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Friday, 29 September 2017

Cheap and Nasty Government; But Would Labour Be Any Better?

The present government constantly provides ministers and 'spokespersons' who will defend any policy and any situation. Thus, in the past 24 hours, a survey has shown that the majority of NHS nurses go home from their shift, not only physically exhausted but emotionally drained as well. They report not being able to be present when people die, completely alone. They are anxious and embarrassed that medication is not given on time; and is sometimes missed altogether due to the pressure of work. Some clown in the Health Department did not deny that the report was true, but made the irrelevant comment that there were 7,000 more doctors in the hospitals that there had been seven years ago.

Soldiers reported that the vehicles that were designed to protect them from roadside bombs and similar hazards often break down in the hot weather conditions for which they were supposedly designed, at a huge cost. The Defence Department flatly denied this report, asserting that the vehicles were effective in keeping the troops safe: maybe so, if the failure of the vehicles keeps the soldiers in their bases. Old naval hands despair at the lack of resources to keep the massively reduced fleet operational and seaworthy and fit for action. The two new aircraft carriers have no aircraft. There are plans to reduce the number of Royal Marines beneath the present level where they cannot cover all the actions to which politicians commit them. Mrs May flies off to Estonia to declare that Britain will defend all its NATO allies: with words and sharp cuts?

More than seventy Tory MPs have signed a demand to the Prime Minister to implement her election promise to impose a cap on energy bills for millions of households: it would only affect a minority of families, but would cover many of the most vulnerable. A smaller number of Tory MPs are also agitating for delay in the implementation of the government's penny-pinching scheme to accelerate the roll-out of the single state benefit. This would save money; particularly in that as people are migrated from the complex of former benefits onto the new system there is a six-week delay before they get any money from it. This the government's outward cash-flow is deferred; while individuals and households are plunged into desperate want, forced to apply to food banks and doorstep lenders.

The sheer insensitivity of all of this calls into mind the cynicism of the worst Victorian workhouse masters and the cynical Stalinist Commissar. Both of those classes of individual - like the civil service in austerity Britain - have had drummed into them that no more resources will be made available; so they simply deny truths that are on open display.

It is the record of socialist governments, whether Marxist or not, to assert their own propaganda more often and more fervently when the truth does not accord with the official line. This is happening more intensively [and more absurdly] by the day in Venezuela at the present time. Jeremy Corbyn's  enthusiasm for the Maduro regime consequently becomes more indefensible by the day: but the Labour leader evades every opportunity to admit the lack of substance in the regime's claims and assertions; or to recognise the increasing level of oppression. Those who wore 'HANDS OFF VENEZUELA' T-shirts and baseball caps in and around the Labour Party Conference earlier this week seemed to me to be anticipating their future role as deniers on the domestic scene when the Labour Government that they expect to take office soon fails actually and humanely to implement their proposed policies. While Corbyn can still claim to be a 'seventies idealist, the people who have built his machine are ruthless advocates of extreme measures to rob the rich and to coerce the rest of the population. Nasser, Ghadfi, Ken Livingstone and a score of other 'strong men' shoved aside the much gentler figures who originally fronted their coups or electoral victories. It is well authenticated that while Mrs Attlee was driving her husband to Buckingham Palace to take the King's commission to form a government, Professor Laski, Herbert Morrison and others were plotting to hold a leadership election in the Labour Party that would choose a far different candidate than the election-winner Attlee.

There is a real and proximate danger that a Labour election victory, especially if the party won by a small majority, would quickly be followed by the overt capture of the government by a radical faction who would move quickly to consolidate their power undemocratically for a long period of authoritarian rule. As the saying in revolutionary circles goes: rely on one man one vote, once! Hence, although the Labour offering in the past week has been largely composed of highly desirable policies, and the austere Tories show that they cannot mind the shop while they flounder towards a Brexit disaster, the risks in having either party in power are immense.

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