Plan of Page
- The Labour Government’s Record 1997-2010
- First Goldsmith Memorial Lecture: “Spinning out of Control”
- Fears and Fantasies
Since it is election year, this article takes a broad look at the state of our country and at the Government’s performance over the past thirteen years, rather than focussing on specific issues, which will be our normal approach. The principle conclusions of our analysis (set out in more detail below) are as follows:
- Britain is a less democratic country than in 1997.
- Labour’s economic mismanagement has raised Britain’s public debt to levels unparalleled since World War Two, with high inflation and/or steep falls in living standards and impoverishment in prospect.
- Labour’s rigid insistence on bureaucracy, targets and centralized control has corrupted professionalism in the main public services – health, education, social services and the police – to the detriment of their ability to meet the needs of the public.
- Labour’s ideological enforcement of ‘equality’ at all levels of education, particularly through dumbing down, is increasingly preventing pupils from attaining skills essential to Britain’s needs.
- Labour’s neglect of the prisons has resulted in the early release of dangerous criminals into the Community, whilst its introduction of many petty or politically correct regulations has resulted in the ‘criminalisation’ of ordinary people for ‘offences’ which did not exist before 1997.
- Labour’s energy policies have been negligent and indecisive, creating a real possibility that the lights will go out around 2017.
- Labour has placed the onus of Britain’s response to climate change on individual households without taking action within government’s own sphere of responsibility or cutting its own favoured polluting projects.
- Britain is becoming the most densely populated country in Europe as a result of Labour’s open door policy on immigration and asylum. This is unsustainable in terms of housing, congestion and strains on public services and will result in breakdowns of community cohesion.
- British foreign policy has been moralistic and belligerent. The armed forces have been denied the equipment needed to fight Labour’s wars, resulting in unnecessary casualties.
So this is our Britain, close to bankruptcy and in social and moral decline through economic mismanagement, war, bureaucracy and political correctness. It beggars belief that a party with such a record in Government is not facing extinction at the polls. Labour spokesmen will paint a very different picture but we should be sceptical. Their current campaign is masterminded by Blair’s arch-spinmasters, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell, as well as Brown’s own press thug, Charlie Whelan, who have perfected the practice of smear and news manipulation. Through their art, we saw Brown portrayed earlier this year as the international statesman and more recently as a sensitive soft-hearted human being. There is no doubt more to come. Are we really going to let them fool us yet again?
In 1997, Labour inherited a sound economy. Their first moves were to impose an exceptional levy on pension funds and to sell a substantial proportion of Britain’s gold reserves. The result was the virtual disappearance of occupational pensions, creating a perpetual pensions crisis, and a massive loss to the reserves as the gold price quadrupled over the ensuing twelve years. During the ensuing ten years to 2007, years of global economic growth fuelled by Far Eastern industrialisation, Brown, as Chancellor, boasted that boom and bust had been abolished, raised public spending astronomically, and created an economy based on massive public and private debt. The ‘bust’ when it finally occurred was global and responsibility for it cannot be laid solely at the British Government’s door. However, Labour’s reckless spending policies during the good years meant that we were amongst the least prepared countries when the crash came. The government deserves credit for its policy of ‘quantitative easing’, which has temporarily shielded the public from the harshest effects of recession, but how long can this policy last? ‘Quantitative easing’ is nothing more than printing money, a policy pursued, inter alia, by Mugabe’s Government in Zimbabwe. Sterling has fallen by 25%. Meanwhile, we have a public debt of £840 billion growing to £1.4 trillion by the end of the 2014/15 financial year, greater proportionately to GDP than our foreign debt at the end of World War II and which we only finally finished repaying a few years ago. Sooner or later, runaway inflation or a massive fall in living standards has to be the result.