23 February 2009

Remember Bryan Gould?

The ex-Labour Shadow Cabinet member Bryan Gould has a piece in The Guardian.  I always thought he was an effective communicator.  What he has to say about his disenchantment with Labour will not make headlines but they are important never the less.  These bits stand out:

The first – and for that reason perhaps most unexpected – contravention of civilised norms was the Iraq war. The damning judgment of that doomed enterprise has been repeatedly rehearsed, but to read the charge sheet again is still a shocking experience. A British prime minister, claiming the right to moral leadership and an almost religious duty to confront evil, sucked up to a soon-to-be discredited US president and helped to launch an invasion of a distant country – an invasion based upon a lie, and one that flew in the face of international law, undermined the United Nations, alienated the whole of the Muslim world, seemed to validate the claims of terrorists and those who recruited them, destroyed the country that was invaded and killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens, took many young soldiers to their unnecessary deaths, and rightly reduced Britain's standing in the world.


It was, after all, that government which enthusiastically endorsed the virtues of the "free" market, which turned its back on the need for regulation, which celebrated the excesses of the City, which proclaimed that it was "intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich". The government that should have protected the interests of ordinary people was dazzled by the super-rich; unsuspecting Labour supporters found themselves thrown on the tender mercies of a marketplace that was cleared of any limits that might have restricted the rich and powerful. There have been no more enthusiastic cheerleaders for the culture of greed and excess than New Labour ministers.

It was Gordon Brown who removed the major economic decisions from democratic control and handed them over to unaccountable bankers.


But even that failure pales by comparison with the latest revelations about the abandonment by New Labour of any pretence to civilised standards. We now know that this government connived with the Bush administration to hold people illegally, to kidnap them in secret, and to torture them while in custody – all in the name of a war against the forces of darkness. The perpetrators of these outrages seem to believe that they can be washed clean by simply declaring their superior morality.

Whatever his motives (I suspect none), there is not much that any traditional Labour supporter could disagree with.

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