A serious question: What do you get if you put together a nationalist-patriotic, socially conservative, free market, business-worshipping, authoritarian, religious political leader? Answer: a highly dangerous, heady political cocktail with echoes in 20th century history. Who needs the Tory Party, or even the far-right British National Party when you have the Brown movement? Who needs political opposition of any kind when you have The Party that represents The Nation as well as everyone and everything? Who needs discussion and debate, or the casting and counting of votes when The Leader has already decided everything?
Welcome to New Labour 2007, the movement that has Tories, big business and military gentlemen as members of the government. Celebrate with The Party as it puts an end to nasty, “adversarial”, “divisive” conference politics in the name of Unity and the interests of the British People. Hear its Leader refer to Britain or Britishness no fewer than 71 times in an hour-long speech to The Nation. Stand up and cheer when Our Leader says: “I reach out to all those who work hard and play by the rules, who believe in strong families and a patriotic Britain, who may have supported other parties but who, like me, want to defend and advance British values and our way of life." Feel proud when you are told that in future there will be “British jobs for British workers” and that nasty foreigners who don’t behave will be shown the door (after being sent to detention camps first). Know that those who oppose Our Leader also reject the British Way and face the wrath of The State.
Thankfully, the Bournemouth Rally saw it that way too. How thrilling that those present voted in Stalinist fashion by 85% to put an end to conference resolutions and votes. Why, even the trade unions endorsed a motion to abolish their own role in the conference in exchange for zero, zilch, de nada. Lest we forget, their predecessors had actually set up The Party, then known as Labour, over a century ago. Few dared oppose the move, so important is Unity at this time for Our Nation. One brave soul, John McDonnell MP, rejected the move to create a monolithic Party, suggesting that the last person leaving the hall “turn off the lights please, they will be the lights of democracy”. The only dissenting voice on the floor came from Michael Meacher, who asked: “What is the point of conference if it is merely a talking shop and there is no way we can seriously influence the party leadership and the government into changing course?” There is no point, Michael. So let us hear no more rubbish from the left about reclaiming the party. There is no social democratic, reformist party to reclaim. It has been incorporated lock, stock and barrel into the process of corporate-driven globalisation.
The financier-philanthropist George Soros once said: “Perhaps the greatest threat to freedom and democracy in the world today comes from the formation of unholy alliances between government and business. This is not a new phenomenon. It used to be called fascism…The outward appearances of the democratic process are preserved, but the powers of the state are diverted to the benefit of private interests.” Brown did not quite get round to promising to make the trains run on the time, but the logic is there for all to see. Globalisation has dissolved the old, bourgeois-democratic parliamentary state and with it the parties that subscribed to that process. The alternative to the Brown nightmare has to come through extending democracy beyond the limitations of the decayed parliamentary state. A democratic choice would put people in charge of their workplaces and communities, giving them ownership of economic and financial resources presently misused and abused by the ruling elites. There is no time to lose in building a movement that can realise these aims and objectives.
AWTW communications editor