Thursday, January 31, 2008

Old Labour and New Labour contrasted


"The only incontrovertible achievement - which nobody can plausibly deny - of Tony Blair's decade in office is that he himself has ended up as a very rich man. It was very different under old Labour.
One of my first jobs as a young journalist in the 1950s was to interview Herbert Morrison - who had been a leading light in two historic administrations, including Churchill's glorious wartime coalition - and to my amazement he was still occupying the humble semi from which he sprang. Driven around in a small Austin by his wife, Clement Attlee's last years were equally modest. Say what you like about old Labour's failure to fill the public purse, as least it had the good grace not to fill its own pockets."
Well, I'd take issue with Perry Worsthrone's assertion that old Labour failed to fill the public purse (it did), but the rest of his First Post article is spot on.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Old Tories like Worsthorne had far more concern for the poor than New Labour careerist money grabbers.

Martin Meenagh said...

It is interesting to think that Jeffrey Archer and Robert Maxwell were MPs, but were not able to stay so because of things that arose in their businesses (in Archer's case, bankruptcy). These days, people get appointed to the Cabinet or the House of Lords because of their wealth and business behaviour, like Shaun Woodward or Lord Sainsbury. Rich men bankroll all three parties too.
That said, one way to shut Tory backbenchers up used to be for the whips to settle their debts and put them onto city boards, and I can think of two names I wouldn't repeat, so it's not new. Haven't British politics always been about entitlement and cushy numbers except for the odd wartime and post-war moment? It's that period from 1906 to around 1979 that was different.
What is new is the complete lack of outrage about it--the political classes are spending more time tutting and asking for understanding than shutting down the money cancer.
Thanks for the post neil, sorry for the long comment, but you made me think--as ever! really nice videos this week, by the way

Karl Naylor said...

Interesting view from Peregrine Worsthorne who epitomises the Burkean tradition in the Tories and who valued 'One Nation' thinking and the notion of politics as public service and duty to the state.

The decline of this tradition and the state and politics into a corporate business model that serves the needs only of short term global capital investment decisions is something criticised by Old Tories .

It is no less than those on the left who lament the destruction of their communities and long term loyalties to institution that British democracy once depended upon. Roger Scruton wrote a very moving book on this in his England: An Elegy from the Old Tory perspective.

Many of the best and most insightful criticisms of New Labour have come from the Old Tories. Corelli Barnett comes to mind and his articles in the Daily Mail have been superb.

Has Neil Clarke read them ?

Neil Clark said...

Hi Karl,
Yes, I have read Barnett's Daily Mail pieces and they are consistently good. Both our major parties now represent global capital. Which is why the 'old' left has far more in common with old Tories like Worsthorne than they have with the 'new' left.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Karl,
Yes, I have read Barnett's Daily Mail pieces and they are consistently good. Both our major parties now represent global capital. Which is why the 'old' left has far more in common with old Tories like Worsthorne than they have with the 'new' left.