The Labour Party was born out of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. The party itself was born in 1900 and was elected to power for the first time with Ramsay MacDonald as Prime Minister in 1924. They are a centre-left political party whose ideology is diverse in socialism, social democracy and democratic socialism. The last two might sound the same to one another but they are not. To clarify this social democracy refers to democratic socialism through reformist and gradualist methods and democratic socialism is where democracy works alongside a socialist economic system. Initially the Labour party was formed for the trade union movement to establish itself in Westminster for political representation. It’s the party of socialism which many people know as a political movement where the state and the people have common ownership of the nation’s industries, trade and commerce. It favours government intervention on the economy and the redistribution of wealth. Taxation pays for the state’s services like health, housing, social security, welfare and public services. Socialism also believes in state ownership of industries so that they can prop them up when they falter and by attached to the welfare system that makes them directly capable of providing work for them so unemployment is virtually impossible. It sounds like a great idea for the lower classes and it makes socialism the highly favoured way of life for the common person. But like capitalism which the Tories favour it has it’s weaknesses.
The socialist philosophy was born during the early 19th century conjured up by theorists and activists who were at the forefront of the social revolution. At that time the working classes were destitute and oppressed with limited powers for their own way of life. It differed from country to country who each had their own ideas for socialism. In Britain the working classes exploded in size thanks to the mechanisation of the economy, the state and the industries. It was so big they were seen as a valuable tool for business and their expansion. This was seen as an exploitation of labour and the proletariat didn’t like it. However there were some rich people who cared for their workers and treated them in a humane way in an era that was full of social reformists that swept away the old standing in life for the working classes. One of the most famous British socialists was a Welshman called Robert Owen. He believed that a man was not responsible for his own upbringing because he had no means to do so. Owen ran a cotton mill in New Lanark, Scotland which also had on site provisions for the workers and their children, which also included a school. He lobbied Parliament over child labour and helped create the co-operative movement. Over socialists followed his example and it was later emulated by other business people across the country. The trade union movement was established to offer a better deal of working conditions and wages. Non-conformist religions also played a part in their development and in the 1830s and 40s mass movements of people created charters which saw the working classes succeed their standing in life to be on the same level with the middle classes. The most famous of these charters is the People’s Charter in 1842. Backed from some MPs they got the right to vote, the secret ballot, the right to a salary for MPs, equal representation for voters, removing property qualifications for MPs and annually elected parliaments. Over the years we saw new reforms and new acts of liberty and rights for the common man which shaped the society we know it as today.
One of the founding fathers of socialism was a German philosopher called Karl Marx. He believed in an extreme form of socialism called communism which is a socioeconomic system that has no democratic structure or framework for governance. It’s common ownership of production with no class system, money or any sign of a state. Examples of communism throughout history have proven that this can’t work. It leads to poverty, corruption, rule by fear from governors and indoctrination of children until eventually it becomes a left-wing dictatorship run by fanatics that control every aspect of the state. So in the end it does eventually become a state, but a state where the proletariat have no say in political and social affairs. Just ask the citizens of communistic countries before they collapsed like the Soviet Union and East Germany and in the modern world North Korea. China might be a communistic country but it’s able to survive by adopting capitalist business practices. It used capitalism in it’s post Maoist economy to rebuild the country and it has helped to establish itself as world superpower. All thanks to it’s creator Deng Xiaoping who reasoned that economic development should not be hampered by the state while still retaining communism. He had a famous saying, ‘It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice’. Which from the context meant ‘It doesn’t matter if China is capitalist or communist as long as it get’s richer and stronger’. So China’s economic miracle is down to a communist government running a capitalist economy, it’s a hybrid philosophy.
Returning to the Labour party of our own country they are also the political front of the trade unions who fund their wages and election campaigns. The party members work closely with the trade unions so that they are connected effectively to the demands of the people. The other parties have their own financial backers and supporters who they stay in touch with too. So there isn’t any bias or unfair advantage in that. Labour’s party constitution was written in 1918 and there is a socialist element to it called Clause IV which advocates a strong commitment to the common ownership or nationalisation of the country’s industries, trade and commerce. This is similar to communism but it works alongside a democratic framework so it makes it okay to work for Parliament. Thus the Labour party like the Conservative party has a collective of different types of socialist. So let’s get on with the modern party. Here’s what the modern Labour Party has done for Britain since 1945:
- Establishing the post war consensus and the welfare state under the government of Clement Attlee. This marked the beginning of the nationalisation of state industries where the government took sole control of virtually every business and service in the country akin to a communist state. Also the welfare state saw the introduction of the welfare system we have today: free healthcare, social security, dole money, childcare, pension schemes, education, housing, income support, etc. It was a vision of what they called New Jerusalem.
- In 1964 along came Harold Wilson who famously said that ‘Britain is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution’. That speech was a reference to the scientific and social revolution that defined the swinging sixties. The government was investing in massive housing projects and new towns. The education sector was now seeing working class kids in universities and the Open University was born. There was also masses of individuals fighting for their rights. It was a great time to have your own individual identity.
- The Labour years of 1974 – 79 were one of the worst times for Labour when it looked like Socialism wasn’t working and the country was crumbling. Inflation and stagnation gripped the country as it became ‘The Sick Man of Europe’. The unions were causing chaos and social unrest across the country in the Winter of Discontent.
- New Labour came along with a whole new image for the party that endorsed the capitalist economy created by Thatcher and abandoned core socialist principles. Under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown they championed for social justice and free market economics. Thus they became a right wing socialist democratic party.
This is the Labour Party as we know it today a socialist party with a very chequered history establishing a left wing branch of democracy that has been responsible for the greatest number of social engineering projects along with the Tories. Whilst I am a Tory voter I will admit that for a while I did like Labour for their media savvy image and youthful charm back in the day. But I grew to hate them when I realised they were not to my standards. But I am thankful for the socialists for creating a democratic framework where the working classes have a say in our country. Thanks to them they gave us the rights for the common person, the end of child labour, the national minimum wage, the equal pay act, the health and safety act, government subsidies in business and commerce, the welfare state, national insurance, free healthcare, state owned public services, the discrimination for people of all races, gender, religions and disabilities to be in mainstream society, etc. They are the architects of a free, liberal and fair society. Providing a safety net for those who are less fortunate and creating jobs and consumables to feed their people.
However socialism does have it’s weaknesses where it does not allow people to free themselves and be their own person. At the same time it also believes in conformity, entrapment and that no one should defy the will of their collectivism so there is no class system or progress into new innovation. However when they do embrace progress they channel it towards what benefits the country for the people, but not for business. Some of the communist nations like the Soviet Union controlled where the workers went and enlisted them to work in the places they were deemed useful to those industries. This is why the Soviet Union, a supposedly backward country, was able to launch a satellite into space but not build good quality consumer goods like cars, Tupperware, fridges or furniture. Britain’s Labour Party however endorsed public spending and welfare more over defence and innovation. The last serious socialist Labour government we had and the most successful was Harold Wilson’s from 1964 – 1970, after that it was all very gritty and downbeat. Let’s look at the great achievements in British socialism and Labour. The Wilson administration was for me Labour’s greatest time in office when it finally brought diversity and social inclusion to the mainstream in society. First they picked up from where the Tories had been scandalised by the first ever widely publicised sex scandal in the government, the Profumo affair. At the time we were still in the shape of an old fashioned middle age country, but all that was about to change. The Beatles were riding high in the charts, Dr Who, Coronation Street and Top of the Pops were making us cram to the sofa and all around us new technologies and metropolitan developments were changing Britain with new homes and cities. Life was all about function and fashion and it was mired in the social changes in our society. Homosexuality and abortions were legalised; flogging and capital punishment were banned; several reforms saw divorce easier; woman got an equal standing in society with men like never before; diversity gave way to multiculturalism at the same time as the civil rights movement in America sought to bury racial poison, theatre censorship was abolished allowing them to explore themes and stories that had long been taboo or controversial, which also applied to TV, film and radio; the working classes got access to higher education where the sons of millionaires and toffs had long prevailed. The Wilson Labour government was also responsible for creating universal education reforms which saw the expansion of comprehensives and created the Open University where I was a student studying at distance learning. Thanks to that I probably would never have got access to higher education. It has saved many lives including mine and made my life on the dole more productive. Thank You Labour for that. I’ll save my views on the comprehensives for later.
So how did socialism become so unfashionable and why is Ed Miliband making the current Labour party so weak with his anti-business policies. I think it lies in where the downfall of socialism came from. After Ted Heath’s Conservative government lost power in 1974 Wilson came back with Labour hoping to ease tensions with trade unions who were tearing British industry and commerce apart with the wildcat strikes and demands for pay that could not be met effectively. Already they had strangled the country into darkness at the same time a year before an oil crisis from a war in the Middle East had crippled Western Europe. Britain which had once been a self-preservation society that fed itself from it’s own farms and factories was suddenly at the mercy of greed and corruption from within it’s own ranks and foreign powers. At first Labour was run by Wilson as minority government, but then he got ill and resigned after two years and was replaced by James Callaghan. The party went through three coalitions to try and maintain power, first with the Liberals then with various small parties which included Plaid Cymru and SNP. They fell apart as well. It was terrible time to be in the country that emigration outnumbered immigration. Socialism was becoming such a vain on the country that we were in a state of terminal decline. This is where my utter distaste for socialism comes from. The compulsion to consume society and public services and burrow the state and until it’s been swallowed up by the people. Now at the height of the socialist Britain almost the entire industries and services of the country were owned by state. Nearly all the workers were union members so if they wanted something they called a strike and shackled the country bring the government to it’s knees. They were like spoilt bratty children demanding more sugar than they were allowed in their Rice Crispies. In 1975 inflation was at 23.7% due to too many wage increases, and the industries didn’t even deliver in return for their grants. However there were some socialists who took such great pride in their jobs and their community that they stood up for the survival of company and were well disciplined in their trade and their national identity.
The socialist movement operates under the belief that the working classes are oppressed because of free markets, so by employing them in state jobs living in state housing they are ensuring that they have a community and a way of life to prosper. But at the same time they also disregard competition, innovation and creating wealth. Basically it’s working to consume, rather than to create. One of the union’s many demands on the state owned industries was to protect the jobs of their members by refusing to implement changes. So production costs were skyrocketing and Labour had to use public money to prop them up whenever they started to suffer. One notable example of a refusal to change was the machines used to build the goods. Whereas British Leyland were making cars using assembly lines powered by gas powered electric generators and used manual labour to assemble the parts on the conveyor belt Germany’s Volkswagen plant was using electric powered generators and relied on the workers using production robots alongside the manual workers. They also had a lost less disputes than us, as socialism works differently from country to country. German unions and managers work for the common good in a spirit of mutual trust, whilst British unions and managers were locked in a class war to afford the luxuries of their privileges. I really would like to ask the workers of this country today, of whom support the socialist principle of fair wages, is having a wage very generous so important that would rather the company suffered and risked losing your job to the competition for the sake of the luxuries you can bring upon yourself and your family? Maybe if you had enough passion for your work then you will have a job and better company that can ensure a long term prosperity. Like I said about capitalism, passion is vital to ensuring your job’s longevity. You can also apply passion to socialism as well. Jimmy Reid was a shipbuilder from Glasgow and a union man who cared passionately about his fellow workers and community. When the Heath government tried to close down the Clyde shipyards in the early 1970s Reid was a shop steward who took responsibility for the running of the shipyards along with the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-in where he got the workers to agree to an alternative method of saving the shipyards. Instead of demonstrating or striking he got them to agree to a work-in. The best way was to prove the viability of the shipyard to the government and continue to complete the orders the shipyards had until they changed their policy. Eventually the government gave in and handed the shipyards the public support it needed. Who can forget his famous speech to keep the yards open with strict self-discipline? This is the kind of union leader who I admire, history should show his example for he was a better union man than Arthur Scargill. Reid’s philosophy kept the yard not only open but it kept the shipyards going for years on end and they are still operating today. That’s how you act like a good socialist, save your workplace for the common good, not your petty feeble privileges!
Another thing I believe about socialism is mutual trust between the government and the people on their welfare. However in recent years it has become an exploited service by freeloaders, crooks and imbeciles. When the welfare state was invented it was intended to eradicate poverty and illness in what it’s inventor and social architect William Beveridge called the five ‘Giant Evils’ of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. It was believed the system would create a society that would grow into a working class so valuable and cherished that they would look out for themselves. Sadly however it was not to be. It all went to our heads, as the years went on and over the last sixty years we have developed an ethos with a psyche that reckons that we are now free from all responsibility for own welfare. And I’m not only talking about free healthcare, I’m talking about the entire system that provides for us that we take for granted today. Health, housing, social security, jobs, public services, social problems, crime, standard of living, benefits, defence, etc. Even the capitalist ideology of unregulated banking can be accounted for. If the whole system collapsed now no one would have a clue on how to survive on their own. Now we have a welfare system where:
- Two thirds of diabetics skip their insulin to bow to social pressure to be thin and fit in. In one case a woman admitted getting risking her health to drink alcohol with friends so that she can hang out even with them and in another one woman skipped her insulin shots so that she could thin herself to be skinny. In both cases they expect the NHS to save them from dying even though there’s a chance they might not be able to.
- There’s an obesity crisis in this country and those who get fat expect the NHS to save them and can’t be bothered to lose weight to survive. In denial and happy to suffer at taxpayer’s expense. Even drunks are taking up valuable NHS beds cancelling operations for life threatened patients.
- Councils and local authorities throw pots of money at problems instead of creating decent solutions for things like care for the elderly, rubbish collections, school services, community provisions, public health and road safety. The public do go and make their demands to the councils, but they are not active enough in directing them to the problems. We can’t just dump everything on them, you need to elaborate on it.
- There are a class of jobseeker out there who play the system that the press have exposed who claim benefits as a way of life to avoid work and in some cases breed babies as milk tokens for more benefits and lavish housing. The mainstream media has even turned them into ‘sideshow freaks’ as poverty icons and idle scroungers, which make the ordinary unemployed frowned upon by society.
- Impoverished families are living in council properties that are not even within communities that guarantee jobs. These are the kind surrounded by closed coal mines, derelict factories and seaside resorts with so few tourists to make any money. Examples such as the Welsh mining town of Merthyr Tydfil and the seaside resort of Southend on Sea. There are some jobs and businesses in the area but the locals consider the income they would get to be insufficient and so they snub them and they have got the nerve to blame immigrants taking what they don’t even want. I do have an issue with immigration but I’ll save that till later.
- The Great Recession saw a lot of banks bailed out by a government that used taxpayer’s money to save them. It was caused by liberal banking that was so unregulated they sold cheap mortgages without credit checks and the customers bought them without even asking questions. It was a heavy price to pay but in the fallout we also discovered that there were so many people in denial only 1 in 4 saved for their future amidst the culture of easy credit and they were burrowing uncontrollably. Banking shouldn’t be associated with shopping, it’s a lethal mix of pleasure and profligacy.
- The councils are even ignorant of social problems themselves, where they focus on catching tax dodgers, parking fines, recycling and multiculturalism. The demands to suit the left wing elite for social justice and political correctness is so severe that they are in denial about social problems. Consider the number of types of waste bins people have to put out, crime rates caused by a lack of social activity centres or the case of Rotherham Sex Gangs where they put multiculturalism above child safety.
- The public are so engorged with their privileges as citizens of a welfare state they expect the government to do everything for them. The August riots of 2011 showed that when it comes to a rebellion you are more likely to see people looting than protesting for change. It’s like as if the people here are happy slaves, brainless sheep who wouldn’t put up a fight against their oppressors because they are too busy enjoying their privileges. Even union workers who strike are so few in number that their protests are virtually irrelevant.
No need to look after yourself, earn a living or bother about your children’s education, just dump it all on them; and if you bleed you run to the government throwing authority and other people in front of your own blood. Not me, I frequently communicate with my MP Andrew Rosindell and as a volunteer for the local history museum I keep in contact with local dignitaries. People who want their government to make a difference for them should get out and be involved. It’s no good if you constantly lambast them, work with them or suffer. Do you know why pensioners are the most protected of citizens, because they use their retirement actively canvassing with their MPs. Maybe if students got out and worked with them perhaps the tuition fees would vanish!
When Labour came back to in 1997 they came in the form a non-socialist party calling themselves New Labour. What made them so different from the old Labour Party was the fact that they ditched capitalism. Because Thatcher and the Tories had given the working classes the powers of capitalism and free enterprise it looked like socialism had no place in modern society because a lot of people were doing so well for themselves. Knowing that state ownership and taxes for public services was unfavourable and that there were no need for more worker’s demands Labour needed a new purpose in life with a new policy manifesto that favoured the free market and individual rights. This where Tony Blair and Gordon Brown come in. They started to create a new image for the party by becoming the most media obsessed party in British political history. They also washed away their party image and created what looked like a non-socialist Labour party. They were just the Tories in new suits. Blair endorsed the capitalist economy created by Thatcher and abandoned Clause IV, which was the common ownership of the state for the people. No more socialism meant they were a right wing socialist democratic party focusing on social justice and free market economics. Under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown they championed their ideas to bring the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, the parliaments for Scotland and Wales, cutting ties with the unions. They even used the media as a tool to their image to make them a party fit for the younger generation. Especially when they were partying with popular culture that politics never looked so cool. However they were also hard on the nation’s society that they soon became like a left wing dictatorship imposing multiculturalism, the pandering to international trade relations with corrupt countries, irresponsible spending on public services and unregulated banking that led to the biggest recession in living memory. They hoped to the end the cycle of boom and bust which capitalism was always going through.
They even made it okay to dismiss the achievements of their nation’s heroes and allowed dangerous enemies into the country. To them social engineering and liberal theology was so important that they destroyed the working classes that they used to represent and they would rather smash the identity of the state and individualism so that they could get Britain richer and socially diverse. One of their most famous legacies is taking us into US President Bush’s war on terror that included attacking Iraq hoping to disarm Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, which didn’t even exist and was based on a dodgy dossier. One of the most famous acts of depravity from the party was that of Spin, where the party manipulated the media to make the people win their approval. It was the workload of New Labour’s Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell who plotted smear campaigns against their rivals and crushed critics with demonising their beliefs. It was quite truly a left wing dictatorship, and yet no one knew or even admitted to it.