Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blinkered Brown Is Stuck In The Past

The striking picture of refinery workers has become so iconic, posters should be made, rolled up and slapped around Brown's chops. Will that man ever wake up to reality?

Today last Davos Man had the gall to admit he hasn't a clue how to fix the economy. History, Brown said, offered "no clear map" of how to deal with it. Rubbish. If he hasn't a clue he could try reading JK Galbraith, or move over and let someone else have a go. 

Talk about living in the past! The government is clinging onto false boom years policies, while the economy crumbles around its ears, bringing thousands of jobs down with it.  

Start by supporting workers in times of deep recession and override neo-liberal EU trade and employment agreements. Warning about the perils of protectionism was fine for the 'boom' years but fall on deaf ears during times of bust and mass unemployment.

The wave of strikes across the country came as Brown struts around the World Economic stage, repeating his hollow promise to do his best for jobs while his ill-advised "British jobs for British workers" is thrown back in his face.  

Look at the lessons of history. Anxiety over jobs has turned to anger and spilled over in mass protests, expressing the fears of working people, as the recession exposes the truth about the state of the bankrupt economy. 

Rhetoric and angry polemics mask a deep and disturbing underbelly of uneasy unrest which is beginning to surface. 

Refinery protests are showing a nasty side with mounted police, dogs and riot squads standing by and nationalist movements milking the unrest to whip up support. Industrial unrest can so easily turn to civil disorder and a stand-off with political police. 

For years the government has encouraged crucial and strategic industries to sail off into foreign hands, allowing the wealth created to go with it. Banks have been allowed to sail into Galbraith's "wild blue yonder" with taxpayers cash. 

A free market has been allowed to get out of control, leaving the country plundered by big foreign firms and on its knees, while the government turned a blind eye to cheap, exploited foreign labour. 

Now the country has lost control of all its key industries, they are ripe for exploitation and the chickens are coming home to roost. 

Just exactly what is 'Labour' about a New Labour Party, which has abandoned its workers and left them to rot, more bothered about forcing them to fit into its global market ideas, rather than protecting their interests. All with the tacit support of a new breed of trade union officials who'd rather cosy up to their pals in government.

Over the 'boom' years, growth in employment has been deliberately concentrated in the City financial market, emerging 'new' industries and a pool of low skilled, low paid workers to do the dirty work in poor conditions, while the manufacturing base was left in ruins. 

Cheap credit and a debt-ridden culture bred a false consumer which mirrored the 'boom' before the US Great Depression. Here it allowed the government to recklessly pursue its neo-liberal trade and employment policies, driven by an obsession with an ever expanding and controlling EU. 

Short-term contracts, agency work, subcontracting and fewer workers rights are all part of the downside of that good times policy. 

Those times are over. The false security of mortgaged homes and easy, cheap credit to plug the income gap has evaporated. 

A government stuck in the past cannot offer real alternatives. The recession should be an opportunity for a great leveller. The obscene gap between rich and poor must be halted. Tougher regulation is needed to end the ruthless exploitation of low paid casual slave labour. 

Jobs should be protected and created in strategic and vital industries and manufacturing by bringing them back into full short-term public ownership until the recession eases. And stop borrowing billions.

Both the Tory right and Labour left are calling for a radical rethink over the economy and the working backbone of the country, albeit from different political perspectives. Neither want a return to the bad old 'boom' days and in that respect they are singing from the same hymn sheet. 

Stuck in the middle and stuck in the past is the sad, tired spectacle of Brown and the New Labour Project, floundering around, clinging on to power with failed, out-dated policies and ignoring lessons of history, until a very bitter end. 

Picture: The Bearfacts, engineering construction workers website

UPDATE: William Hill has Brown now 5/2 to jump or get the push in 2009. Green shoots of an early election?

1 comment:

Mitch said...

The words Gordon brown and reality can never appear together.
He is delusional and is destroying the UK.