Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Lord Glasman wises up ...

Lord Maurice Glasman, one of the comparatively few Labour MPs or peers who occasionally shows signs of a functioning mind of his own, and who is often described by the media as "Ed Miliband's intellectual guru," has urged the Labour leader to break with some of the nonsense of the Brown years.

Referring to some of the mantras associated with the last Labour prime minister he wrote in the New Statesman that

"Endogenous growth, flexible labour-market reform, free movement of labour, the dominance of the City of London – it was all crap, and we need to say so."

Lord Glasman said that Miliband's leadership seemed to have "no strategy, no narrative and little energy"

and that Miliband concentrated too much last year on preventing splits in his own party and defending Labour's "toxic economic record" rather than offering a transformative new leadership or a strategy to prevent national decline.

His New Statesman article complains that:

"Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the shadow cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour's record in all the wrong ways – we didn't spend too much money, we'll cut less fast and less far, but we can't tell you how."

"Labour is apparently pursuing a sectional agenda based on the idea that disaffected Liberal Democrats and public-sector employees will give Labour a majority next time around. But we have not won, and show no signs of winning, the economic argument.

"We have not articulated a constructive alternative capable of recognising our weaknesses in government and taking the argument to the coalition. We show no relish for reconfiguring the relationship between the state, the market and society. The world is on the turn, yet we do not seem equal to the challenge."


He adds that it looks as if "Labour is stranded in a Keynesian orthodoxy with no language to talk straight to people".

Glasman claims that New Labour's inheritance includes an "excessive reliance on managerialism in both the public and the private sectors, a disregard for the workforce and an unhappy and abusive relationship with the unions."

In a severe criticism of Gordon Brown's economic record he refers to some of the ways that the last Labour government contributed to Britain's present economic problems, writing that:

"The problem with Brownite political economy is that, even though it was true that a 3% deficit was not excessive in the context of economic growth, it was debt that was growing at the time, rather than the real economy. A vast, sustained expansion in private debt fuelled the financial sector throughout Brown's tenure as chancellor and then prime minister".

It would be a good thing for Britain if Labour listened to him, even though it might not be make things easier for my own party, because it is better for democracy if we have a responsible opposition who have learned from their mistakes. And we don't seem to have that at the moment.

You can read Lord Glasman's New Statesman article here.

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