We’re still in the early days of the ConDem administration and they are already blaming the Labour Party for all their woes, the main issue being the budget deficit. The reasons are obvious; to prepare the electorate for Osborne’s nasty swingeing cuts which, true to Tory fashion, will hurt lower-earners and those on benefits, while allowing the top 5% to enrich themselves.
Apportioning blame on Labour has always been one of the Conservative Party’s ploys – they did it throughout the period Labour were in office, even during their own administration from 1979-1997. Perhaps it naïve to expect them to behave any differently – accepting responsibility is not the strong suit of ‘the ruling-class’; they even send their children to boarding-schools. Labour are not any more responsible for the deficit than any other party – in fact, the Tories put into place many of policies that created the problem. Their obsession with all thing monetarist; rampant consumerism, business models based on debt, the cult of laissez-faire private enterprise – none of these could ever be considered typical Labour touch-stones, and these are the things that have caused the deficit.
Somewhat typically they are blaming ‘socialist’ policies for that. Funny enough, I didn’t notice a lot of socialism going on under New Labour and being a Marxist, I would have. Labour are being criticised for investing too much into public services, an emphasis on Big Government, creating too many quangos (the Tories themselves have created five new quangos this week to replace one of Labour’s), and finally that old chestnut, ‘benefits culture’. David Cameron famously declared that he didn’t care if he’s being paid to be a politician or not – big of him when one considers he doesn’t really need the money (he’s a multi-millionaire anyway and he married into more wealth). Thus he, like most of the members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party, is independently wealthy and has income from outside interests. The Conservatives don’t need public money and despise those who do. Nor do they use public services; they don’t need the NHS, state schools, public transport or any of the things that the rest of us rely on. Furthermore, when most of us are made unemployed as a consequence of their policies they would rather we perish and die than receive any state benefits. If that sounds a bit strong – think about it…
While the Conservative Party are happy to blame the Labour Party for all the bad things, they are still willing to accept the credit for Labour’s achievements. An example of this is the Labour Party’s achievement in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland. Labour did not, and still do not, have the same baggage as the Tories in respect to Northern Ireland; Tony Blair, for all his faults, showed great determination in making the peace process happen, and chose the right ministers for the job. In an effort to acknowledge the suffering the conflict had caused, Labour also commissioned the Saville Report to look into the killings during Bloody Sunday in 1972. This had been long overdue, and in fact took 12 years to complete. The cost was £191m, and this alone is an illustration of how complex an undertaking the investigation was.
It is unlikely that a Conservative administration would have given the green-light to such a report, and even more unlikely that the peace process would have been as successful as it has been; the Tories have been traditionally associated with the Ulster Unionists and henceforth may have been considered too partisan during negotiations. Although Major managed to make some inroads, his antipathy towards Gerry Adams and other republicans was well-known. As for his predecessor – Thatcher – she was the most ‘orange’ PM of the modern age, but surprisingly did have meetings with republicans – in secret.
When the Saville Report came out early this week, Cameron was quick to use it to generate some good publicity for himself by issuing a public apology to the families of the innocent victims. He was right to do so, of course, but in week of constant point-scoring over Labour, he might at least have credited the previous administration with setting the process in motion. This is not a time to play party politics, and Cameron shows poor taste in doing so. Furthermore, it is unlikely that any of the guilty will be brought to book over what happened in Derry. If Cameron had any commitment to the process, this is something that should at least be considered. I doubt it will happen though.