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Monday, February 16, 2009

Vote Conservative- and get David Freud and 'the best bits of Blairism'

I've argued for a while that we in Britain live, for all extents and purposes, in a one-party state. Evidence is the ease with which the elite can shift from one wing of the governing neoliberal, pro-capital party to the other.

On the Spectator's Coffee House blog on Saturday, Fraser Nelson informed readers:

The first serious Tory defection will be detailed in tomorrow's News of the World. David Freud, the architect of the Purnell welfare refrom that we've been admiring in Coffee House, is to become a Conservative peer and shadow welfare reform minister. So someone with genuine expertise will be in the DWP driving through a desperately-needed agenda. This is a real coup not just for David Cameron but George Osborne whom, I understand, has been working on Freud for months.

The most interesting thing of all was Fraser's reply to a reader in the comments section.

....Freud has defected party - insofar as he was a neutral adviser to Labour but will be advising the Tories. But there has been no ideological conversion - and nor should there be for Blairite voters who go Cameron at the next election. He will offer the best bits of Blairism, plus a whole lot more.
And as for the Blairites, their "choice" agenda for public services is the future for this country.

Fraser Nelson is of course right: for Freud there is no ideological conversion. How can there be when both Labour and the Conservatives espouse the same pro-capital, neoliberal ideology?

UPDATE: Some more info on the much sought after Mr David Freud (above).

In this revealing 2008 newspaper interview, were are told:

Mr Freud made a fortune working on some of the biggest and most controversial deals in the City in the 1980s and 1990s.
Banking at that time, he once said, was a "pioneering piratical industry where we made up the rules"

When asked in early 2008, whether he thought there would be a recession, Mr Freud replied "Yes, because we should have recessions every five or six years and we are due one".

One wonders if Mr Freud would think the same about the desirability of recessions if he were a factory worker and not a multi-millionaire member of Britain's ruling elite.


Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with a one party depends on whether that party provides good government. You can have a two party state, where neither provides good govt!\

Remember in Venezuela, when the two party system ignorned the bulk of the population. The collapse of that system allowed the rise of the Bolivarian revolution.


Charlie Marks said...

The best bits of Blairism? (Ah, leadership awards await you Mr Cameron.) He told the FT he's ready for a tough and unpopular rule - he's going for the leadership prize rather than the popularity contest, then.

Most people who hear it will think "welfare reform" means getting people into work - a ludicrous proposal for sick and disabled people at this moment in time, with hundreds of healthy and skilled workers being sacked every day.

As for Freud, his "genuine expertise", as Nelson calls it, is not in getting people into work but in making loadsamoney - that's why he was brought on-board in the first place, to prove (yet again, as if it were needed) that New Labour will look after the super-rich of the City.

Freud proved to be absolutely clueless - even after he'd drawn up his proposals he seemed unaware of the actual situation with regards benefit claimants. But he knew that loadsamoney could be made by private companies, which is what matters after all.

I hate seeing people out of work - but a jobless David Freud, I could stomach. Alas, he'll be another unpopular politician that the voters can't make redundant....

Anonymous said...

I would agree with you about the one party state. However it is certainly not an anti-socialist construct but a centralised bureaucratic one (closer to Brave New World than 1984 - the former being a better book as well) in which capitalism is largely limited to crony capitalism & the corporate state. Closer to Fascist Italy than anything though woth no real attempt to get the trains to run on time either.

Both, indeed all 3 parties agree on - more regulation of every aspect of life, preventing free speech, smoking bans, that we are currently suffering from catastrophic warming & need more regulation & taxes to stop it, the entire eco-fascist agenda, that the state should be about 50% of the economy, on supporting illegal wars, on practicing genocide, that in theory something should be done to keep the lights on but nothing effective, that nothing should ever be done for the first time (Sir Humphrey Appleby before the Precautionary Principle became gospel), continued state control of broadcasting, on billions in subsidies for windmills & that nobody in any party or broadcaster should be so impolite as to mention that even during the "boom" years our economy grew at half the world average rate & 1/3rd that of competently run free enterprise ones.

You can argue that not all of these are traditional socialism (even, perhaps particularly, when they are supported by the most extreme of today's self proclaimed socialists) but I don't think you can argue that they aren't much closer to big state socialism than free marketism.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading that article and he did say - "Yes, because we should have recessions every five or six years and we are due one".

But he also added - "What would be very skilful would be to have a mild, short one."

I think the word for that is "selective quoting".