Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A different ‘Third Way’ is needed

Writing in the Telegraph, Peter Oborne tries to make the case that the liberal left is losing the argument, because of the disastrous consequences, for the nation, of the premiership’s of Blair and Brown. Although accurate about the outcome, he seems to overlook the fact that this had little to do with these governments being either liberal or left wing.

Vying for the title of the most damaging act during this time are Brown’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the banking crisis. Given that it was the Conservative leader, Ted Heath, who took us into the European Economic Community in 1973 and Cameron, although well placed to take us out of the EU now, has chosen not to take this course – this disaster can hardly be blamed on the liberal left.

The banking crisis, although generally viewed as stemming from lax financial controls can also be laid at Brown’s door, but was created by capitalism, red of tooth and claw, not by liberal left wing policies. This is also true for the running down of the UK manufacturing base, as a result of both prime ministers accommodating the desire of Bush and Cheney’s for a global free market.

Today globalisation is the greatest obstruction to a UK economic recovery because of the fierce competition faced by our manufacturing as a result of low labour rates particularly in the Far East. The global free market is supported far more strongly by the Tories and the right generally.

In terms of social issues, Blair’s lifting of the controls on immigration together with the increase caused by our membership of the EU has caused more social unrest than any other issue. These have caused net immigration to rise from an annual 50,000 during the early nineties to more than 200,000 a year by the time Labour was removed from office in 2010. Although Cameron has promised to return net immigration to the tens of thousands, because he is determined to stay in the EU, and his Party’s commitment to the global corporations on movement of labour, it seems very unlikely that he will be able to achieve this target.

The lifting of immigration controls had little to do with liberal left policies, in hindsight it seems more to do with importing a cheap and compliant workforce aimed at undermining Union power and the employment laws that had been developed over time. Today with high and rising unemployment and the high birth rate of immigrants compared to those who originate from the UK – this is almost certainly an issue that will cause the greatest divisions in society and it is an issue that has no simple solution.

Blair’s poodle like support of Bush on his ‘War on Terror’ was not based on the policies of the liberal left, nor was the determination of his ‘Scottish Raj‘ to introduce devolved government in the UK to accommodate what was hardly a pressing issue in comparison to the many other demands at that time - this did, and has, added unnecessary complications to the governance of the nation at this extremely critical time.

Whereas it is true that the policies of the liberal left have been shown to be inadequate and had they been followed religiously, by Blair and Brown, the nation would have declined during their time in power. However, in broad terms, it is the extremes of the liberal left and Thatcherism that have caused the nation to zigzag in direction as one ideology takes over from the other. A new force is required that occupies the centre ground – one whose object is to benefit the people rather than the largest donors of the two main parties.

A new ‘Third Way‘ is required, but not that devised by Clinton and Blair.

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