Originally posted by devilwasp
sminkey watch your steps... your treading on soft ice.
dont fall in.
one thing i want to know is WHY old labour failed?
i mean they set the foundations for everything new labour stands for.
- It's OK Devil, just a to and fro on views. I don't speak for anyone but myself.
Oh there's no question about a relationship between 'new' and 'old' Devil. Of course one flows from the other - all political parties evolve in
one way or another, or should do if they wish to remain relevant and successful.
I think the reason 'old Labour' failed was for pretty much the same reason the current 'old tories' are failing.
It's also why UKIP stand little hope as they are. They are too ideological. Too theoretical, too abstract, it puts people off.
They have central elements of policy and a track record that just worries, scares or provokes hostility in people.
For example, old Labour had it with what was known as 'clause 4' and the objective to achieve 'the common ownership of the means of production'.
Some (many, most?) saw this as a worthy aim or theory but unworkable and impracticle in the real world. It indicated an over-riding instinct for
public ownership and always perceiving public ownership - in almost all cases - as superior to private ownership no matter what.
(It was to take until 1994 and 4 electoral defeats to remove this particular piece of party dogma)
The tory party have this instinct in reverse. Their 'default' position is that no matter what private ownership is almost always superior to public,
with very very few exceptions, no matter what.
It is clear that the UK public find each extreme position unpalitable.
I also think there is some kind of self-limiting factor at work here too. When parties try to get too 'radical' it tends to put UK voters off. (IMHO
the UK is actually a very - small 'c' - conservative country.
OK, (if you can stand it) heres a short potted history as I saw/see it......
Old Labour in the mid 1970's attempted to be quite radical with a program of quite progressive (for its day) public spending projects.
with a background of oil prices trebling, prices rocketing as a result, high inflation (just over 26% annually at it's peak), rising
unemployment and industrial unrest as workers tried to maintain their wage values many voters saw this as a mess of the gov's own making. The worst
years being '75 - 77.
It culminated with the left (the ideologically pure zealots) insisting on bringing everything down over the winter of 1978-79....the so-called
'winter of discontent'; basically in a game of Russian roulette that back-fired on them, they went for all or nothing and got nothing, for 18yrs.
Ably assisted by a sustaines press effort intent on seeing the return of a tory gov - especially one in the mould of Thatcher's version of it - 'old
Labour' lost the may 1979 election, not by a landslide, Mrs T got a majority of 43.
In the period 1979 - 1983 'old Labour' had quite a tussle culminating in Michael Foot being elected leader. Michael Foot is and was a great
political writer and thinker in the UK. He was one of the first to write about the coming dangers of Hitler back in the 1930's (it wasn't just
Anyhoo because he had an old appearance and did not fit the 'smart suit and tie' mould he was subject to a sustained campaign of personal
villification in the press (Murdock bought into the UK press in 1981).
Mrs Thatch was
on the verge of being ejected until april 1982 and the Falklands war came along. She was in the 20% range of the
polls and stuck there for months, clearly on her way out after one term. This was as a result of the biggest, longest and most damaging recession
since the 1930's. Mrs T was following the 'monetarist' theories of Milton Friedman and keeping the value of the £ artificially high with very high
interest rates. It was disasterous. It has been estimated that 20% of the UK's manufacturing capacity was destroyed. 3million people were once again
unemployed for the first time in the UK since the 1930's economic collapse.
(Oh, and for the 'inflation fanatics' it peaked under Mrs T at 22% following the 1979 oil price rise shoch....it doubled that time)
Handily enough the Falklands war (even according to memoirs of the Argentinians involved) was a war provoked by the announcement to remove the patrol
ship HMS Endurance.....Thatch & Co. had been warned a war might happen as it had been threatened when plans to withdraw the ship had been discussed
before in the 1970's. But nevertheless she went ahead and that was handy for her huh?
Also of huge significance was the departure of several senior figures seen to be then on the Labour 'right'. They believed the Labour party was
moving too far to the left and walked out to form the SDP (Social Democratic Party). This party formed an alliance with the Liberal party and was
thought at the time to have 'broken the mould' of British politics. They polled over 50%(!) at their peak.
So, Mrs T walked the 1983 election (144 majority). The Liberal/SDP saga had helped split the anti-tory vote significantly and Michael Foot stepped
down. Neil Kinnick became Labour leader and the move to 'new Labour' began in earnest. Kinnock took on the so-called 'hard left' within the Labour
party and gave them the boot, quite sucessfully and introduced greater democracy within the party.
The great schism in UK politics of the 80's was, of course, the Miner's strike.
This was (rather skillfully) portrayed by almost all of the UK press as a fight between commie trades unionists and the duly elected gov. The claims
of the miners regarding the devastation they and their industry were facing were painted as ludicrously exaggerated (.....and many, most, uninvolved
people believed this, the claims seemed so fantasticly OTT; time was to eventually show however they were actually woefully conservative and far from
the truth. The Coal Board and Thatcher's gov's plans were far more brutal than Arthur Scargill & Co could ever have imagined. ).
Anyhoo Thatch & Co were determined to win the strike and win they did using the Police in a (political) manner never seen before in this country.
People went along with it because they bought into the idea of the alternative being some kind of commie Trade union/hard left anarchy.
Labour's official support for the strike had been low-key so that really helped too. The 'you're too lefty' tag was very corrosive and worried
The 1987 election took place with a clear economic recovery going on. Some people started to believe the nonsense the press were telling them that the
UK economy was just on the verge of over-taking Germanys.
Headlines like 'your house price increasing by an average of £57 per day!
helped foster a mood of optimism (particularly after the early 80's
recession) and Thatch & gang got in again (majority 100).
Then things started to go wrong.
The stock market crashed massively on black monday (oct 19) with a full 10% wiped off of values; coming 2 days after the storm of the century it felt
like someone was trying to tell us something!
The slide into the next recession had started following Thatcher & chancellor Lawson refusing to apply the economic brakes in time - particularly in
relation to housing. 'Double MIRAS' was encouraging people to buy regardless of their real ability to afford as it was believed that house prices
would just continue to accelerate away from most people's ability to afford them. Japanese style 'inheritable' mortgages were claimed to be on the
In just about the worst circumstances possible senior tories persuade Thatcher to join the ERM (the European exchange rate mechanism, a preparitory
move for monetary union).
Kinnock continued to reshape the Labour party and turn it round. The 3rd defeat running had been hard to take but given the seemingly improving
economic back-drop not unexpected.
The tories ditched Mrs T when it became clear that she was going ga-ga ('we' are a grandmother) and had become an electoral liability and installed
John Major. Seemingly he was a tory who was 'an ordinary guy' (hey, I was unemployed for months too, you know!) and definitely not Thatcher and not
going to persue a Thatcherite course.
The public went for Mr 'I'm not Thatcher' Joh Major but only just. 1992 majority 21.
In his attempts to stop the £ collapsing Major & Co had to raise interest rates higher and higher. The the housing market collapsed as many found
their mortgages had become too expensive to bear. Even those people who could keep up their payments found that they had borrowed heavily on an
enormous mortgage but their house now had a value that was significantly below the debt owed on the mortgage.
(some people thought they could simply hand back the keys to their bank or building society.....who then auctioned off the house for an even lower
value and - in some cases - many years later came looking for the balance owed. For some that meant being handed a bill for £30 000, £40 000, £50 000
or £60 000+ with no prospect of ever being able to pay that off.
( This is not ancient history, this happened only 10yrs ago.
John Major presided over the 2nd worst post-war recession with 3 million unemployed once again (except that due to the number of changes to the manner
in which the statistic was formed it wasn't 3 million. The UK civil Service's own internal 'old' statistic said it was closer to 4.5million),
record home repossessions and mortgage rates.
(Inflation peaked at 11% under Major.)
Following the defeat of 1992 the Labour party went into shock.
Kinnock resigned and John Smith took over as leader. Smith continued the moves toward a more centrist Labour party (introducing one-member one-vote
through-out the membership) until his untimely death in 1994.
Tony Blair was elected Labour leader in 1994.
He led Labour to a post-war record landslide in 1997 and the 2nd largest post-war landslide in 2001.
(....and one last time for the inflation fanatics, under Labour since 1997 inflation has never been above 3.5% and is averaging under 2.5%)
[edit on 10-11-2004 by sminkeypinkey]