April 9, 2010

DEFENDERS OF THE SECOND WAY ARE INEVITABLY REACTIONARY:

Labour are now the reactionaries, we the radicals (David Cameron, 4/09/10, guardian.co.uk)

There has been a strange reversal in British politics. Labour have become a reactionary force while the Conservatives are today the radicals. Gordon Brown heaps taxes on the poor, blocks plans to improve gender equality, allows rape crisis centres and special schools to shut. He echoes the far right in demanding "British jobs for British workers", then plays to the far left in reigniting class warfare. His reflex is to seek dividing lines instead of ways to unite.

He is most reactionary, most illiberal, in his obsession with the state. Detention without trial; ID cards; new powers for the state to enter your home … the list goes on. And this antiquated belief in state control underscores Labour's approach to public services. In education they want to derail the academy programme by handing power back to local education authorities. In health, they refuse to dismantle the bureaucracy that drives nurses and doctors mad. And they refuse to release data on government contracts or the details of senior government salaries.

Labour are wedded to the idea that politicians know best, with their targets and quangos and diktats. But you cannot fight poverty or improve hospitals from office blocks in Westminster; you need pluralism, you need to release the energy and ambition on the ground in local communities. We live in an age where power is being diffused: in every industry, consumers are gaining control; in every debate, more voices are being heard. In politics, Gordon Brown is an anachronism. His government is past its sell-by date.

Now consider our party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2010 5:58 AM
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