In 2002 when Margaret Thatcher was asked what her greatest achievement was, she replied; “Tony Blair and New Labour.”
Blair built on Thatcher’s ‘legacy,’ that is a simple fact.
The man himself admitted as much.
Probably best described by Bob Jessop:
“For some, the landslide victory of the Labour Party in 1997 held the promise of a reversal of the socio-economic transformation of Britain which had been effected by nearly eighteen years of Conservative government. Great Britain had become the exemplar of European neo-liberalism, and the return of the social democrats seemed to announce at least a partial end to that development. It did not take long for the Blair government to disappoint these hopes. In many ways, rather than repealing the changes of the Thatcher years, Labour took the neo-liberal transformation of Britain yet a step further.”
– Bob Jessop
Now, whenever anyone criticises New Labour’s record in office, the same spurious boasts are made about Sure Start, Minimum Wage, Working Tax Credits, the NHS and the Human Rights Act.
Don’t get me wrong, some of these policies helped a lot of people, but coming out of decades of Tory rule, that was never going to be hard.
But what about policies of the New Labour era that they aren’t so quick to mention, and there are plenty of them…
It was New Labour who cut lone parent benefits.
This came after spending the previous year criticising the Tories for planning to do the exact same thing.
It was Tony Blair and New Labour that privatised disability benefit assessments – outsourcing them to Sema.
It was New Labour that aimed to deprive 1 million disabled people of social security benefits after introducing a harsher assessment model for disability benefits., which paved the way for the later horrific debacle of Atos, under the Conservatives/Lib Dem coalition. These assessments were causing the same needless miseries and degradation under New Labour.
It was New Labour’s Frank Field’s idea to introduce workfare – openly advocating forced labour.
It was Tony Blair’s New Labour who created the political framework which was exploited by the Coalition government in order to justify persecuting benefit claimants.
It was Tony Blair who fundamentally changed Labours constitution by getting rid of Clause IV. Blair would later go on to boast about how he helped maintain the most restrictive anti-Union laws in the Western world.
Whilst New Labour did introduce the minimum wage, at the same time they blocked employment rights for temporary and agency workers.
Whilst there is no doubt that Thatcher began the process of destroying the socialist housing program – New Labour were actually worse than Thatcher.
Inequality grew under New Labour, it didn’t get better.
They introduced ASBOs, which resulted in people being prosecuted when they had not committed criminal offences, kids included.
Talking of powerful people demonising those without the voice to hit back…Tony Blair rejected a Hillsborough inquiry as a favour for Rupert Murdoch. But then Tony Blair is the godfather to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter...so family first.
It was New Labour who stared the privatisation of state schools, via the academy system , it was New Labour that first introduced tuition fees, greatly increased privatisation of the NHS, began to privatise Royal Mail and massively increased the use of PFIs.
Like all imperialist governments Blair excelled at selling weaponry to tyrants and despots, including Indonesia’s government when it was committing acts of genocide in East Timor.
It was Blair who personally blocked an inquiry into the corruption scandal of BAE arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a deal that saw Bandar Bush pocket $2bn.
It was Blair who Supported a dictator in Uzbekistan, who had a penchant for boiling prisoners to death.
Don’t forget, government documents show that plans to exploit Iraq’s oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world’s largest oil companies a whole year before Britain took a leading role in invading Iraq.
And it was in Iraq where New Labour green lighted the participation in the USA’s torture programmes.
And there was the massive BAE corruption deals, licensed by the Blair government;
“In October 2009, the SFO asked the Attorney-General to prosecute BAE following a lengthy corruption investigation surrounding four deals that BAE had concluded with South Africa, Tanzania, the Czech Republic and Romania. The inquiry related to arms deals going back some 10 years ago in which BAE allegedly used middlemen who bribed officials to win the business. That investigation followed the collapse amidst political pressure of the SFO’s investigation in 2006 into the al-Yamamah arms deal between BAE and the Saudi Arabian Government (the largest ever commercial deal by a UK business), alleged to have been procured through the payment of massive bribes to members of the Saudi royal family … The collapse of that investigation once again highlighted the need for reform of anti-corruption legislation in England and Wales and resulted in international condemnation and the downgrading of the UK by Transparency International in its influential Global Corruption Perceptions Index of corrupt-free places to do business.”
Blair’s whole career has been ugly. He cut a deal with Rupert Murdoch to allow media monopolies in exchange for press support. He took money from the car racing plutocrat, Bernie Ecclestone, in exchange for allowing tobacco ads at car races. He sold out to corporations left and right as quick as he could and he propped up, armed and supported some of the most ruthless depots and dictators on the planet.
“People were surprised in the 1990s when multinationals began to contribute heavily to New Labour, favoured even above the Conservative Party. But this move of Labour to New Labour was much more important to capitalism than simply having one party to support, for if you can have both big parties you have achieved the ultimate switch from a capitalist democracy to a totalitarian capitalist democracy, such as was accomplished in the USA many years previously.”
– Dave Mearns
And when you look at Blair’s time since leaving office, you really should be left in no doubt.
“Tony Blair personally asked government officials to keep details of lucrative post-Downing Street advisory work hidden from the public … In a letter sent the year after he stepped down as prime minister, Mr Blair insisted that any contracts he struck on behalf of his new consultancy firm should be kept “confidential” to protect his new clients, including foreign governments and major international companies.
Following his intervention, the official watchdog that vets the jobs ministers take up after leaving office quietly agreed to avoid publishing details about Tony Blair Associates that would “attract unnecessary attention”. It never published the names of its clients, despite publishing details of work Mr Blair had before the firm was set up.”
Hardly surprising when…“Tony Blair’s relationship with Saudi Arabia has come under scrutiny following the revelation that the non-government organisation set up under his name has received millions of pounds from Riyadh.
Accounts published yesterday by the Tony Blair Institute confirmed earlier reports that Blair had received donations of up to $12 million from the Kingdom.”
Blair also kept up his continued support of dictators
And yet this is apparently what Labour must return to if it is to ever gain power again, according to the commentariat so desperately trying to guide Labour back to the ‘Centre’ of politics and a return to the One-Party State.
The same should be said of New Labour.
It was New Labour under Brown who chose not to reintroduce effective regulation to City of London banks and ignored warnings about the impending financial crisis, only to watch the banking sector collapse, causing Labour to lose office after bailing out the banks whilst selling out the workers.
Miliband’s Labour were no better.
They abstained when the Tories rewrote the law to absolve themselves after fraudulently tricking workfare participants into being sanctioned.
They abstained on the anti-migrant bill which resulted in Windrush citizens being deported – and dying, in some cases.
They supported the benefit cap, even though they knew it was a con-trick.
Can you guess which Labour politician didn’t abstain and didn’t support the benefit cap?
Miliband’s Labour sold anti-migrant mugs.
Yet still Miliband was derided as being too left-wing for our rabid right-wing media. If Labour ever want favourable press again then they’ll have to fall back in line. If Labour ever do start to get favourable press, it’s time to start worrying.
The signs are already dubious. Whoever the next Labour leader is, they’ve already signed up to the demands of the nefarious lobby group, the BoD.
Let that sink in.