Readers of this blog will probably have noticed that I’m no great fan of Ed Miliband’s tepid opportunism, but it’s interesting that the ‘big guns’ in the Labour Party have come out of the woodwork to lecture him as the solemn day of national mourning approaches.
First out was Blair himself, lamenting the fact that ‘ The Labour Party is back as the party opposing “Tory cuts”, highlighting the cruel consequences of the Conservative policies on welfare and representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable.’
Yes, God forbid that the Labour Party or anyone else should make a mistake of that kind. For the Great Man, this ‘menacing scenario’ would mean that Miliband has chosen to ‘settle back into its old territory of defending the status quo, allying itself, even anchoring itself, to the interests that will passionately and often justly oppose what the [Coalition] government is doing’, instead of showing ‘leadership.’
These references to the ‘status quo’ and ‘interests’ are Blairspeak for public services, trade unions and anyone opposed to privatisation and public sector ‘reform’, or seeking to defend those affected by the vicious cuts regime imposed by its successors.
Blair and his acolytes were strong supporters of such ‘reforms’ when they were in office, and remain essentially supportive of the Coalition’s cuts/privatisation agenda, despite the ‘progressive’ veneer with which such advocacy is presented. His criticisms have naturally been been echoed by his acolytes, such as ‘Lord Mandelson’, and Alan Milburn.
And now David Blunkett, has joined the chorus, with a spectacularly inane piece of waffle in The Observer, sprinkled with meaningless declarations about Miliband’s One Nationism, such as his assertion that ‘ the heart of our politics and as an expression of our values rests an all-embracing yet simple philosophy of our humanity . ‘
Oh please. And saying things like ‘Reciprocity helps us balance the need for self-determination and creative individuality with mutual hope, and therefore what might be described as “solidarity”‘ doesn’t make it any better. For the real purpose of Blunkett’s intervention, like Blair before him, to remind Miliband that the Labour Party ‘ has to be about a great deal more than politics built on grievance and the unhappiness of a resentful and selfish public sphere.’
This is a particularly disgraceful statement coming from a politician, who like all New Labour’s ‘big guns’, has personally profited from the Blairite ‘reform’ agenda – often from the same companies that were active beneficiaries of it.
Blunkett picks up £30,000 a year as an ‘advisor on business development’ to A4e – the same company that was bidding for contracts when he was Work and Pensions secretary, and which went on to oversee the Coalition’s brutalist ‘back to work’ program.
In 2007 he became a £30,000 a year advisor for the Entrust company, which makes ID cards – a job opportunity that may or may not be connected to the fact that the former council leader of ‘Red Sheffield’ promoted ID cards when he was Home Secretary. Did I mention Blunkett’s £30,000 a year column for The Sun? Oh very well then.
And now this downright disreputable profiteer, who was forced to resign twice from ministerial office because he breached codes of conduct – and possibly the law – to promote his own private interests, has the gall to accuse teachers, nurses and other public servants of being ‘resentful and selfish’. Excuse me while I vomit.
The ‘ all-embracing yet simple philosophy of our humanity’ does not seem to be much of a priority amongst the other members of the ‘get-Ed’ chorus either. Take Alan Milburn, former Health Secretary and now the Coalition’s ‘independent advisor for social mobility’, whose company AM Strategy was valued last year at £838, 277. Since leaving office, the former MP for Darlington has become a member of the board of directors for Pepsi.
Before he resigned in 2009, his extra-parliamentary income included £30,000 as an advisor to Lloyds pharmacy, £35,000 working for Bridgepoint Capital, £25,000 advising Pepsi, and some £25,000 from newspaper articles. ‘Lord Mandelson’ has followed a similarly heartwarming rags-to-riches trajectory. In 2008 Mandelson bought an £8 million house in London, after becoming senior advisor to the investment bank Lazard.
Mandelson’s business interests include the business consultancy Global Counsel, which registered assets of £600,000 in its first year of training, and which provides advice to oversees clients such as ‘oil-rich Kazakhstan’.
And last but not least, there is Blair, whose wealth puts that of his minions in the shade. But I’m not going to go into that now. Suffice to say, that we are not dealing with the heirs of Keir Hardie, but with a very different tradition, whose leading representative is to buried on Wednesday.
No wonder Blair has told anti-Thatcher protesters to ‘show some respect.’ He and his mates owe her a great deal.