn't new. It spans decades.
I don't know if I'd agree with that, to be honest. Forcing people to vote is not necessarily a good idea nor does it necessarily have anything to do with disenfranchisement from politics, in my opinion.

I think long-term disenfranchisement from politics is more to do with the creation in recent decades of an 'underclass' (horrible word I know, but I can't think of any better), i.e. a huge tranche of people whose only interaction with the political system is claiming welfare. They now even have their own tv programs - Big Bruvva, and the like.

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I pray Australia never chooses the UK/US approach to electoral matters.

But the US system is quite different from the UK system surely?
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:22 PM   #9
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Financeguy, I lumped the US and UK together in that last sentence only in the regard that in both countries the voting turnout is dependent on 'getting out the vote': ie non compulsory.

And when I said 'disenfrancisement' I was not just referring to underclasses. Look, if Tony Blair was swanning around 10 Downing Street, taking the UK to an illegal war, and if he and his government were there based on - what? - a substantial minority of votes out of the total British population... then why exactly would he have cause to be accountable? Or rather, if a democratic government only needs to get a minority of the nation out to the polls on its behalf in order to hold office, then how democratic is it? How representative? How likely to not be corrupt and self serving?

No, I think it matters. Not that things are entirely rosy in Australia, but they are a little better in my view.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:31 PM   #10
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No, I think it matters. Not that things are entirely rosy in Australia, but they are a little better in my view.
Hmmm. The new Rudd government now have the uneviable task of undoing Howard's global warming denialist nonsense. Australia is one of the worst countries in the world for per-capita carbon emissions.

UK's Labour much as I would criticise them for some things were reasonable on the environment and have started good work in the area of reducing carbon emissions.

Cameron has done very good work in improving the Conservative policies on the environment and is very much a Conservative convert to the cause of environmentalism and I hope that if elected Prime Minster he will deliver on the promises he has made. I know some people say it is all just cynical electioneering but I choose to take the more optimistic view and believe that he is for real.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:36 PM   #11
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Well if Australia had voluntary voting, I suspect John Howard would still be there today. After all, if the aim isn't to get 50% plus 1, but merely more than the other guy, a bit of well targetted pork barrelling is all you really need. So that's one thing right there.

Howard was just as guilty as Tony regarding Iraq, but he was lucky because Australians don't really seem to give a shit. He was lucky partly because he was smart enough to make sure our commitment was entirely tokenistic. I don't give him much credit for that: it was smart rather than moral.

I don't really care if Cameron is genuine or not about his 'green' credentials. At some point events will force action upon whoever holds office.
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Old 07-26-2008, 08:37 PM   #12
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UK's Labour much as I would criticise them for some things were reasonable on the environment and have started good work in the area of reducing carbon emissions.
Interesting Freudian slip there perhaps - I'm already talking about Labour in the past tense.
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
'underclass' (horrible word I know, but I can't think of any better)

Some German idiot a few years ago was pretty creative when political debate was about to face a new class structure. He simply called them precarity.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:34 PM   #14
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Some German idiot a few years ago was pretty creative when political debate was about to face a new class structure. He simply called them precarity.
I hadn't heard that expression before, but reading the wikipedia article, it isn't quite what I mean by 'underclass'. 'Precarity' seems so refer to people who get trapped in low wage, low security 'McJobs'. I'm more referring to a class of people who NEVER work, whose families haven't worked for generations in some cases, and whose sole source of income is usually social welfare.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:06 AM   #15
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That's right, originally that expression referred to rather low income people and is of, I believe, French origin.
Up to 2006 or so nobody used that term, but then they successfully introduced it here as euphemism for everyone who is not middle class, i.e. including social welfare recipients who've never worked as well as low income people or long-term unemployed.
I guess the use of that word, at least in that broad sense, is unique to Germany and I would be glad if other countries didn't try to gloss over that situation with a term that only sounds nicer.
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