April 14, 2005

the New Labour project

As the Tyrant Blair approaches his third term in office Peter Riddell of The Times attempts to compare is time to two Prime Ministers that can truly have said to have changed the country, Attlee and Thatcher, and he is not impressed. In his view most of the Blair changes have been small, managerial, just tweaks to keep the economic structure gifted him by Thatcher on track rather than attempts to radically alter it.
Everyone was quite clear what these governments were trying to do, at least within a year or two of winning office. But Mr Blair’s goals and record are less clear cut. That is revealed by the search for new overarching themes: first, the Third Way (unmentioned yesterday) and, now, the “progressive consensus”. At times, there has been the sense of looking for coherence.
The problem is he in looking in the wrong place, New Labour's project was very clear within the first few years however it was not economic, it was social.

Just like Thatcher and Atlee New Labour had shown it's project within the first coupl of years in office by dramatically altering the basis of British Law. It reversed the burden of proof. You where guilty until proven innocent. That is the New Labour project, they are at war with Civil Liberties.

Labour was Socialist, New Labour is Authoritarian.

The political spectrum between Right and Left is well known, it is what the present generation of journalists have grown up with and look for to characterise politicians. Right and Left are not the only political dimensions, as Hayek pointed out, there is also the difference between Authoritarian and Libertarian. This is difference is not in economics but the degree of personal freedom versus state power. Pinocet and Lenin where at opposite ends of the Right/Left spectrum but both where highly Authoritarian and opposed to personal freedom. Hippies and survivalists are also generally on opposite ends of the Right/Left spectrum, but both believe in a high degree of personal freedom. Blair however does not.

Big things like reversing the burden of proof are quite rare, but the small acts chipping away at personal freedom are legion, they even gained there own name 'the nanny state'. Which is the New Labour vision, the state knows better how you should lead your life than you do.
  • It is under New Labour that the number of surveillance cameras has exploded.
  • It is under New Labour that speed cameras have mushroomed along the road network, like giant grey toadstools, at an ever increasing rate.
  • It is under New Labour that encryption has been banned, and assistance to wire tapping made a legal obligation.
  • It is under New Labour that a person, for the first time, can be tried and tried again until the 'correct', that is guilty, verdict is finally established.
  • It is under New Labour that the right to trial by jury has been systematically attacked.
  • It is under New Labour that hearsay evidence has been made admissible in court, and anything 'unsocial' made an offense.
  • It is under New Labour that the right to any trial at all has been removed.
  • It is under New Labour that for the first time there is a separate police force that reports directly to the Home Secretary.
  • It is under New Labour that the independence of Judicial Inquiries has been curtailed.
  • It is under New Labour that the 90% of the people of the country, despite never even being considered to have committed any crime, will have their fingerprints taken to be stored for future reference simply for the privilege of leaving nanny's play pen.
  • New Labour is also committed to fingerprinting everybody else simply for the privilege of existing under the guidance of Blair and his cohorts, creating a national identity card for the first time while the country is at peace.
  • And a myriad of other smaller attacks on the simple right to live without constant interference from the state.

New Labour is Authoritarian, and possibly the most Authoritarian government that this country has suffered under for several hundred years. However, to lesser degree, so are all the other main political parties. There is no political voice that will stand against them and not just slow down the erosion but reverse it and restore the freedoms that have been lost. Until one emerges slowing erosion is the best that can be hoped for, so in that spirit I am going to vote Conservative, assuming my vote is not stolen in a New Labour vote factory, not because I like what they stand for. They are simply less bad than New Labour and the most likely to be able to reduce their massive majority.


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