You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Tony Blair’ tag.

Ed Milliband MP speaking at the Labour Party c...

Ed Milliband MP speaking at the Labour Party conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning, Ed Miliband gave a speech at Google’s Big Tent event. Here’s a transcript of part of it.

I’d like to start by showing you four pictures and asking you to decide which is the odd one out, because it’s reveals the theme of my talk: what kind of future we want to build.

The first is my dad. His name was Ralph Miliband. He was a Marxist Professor.

The second is Willy Wonka, the genius who owns the factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and eventually gives it all away to Charlie’s family.

The third is Margaret Hodge, Labour chair of the Public Accounts Committee, who, as you know, has been very critical of Google in the last few days.

And the fourth is Google, along with your founding slogan: “Don’t be evil”.

So, as they say on “Have I Got News from You?”, I’d like people to tell me who is the odd one out.

Well, I’ll tell you my answer.

My answer is that it is my dad.

Because he’s the only one who thought that the route to a fair society was not through capitalism but through socialism based on public ownership.

It wasn’t just my dad who thought it, of course.

Until 1995 this view was enshrined on the membership card of the party I now lead.

Tony Blair got rid of it and rightly so, because nationalising the major industries is not the route to a fair society.

That’s right. It’s the Labour Party’s position now that fictional chocolate factory-owner offers a better model for society than Clause 4. So, let’s look at exactly what kind of model for capitalism, Mr Wonka provides.

WORKFORCE: Taking advantage of a large population of displaced peoples with limited language skills (Wonka boasts that this makes them immune to attempts at industrial sabotage), Wonka has no native workers in his factory at all. By employing physically-handicapped immigrants, who appear to be in a situation close to indentured servitude he further depresses wages in Britain and exploits a community he seems unwilling to help repatriate.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: Wonka has a woeful safety record. On a recent visit of 5 children to his factory, 4 ended up dead or severely shrunk from their short time in the factory. As an additional point, the correct way to move a girl who has been turned into a giant bluberry is not to roll her, but to lift from the knees.

COMMUNITY: Far from being a responsible employer, whose outreach ensures that the whole community benefits from the presence of a factory, Wonka shuts himself away, letting no one into or out of the factory. Indeed, he occupies a prime slice of local real estate that could be better used for social projects, as there seems to be no rational reason why he maintains this location in the city centre.

ENVIRONMENT: We can only assume that the chocolate river has been formed by the melting of the chocolate ice-caps, and his factory’s continual belching of purple smoke suggests that Wonka’s environmental record may be less than stellar.

ANTI-COMPETITIVE: The Everlasting Gobstopper is clearly a way to lock people into one gobstopper format for the rest of their lives, and to reduce the market share for all other competitors. Much like Amazon, it is using loss leaders to get people to use Wonka products, force competitors out of the market, before – presumably – raising prices when they are the only player left.

That’s the model Ed Miliband thinks we should be following in the 21st century. Anti-competitive, highly secretive, exploitative of both resources and people, giving nothing to the community.

Just as long as we know where he stands.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 - David Cameron, Le...

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Mr & Mrs Cameron,

Why did you never take the time to teach your child basic morality?

As a young man, he was in a gang that regularly smashed up private property. We know that you were absent parents who left your child to be brought up by a school rather than taking responsibility for his behaviour yourselves. The fact that he became a delinquent with no sense of respect for the property of others can only reflect that fact that you are terrible, lazy human beings who failed even in teaching your children the difference between right and wrong. I can only assume that his contempt for the small business owners of Oxford is indicative of his wider values.

Even worse, your neglect led him to fall in with a bad crowd. He became best friends with a young man who set fire to buildings for fun. And others:

There’s Michael Gove, whose wet-lipped rage was palpable on Newsnight last night. This is the Michael Gove who confused one of his houses with another of his houses in order to avail himself of £7,000 of the taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled (or £13,000, depending on which house you think was which).

Or Hazel Blears, who was interviewed in full bristling peahen mode for almost all of last night. She once forgot which house she lived in, and benefited to the tune of £18,000. At the time she said it would take her reputation years to recover. Unfortunately not.

But, of course, this is different. This is just understandable confusion over the rules of how many houses you are meant to have as an MP. This doesn’t show the naked greed of people stealing plasma tellies.

Unless you’re Gerald Kaufman, who broke parliamentary rules to get £8,000 worth of 40-inch, flat screen, Bang and Olufsen TV out of the taxpayer.

Or Ed Vaizey, who got £2,000 in antique furniture ‘delivered to the wrong address’. Which is fortunate, because had that been the address they were intended for, that would have been fraud.

Or Jeremy Hunt, who broke the rules to the tune of almost £20,000 on one property and £2,000 on another. But it’s all right, because he agreed to pay half of the money back. Not the full amount, it would be absurd to expect him to pay back the entire sum that he took and to which he was not entitled. No, we’ll settle for half. And, as in any other field, what might have been considered embezzlement of £22,000 is overlooked. We know, after all, that David Cameron likes to give people second chances.

Fortunately, we have the Met Police to look after us. We’ll ignore the fact that two of its senior officers have had to resign in the last six weeks amid suspicions of widespread corruption within the force.

We’ll ignore Andy Hayman, who went for champagne dinners with those he was meant to be investigating, and then joined the company on leaving the Met.

Of course, Mr and Mrs Cameron, your son is right. There are parts of society that are not just broken, they are sick. Riddled with disease from top to bottom.

Just let me be clear about this (It’s a good phrase, Mr and Mrs Cameron, and one I looted from every sentence your son utters, just as he looted it from Tony Blair), I am not justifying or minimising in any way what has been done by the looters over the last few nights. What I am doing, however, is expressing shock and dismay that your son and his friends feel themselves in any way to be guardians of morality in this country.

Can they really, as 650 people who have shown themselves to be venal pygmies, moral dwarves at every opportunity over the last 20 years, bleat at others about ‘criminality’. Those who decided that when they broke the rules (the rules they themselves set) they, on the whole wouldn’t face the consequences of their actions?

Are they really surprised that this country’s culture is swamped in greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer goods of the most base kind? Really?

Let’s have a think back: cash-for-questions; Bernie Ecclestone; cash-for-access; Mandelson’s mortgage; the Hinduja passports; Blunkett’s alleged insider trading (and, by the way, when someone has had to resign in disgrace twice can we stop having them on television as a commentator, please?); the meetings on the yachts of oligarchs; the drafting of the Digital Economy Act with Lucian Grange; Byers’, Hewitt’s & Hoon’s desperation to prostitute themselves and their positions; the fact that Andrew Lansley (in charge of NHS reforms) has a wife who gives lobbying advice to the very companies hoping to benefit from the NHS reforms. And that list didn’t even take me very long to think of.

Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.

Oh yes, and then there’s the expenses thing. Widescale abuse of the very systems they designed, almost all of them grasping what they could while they remained MPs, to build their nest egg for the future at the public’s expense. They even now whine on Twitter about having their expenses claims for getting back to Parliament while much of the country is on fire subject to any examination. True public servants.

The last few days have revealed some truths, and some heartening truths. The fact that the #riotcleanup crews had organised themselves before David Cameron even made time for a public statement is heartening. The fact that local communities came together to keep their neighbourhoods safe when the police failed is heartening. The fact that there were peace vigils being organised (even as the police tried to dissuade people) is heartening.

There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it. The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter.

David Cameron was entirely right when he said: “It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to think that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities, and that their actions do not have consequences.”

He was more right than he knew.

And I blame the parents.

*** EDIT – I have added a hyperlink to a Bullingdon article after a request for context from an American reader. I have also added the sentence about Nick Clegg as this was brought to my attention in the comments and it fits in too nicely to leave out. That’s the way I edited it at 18:38 on the 11th August, 2011 ***

***EDIT 2 - I’ve split the comments into pages as, although there were some great discussions going on in them, there were more than 500 and the page was taking *forever* to load for some people, and not loading at all for others. I would encourage everyone to have a poke around in the comments, as many questions and points have been covered, and there are some great comments. Apologies if it looks like your comment has disappeared.  ***

Subscribe with RSS

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,349 other followers

Twitter Feed

  • In the #UKIP PPB where the man complains about immigrants taking all his building jobs, he sounds suspiciously like an immigrant... 4 hours ago
  • "Henry's ethereal grasp on reality would go on to last an entire year." Wow. Where to start with that sentence? And it's not the worst. 1 day ago
  • Reading All About History. Some truly execrable prose, and worse history. 1 day ago
  • 8 Signs That You Might Be Passive-Aggressive wp.me/pOSWr-mA 1 day ago
  • One more corporate anthem for you. I think we can all agree that Ugandan ones have something special about them: youtube.com/watch?v=M4i_gR… 1 day ago
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,349 other followers