Oh dear, Polly

Polly Toynbee is pretty desperate. Aren’t we all? We’ve been here before: Gordon’s got to go but who is to take over? Today, according to Polly, it has to be the charming, modest Alan Johnson, an orphan boy made good.
As Polly says it’s not possible to see who a good leader is until too late. She used to champion Blair – until it was too late. I remember speaking to here at a conference in London when major, major changes were announced to shake up the NHS. No more “Berlin walls” between the NHS and local authority Social Services. I made some mild criticism of what was going on which was met with a dismissive derisory response.
Polly’s late sister, Jo, and her partner Bill were members of the Labour Party then in Birmingham. In roads into the functioning of branches and limits on what members could do were already advanced. Jo was one of the leaders of the fight back. Polly talks about members of the party taking a stance. Well how can they? Many who had integrity and had put in years of toil and struggle for a belief in Labour values are now long gone, and those left – often products of efforts of paid officials – are the jumping beans who at the command “jump” merely say “how high”. Tory sleaze, New Labour sleaze, extreme greed, there it is before us.
It is shocking how Brown has presided over this. He was one of the architects of New Labour, but we came to think there were some differences with Blair. Not with Johnson though. A trades unionist who opposed clause 4. How far Brown is a prisoner of the right I’m unsure. When Mandelson came back into the frame he had already had the blessing of the Rev Blair and when he announced that he “was joined at the hip with Gordo” I thought “yes, with a knife held to his back”. TB is very and ever present having even got to the White House first as Obama’s honoured guest.
As ever the socialist parties contesting in forthcoming elections are portrayed as “extremist”, while what they want to see is a fairer society where those like Madoff and the like are well under control. All the existing parties have supported the extreme greed which is part and parcel of capitalism and they all advocate putting the fox into the hen house as a remedy. It didn’t work after 1929 and it won’t now. It will just recycle to old order.

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