Where To Find Nolvadex And Clomid Canadian Pharmacy Cialis Soft Tabs Viagra Uk Purchase Online Pharmacy Tylenol 3 No Scrpit Ortho Birthcontrol Pills

Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog


1:00 pm - July 3rd 2010

by Neil Robertson    


      Share on Tumblr

Were it just an isolated incident, I suppose we could just dismiss Jack Straw’s attack on prison reform as that of a grumpy ex-minister grasping for success stories from his time in government.

We could even forgive him one last grumble as he adjusts to opposition and find his ‘prison works’ mantra consigned to the dustbin of social policy.

But then when you look around at how other ex-ministers have attacked coalition policies you’ll see a rather unsightly pattern emerge.

First, here’s Alan Johnson’s view of the coalition approach to crime:

The Home Secretary’s primary duty is to keep the public safe. She can do that or pursue the half-baked libertarian agenda cooked up with the Lib Dems. She can’t do both.

Then there’s immigration. After hearing that Britain won’t insist on an English test for asylum seekers who’re fleeing for their lives, Phil Woolas reacts with disgust and warns of Afghans on the back of lorries:

Former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: ‘This ruling means that a British man who marries, say, a Brazilian girl who can’t speak English will not be able to bring her into this country. ‘But an Afghan who gets here on the back of a lorry and successfully claims asylum can bring his Afghan wife, children and grandparents in – even if they don’t speak English.

Then, if you’re not already angry and afraid, here’s Johnson again to double down on the fear factor:

The coalition Government has been accused of “creeping complacency” in the face of the threat of terrorism, by former Home Secretary Alan Johnson.
The Labour MP said he is concerned a shake up of police powers and counter terrorism laws could leave the public more vulnerable to extremists.

See the pattern yet? Whether it’s on prison reform, crime, immigration or terrorism, the approach of Labour’s ex-ministers is to attack the government from the right. Now, maybe this can all be excused as tactical point-scoring and an attempt to cause mischief among a discontented Tory back bench.

Maybe it’ll shave some of the varnish off the coalition’s credibility and win a few easy headlines with the usual suspects. But, as Sunny rightly points out, all it says to the rest of us is that the Labour Party hasn’t changed at all.

For those of us who might once have been inclined to support the party – even join it – Labour still has an awful lot for which it should atone. We haven’t forgotten the threats to make the unemployed homeless if they don’t get a job, using breathalisers to check they’re not too tanked-up to work or lie detectors to check they’re telling the truth.

We haven’t forgotten 42 day detention, ID cards, Yarl’s Wood or the ‘hit squads‘ of supernannies who were meant to sort out our ‘feckless ‘unemployed.

We haven’t forgotten how cynical, punitive and populist Labour’s social policy could be, and these desperate attempts to attack the coalition from the right and just for the sake of it suggests that Labour is content to act exactly the same way in opposition.

Of course, this might all change with a new leader. Until the election is concluded, the shadow cabinet is acting less like a credible alternate government and more an attack dog without a head; a new leader could bring about a more empowering, less authoritarian approach to government.

What it does show, however, is that Labour’s problems will not be solved just by changing the person who wishes to lead it; it will also require a significant change in the attitudes of some of its senior politicians.

In the wake of the deal between the Tories and Lib Dems, Labour activists began proclaiming that they were now the only left-wing alternative in Parliament. If they want us to believe that, it would help to stop attacking the government from the right.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Neil Robertson is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He was born in Barnsley in 1984, and through a mixture of good luck and circumstance he ended up passing through Cambridge, Sheffield and Coventry before finally landing in London, where he works in education. His writing often focuses on social policy or international relations, because that's what all the Cool Kids write about. He mostly blogs at: The Bleeding Heart Show.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime ,Labour party ,Westminster

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. FlyingRodent

Agree, but Boo to whoever chose the title of the post. Pedantry – a legless attack dog would at least be able to bite people who came close enough; a headless one, not so much.

It’s hardly suprising that without a leader in place, ministers in the former government attack the new government from the perspective of their previous manifesto. Harman could impose her authority on the shadow cabinet more, I suppose, but I’m not sure how far that is practical.

I really do think that like the film Invasion of the body snatchers some pod has been put next to International left wing/Liberal politicians , who are then killed off, and replaced with look a likes but who just push far rigtt wing agendas and policies.

New Labour is full of them. so too the American Democrats. Obama killed off any real decent health reform, and now he is working to kill off social security. He has not given back one single power grab taken by Bush, and has kept all his wars going too. It is madness.

Agree, but Boo to whoever chose the title of the post. Pedantry – a legless attack dog would at least be able to bite people who came close enough; a headless one, not so much.

Y’know I read this again last night and thought “actually, what could be less scary than an attack dog without a head”?

To which you could always reply: “an ex-Labour minister”

hah! I didn’t even think of that point FR, but I guess it makes sense. Ah well… even though I chhose the headlines, I blame Neil.

Ah well… even though I chhose the headlines, I blame Neil.

This is because you’re a terrible editor who won’t ever take responsibility for things.

At least I know the correct names of England strikers 😉

Woolas is an ass, no question there.

However, I am not sure why you think that crime is not an issue. It is an important issue and it affects the poor far more than the rich (who have their gated communities and private security to protect them).

Trying to make sure that the most deprived and vulnerable in our society are not victims of crime is not a right-wing policy, it is doing what Labour MPs should be doing.

Yes Labour is headless, and I think that is a mistake (especially having hapless Harriet as acting leader). The Tories are taking advantage and moving very fast with destroying our public services. We will have to wait until the end of September until there is a proper opposition and it is far too long to wait.

However, I am not sure why you think that crime is not an issue. It is an important issue and it affects the poor far more than the rich (who have their gated communities and private security to protect them).

Oh, I absolutely do think that crime is an issue. Both crime & the fear of crime can be terrifying & debilitating to communities. What I would say, though, is that Johnson trying to paint the coalition as ‘soft on crime’ this early on is a pretty senseless attack, and one that seems born of a desire to equate ‘liberal’ with ‘very bad things will happen to your children’.

9. Matt Munro

Why can’t you lot grasp that the consensus of “state sponsored capitalism” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) that’s dominated European politics for two decades is over and that a long overdue, and corrective lurch to the right is at last happening. The EU is failing as we speak, socilalist countries are bankrupt and left wing governments are on the rack, your experiment has failed, get over it. And you can’t blame the Daily Mail for it.

your experiment has failed, get over it.

Not if it means trading in my beret.

Besides, it’s my experience that comments like this tend to appear about as frequently as ‘England will win the World Cup this year’.

Never quite happens though…

11. FlyingRodent

…your experiment has failed, get over it.

Yes, I’ve been enjoying all these “Crisis of capitalism actually caused socialism, if you look at it with your eyes sort of screwed up” headlines for a couple of years now.

I notice that the not-very-socialist United States isn’t exactly kicking ass and taking names these days, what with the whole shebang having kicked off there and with the sheer, unadulterated corruption of its glorious free market saddling the nation with a deficit so enormous that the human mind struggles to conceive of numbers that long.

I also notice that the one nation that is still rocking like Iron Maiden on PCP is China, a super-authoritarian, theoretically-communist-but-actually-a-factory-owner’s-wet-dream one-party state. Perhaps this suggests that our democratic experiment is over, and a long overdue realignment towards tyranny and exploitation beckons? I can certainly think of a few superwealthy Wall Street types who might like such a set-up. You’d certainly see a lot less of all that noisy marching and protesting.

12. FlyingRodent

That’d be “Crisis of capitalism actually caused by socialism”, which has been the highly entertaining, bullshit premise of a few hundred thousand op-eds over the past few years.

Of course, this might all change with a new leader

Well, of course it might. It just isn’t terribly likely if the leader’s name should turn out to be Miliband, Balls or Burnham.

#11 Actually, hate to be a pedant (no I don’t) but China is seeing a wave of unrest at the moment…

But yes, we might be seeing what a stable, less expansionist mature fascist state looks like in China.

Facism (loosely defined) might be back and it might be back to stay. Without Hitler perhaps Mussolini’s italy would have lasted, under different circumstances maybe Iberia would still be suffering under authoritrian dictatorships. Who knows. I hooe China finds democracy soon though…

@Matt Munro

“Why can’t you lot grasp that the consensus of “state sponsored capitalism” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) that’s dominated European politics for two decades is over and that a long overdue, and corrective lurch to the right is at last happening. The EU is failing as we speak, socilalist countries are bankrupt and left wing governments are on the rack, your experiment has failed, get over it. And you can’t blame the Daily Mail for it.”

Aye, because what the world needs is more opportunity for BUSINESS to run rampant and nail those of us who are dodging the current bullet with the next clip’s worth.

I love right-wingers… without them it would be hard to tell what decency was.

At least I know the correct names of England strikers

Why, you little…!

17. Leonard Hatred

Is anyone really surprised that a party which governed from the authoritarian right is now opposing the new government from the authoritarian right? The defining characteristic of New Labour must surely be its all-consuming love for power and the deeply-held belief that everyone would benefit if only they’d do as they were told. Or proceed directly to a Titan Jail, otherwise.

18. Chaise Guevara

“Why can’t you lot grasp that the consensus of “state sponsored capitalism” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) that’s dominated European politics for two decades is over and that a long overdue, and corrective lurch to the right is at last happening. The EU is failing as we speak, socilalist countries are bankrupt and left wing governments are on the rack, your experiment has failed, get over it.”

I think you’ll find that the problems of which you speak were caused by a lack of financial regulation that led to total panic in the credit markets. If you decide to look the phenomenon up, here’s a tip: it’s not filed under ‘socialism’.

The fact that capitalism has succeeded in temporarily fucking socialist states up does not make it a better system.

“The EU is failing as we speak, socilalist countries are bankrupt and left wing governments are on the rack, your experiment has failed, get over it.”

Have you seen the size of the American debt? You do talk nonsense

One of the small bennefits of the end of the social welfare system will be watching low income, and average income right wing twats have to face up to getting health care for their families. It will be deligtful to watch them die off in great numbers and moan and whinge as they do so.

20. Matt Munro

By the time the debt run up by vainglorious social engineering has been paid off I’ll be pushing up daisies anyway.

@17
Well, seeing as the Tories’ credo is more along the lines of “Wealthy people can benefit as long as everyone else does what they’re told”, I’m at a loss trying to work out if either of the main parties deserve any sane person’s vote.

@20
One man’s “vainglorious social engineering” is another man’s attempt to reverse the trend that made our public services and quality of life look embarrassingly pathetic compared to other western European countries.

Let’s be honest here – the public spending that anchored Labour’s most recent terms in government were based on taking on trust that if the regulatory noose was loosened, our captains of industry and finance wouldn’t drive the economy off a cliff. They broke that trust – and the worst accusation you can level at the previous Government is that they were woefully naive.

Vainglorious social engineering?

I thought Matt was in favour of the new budget! Haw!

23. Leonard Hatred

@21;

Oh, don’t worry, I’m no friend of that lot. I’m pretty sure by this point that none of the major parties deserve even our contempt, nevermind a vote.

24. Matt Munro

@20
“One man’s “vainglorious social engineering” is another man’s attempt to reverse the trend that made our public services and quality of life look embarrassingly pathetic compared to other western European countries.”

Another left wing myth. Before nu lab I could get a doctor out to see me, or my kids any time of day or night. The last time I phoned one I ended up taking my six month old (at the time) son half way across town on a 30 minute drive in sub zero tempertaures to be seen by a nurse.
Look around you, the roads are crumbling, schools are churning out functional illiterates, the prisons are full, there is alledgedly a social housing shortage.
I could just about forgive all the taxes and all the nannying IF they’d actually improved public services, they didn’t.

25. Matt Munro

@20 The public finances were f*cked long before the banking crisis. The mistake (being polite) was deregulating the city in order that it generate huge revenue streams and then spending that on crap. No infrastructure improvements, no reserves for when the economy faltered, no tax reductions to generate growth in other parts of the economy. And what do we have to show for it ? Just cycle lanes, academies and sure start (ironically now being criticised as monopolised by “pushy middle class parents”).

“Look around you, the roads are crumbling, schools are churning out functional illiterates, the prisons are full, there is alledgedly a social housing shortage.”

Pity you don’t have a time machine. You could piss off to the 19 century.

@23

What frustrated me most about Labour’s development of an authoritarian streak is that it essentially started as a way to keep the right-wing press onside. So they increased benefit spending, but made the means testing much harsher. They presided over an increase in the numbers of festivals, but clamped down hard on non-licensed events of the kind that piss off the NIMBYs. They essentially did everything the ACPO asked for, for fear of a press backlash (The Sun in particular being very cosy with senior police).

Somewhere along the line it became a learned behaviour and they started doing it without prompting. The fact that the Blairites took a lot of Thatcher-era beliefs to heart didn’t help, and we end up in the situation we’re in today. If anything positive can be said about it, it was that at least the crackdown was applied equally for the most part. What made Tory policy so galling in the past was that there were many get-out clauses for the upper middle classes and above. I don’t expect that’s going to change any time soon.

“What frustrated me most about Labour’s development of an authoritarian streak is that it essentially started as a way to keep the right-wing press onside. “Bingo! we have a winner!

This , in a nutshell is new Labour. That is why the far right attacks from brainless trolls on New labour as a far left wing party is idiocy.

New Labour was all about keeping the right wing press on side, which is why we went to Iraq by the way. Fat lot of good it did them. They could have done a deal with the Lib Dems in 1997, that would have kept the Tories out for 30 – 50 years. But Blair took his orders from Rupert Bear.

And as a result , Blair is making a fortune from Anglo American corporations and the Labour party is up shit creek.

29. Chaise Guevara

“The public finances were f*cked long before the banking crisis. The mistake (being polite) was deregulating the city in order that it generate huge revenue streams and then spending that on crap. No infrastructure improvements, no reserves for when the economy faltered, no tax reductions to generate growth in other parts of the economy. And what do we have to show for it ? Just cycle lanes, academies and sure start (ironically now being criticised as monopolised by “pushy middle class parents”).”

The thing is, I suspect the public finances have always been fucked. We’ve always used tomorrow as collateral; it just took the bubble bursting to make that painfully clear. I back you fully on reserves, but when you say “The mistake (being polite) was deregulating the city in order that it generate huge revenue streams and then spending that on crap”, I’d suggest only the first half of that is true. Obviously some money was spent on crap, but most of it wasn’t. Cycle lanes? Excellent idea. Sure Start? Seen as a godsend by those who use it. Fixing the NHS (or at least doing a bodge-job to keep it alive) was one use of that money. To honestly believe that extra tax was spent on “just cycle lanes, academies and sure start” requires that you ignore anything that doesn’t support your argument.

The problem is that people tend to focus on a few genuinely stupid ideas that nonetheless only wasted a miniscule proportion of state funds. Leaving aside the military, the biggest problem here is probably waste, due to both inefficiencies and expertimental projects that everyone, with the benefit of hindsight, claims they were against all along should they fail. While improvements can always be made, neither of these things are really avoidable.

This is why I get pissed off with parties of any political stripe who claim, in opposition, that they plan to save the country with efficiency savings, as if we can find several billion pounds down the back of the sofa. Presumably everyone’s against waste, so if the opposition has identified a fault that can be fixed painlessly and genuinely cares about the country, why don’t they inform their opponents in government and help everybody out?

30. Chaise Guevara

Excellent analysis, bluepillnation. New Labour started out pragmatic but ended up believing their own bullshit.

Had any New Labour minister cared to notice, there was certainly something peculiar about a judicial and penal system which resulted in England and Wales having the highest per capita prison population in West Europe, a fact that was fairly well publicised even when New Labour was in government:

“England and Wales have the highest per capita prison population in Western Europe – 143 people per 100,000.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/prisons/html/nn1page1.stm

A non-partisan observer of the situation might have also questioned whether that was linked with the provision made in the NHS for mental health services:

“More than 70% of the prison population has two or more mental health disorders. Male prisoners are 14 times more likely to have two or more disorders than men in general, and female prisoners 35 times more likely than women in general”
http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/information/mental-health-overview/statistics/

Of course, with the prospect of cuts in NHS services, the inevitable worry is about the social consequences of not providing custodial care for criminals who suffer from mental health issues.

32. Matt Munro

@ 29 “This , in a nutshell is new Labour. That is why the far right attacks from brainless trolls on New labour as a far left wing party is idiocy”.

But it was Bliar who (partly as a reaction to poor PR in the 1980s) decided that Government must dominate the news agenda, and then hired a load of spiv sociologists, pop psychologists and PR hatchet men to make it work. Under new labout the daily “news” was a diet of lame “policy” announcements which is why we had a blizzard of pointless/re-inventing the wheel/self-serving legislation. They turned government into a branch of the entertainment industry
Instead of trying to tame the (right wing) press, they played into their hands, epic fail, with only themsleves to blame.

@32
You are joking, aren’t you? The wailing and gnashing of teeth going on at Torygraph Towers and the officies of the Daily Heil were almost palpable for the first 10 years of New Labour. Murdoch’s a different kettle of fish, but he likes to back a winner. For over a decade, the Tories were definitively not that.

Even now, Poshboy only got to be PM by getting his Orang Book fag to do his bidding.

The Right wing media spins all the time. 24/7 New Labour just decided to get their spin in first. It would not have made a jot of difference if they had tried any other tactic. The right wing media will always attack non right wing govts.(including Conservative govts. Look at Major and Heath)

Blair decided that the way to go was offer them red meat and hope that they would nice to them over other things. Did not work. And it just pushed Labour to the Right. New Labour tried the same tactic with the bankers by deregulating their shifty ways and hoping they would be nice. Big mistake.

As usual, Labour’s core philosophy of ‘lick up and kick down’ shines through.

What better way to do this than by aping the Daily Mail’s stance on swarthy foreignors and prisoners and so on?

They are perfect targets.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  2. Sean McHale

    RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  3. Sarah Ditum

    Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ (via @libcon)

  4. Elly

    RT @sarahditum: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ (via @libcon)

  5. Carol Roper

    RT @sarahditum: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ (via @libcon)

  6. Carl Baker

    RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  7. Niall Millar

    Roll right. Labour continue to depress me. RT: @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  8. Dave Weeden

    .@Flying_Rodent damn you! you had the same reaction to 'headless attack dog' as me http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  9. Tom Major

    RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  10. Kieron Flanagan

    RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  11. Chris Laseter

    Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/b553Q9

  12. Andrew Ducker

    Why I won't be voting Labour in the near future. http://bit.ly/d05xhd

  13. James Graham

    RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  14. Paris Gourtsoyannis

    RT @jamesgraham: RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ

  15. Chris Terry

    If Labour wants to get my vote back from the Liberal Democrats step 1 has to be to stop being shit like this: http://is.gd/ddYhN

  16. meral hussein ece

    @jamesgraham RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ >right wing attack dog

  17. dog

    Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/bRtg5W

  18. Andrea

    RT @meralhece: @jamesgraham RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ >right wing attack dog

  19. Rachel Smith

    RT @NoetiCat: RT @meralhece: @jamesgraham RT @libcon: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog http://bit.ly/bre3cZ >right wing attack dog

  20. mrhig

    Labour in opposition: attacking from the right http://bit.ly/9NG61J (via @CTerry1985)

  21. Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog | Liberal Conspiracy -Political Fund USA

    […] the article here: Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog | Liberal Conspiracy Tags: cambridge, electoral-reform, regular-contributor, robertson Leave a comment | Trackback […]

  22. pablothehat

    Reading – #Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics

  23. Big Joe

    RT @pablothehat: Reading – #Labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85

  24. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics

  25. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics 6

  26. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics 5

  27. Big Joe

    RT @pablothehat: Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85

  28. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics 4

  29. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics 3

  30. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics 2

  31. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics 1

  32. pablothehat

    Reading – #labour has turned into a headless attack-dog – (No change in condition then doctor?) http://is.gd/deP85 #ukpolitics

  33. Gordon Rae

    We don't need right wing scare stories from senior Labour politicians http://is.gd/dfOkZ





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.