Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Thursday, March 10, 2005

'New' Labour Ruminates..If Only I Had a Soul...

This news story really does turn the stomach asserting that 'New' Labour needs to learn from Bush's re-election and the so called values rhetoric that went along with it. British leftist types often assert that Brown is the superior 'Real' Labour alternative to Blair seeing him as the more grounded in the Labour movement and as the advocate of more progressive policies than Blair.

What these people seem to forget is Brown's often unabashed endorsement of US economic model and his swallowing of the myth of US productivity increases. He promotes the shibboleths of 'flexibility' and 'enterprise' with all the zeal of a neo-liberal and seems to regard Europe with disdain. That Brown's political allies look to the US for political tips regarding re-election is not then surprising. However political lessons from the US do not often translate that well to the UK, with our largely secular body politic, strong unions and history of social democracy. The idea that 'New' Labour can promote the kind of values rhetoric being shilled in the US is I think misguided. The structural differences between the two countries mitigate against this.

Douglas Alexander in this Guardian article does concede this point. Throughout the article there is a general queasiness with Blair's 'post-ideological' agenda. He seems to be aware that technocratic managerialism does not fire up the the base or get voters out to the polls, hence his call to specious 'values'. This has always been a problem with 'New' Labour it's lack of ideological spine and has always been the deal breaker when it comes to comparisons with the impact of Thatcherism on politics. Blair has not forged a new consensus merely tidied up the old one. Alexander is I think suffering from a case of buyers remorse, he is uneasy with the whole direction the 'New' Labour project has taken bemoaning the brand led strategy of the Blairites and the consequent descent of politics into vacuous consumerist language.

Alexander here is I think speaking for Brown. This article and his comments are a coded message to 'Old' Labourites that they have not been forgotten by the chancellor after all if Brown wants to be Prime Minister he will need this faction's support and this call to 'values' will help him secure it.