Saturday, 31 October 2009

New Labour Threatens European Social Democracy

All the headlines are about the 'presidency' of the European Union, (although in truth the post is head of the about-to-be-formalised administration of the Council of Ministers, which up to Lisbon has been an ad hoc grouping borrowing administrative support from the Union's bureaucracy).

It is the plight of social democracy and the social democratic parties that should be under discussion.

Social democracy covers a multitude of political stances, and a multitude of political sins. Its protagonists and supporters are drawn from a tradition of moderation that argues for the provision of a welfare state, some redistribution of wealth, and the settlement of disputes by negotiation; social democrats see themselves as the moderate, commonsense fairness, decent people. The proof of this is in their commitment to a decent living standard and education, to freedom from gross want and access to steady employment for members of society.

Unfortunately some of those goals are concomitant with much uglier political ideologies - communism and socialism that carry as a political imperative, ideals of the installation of a permanent authoritarian state; and they are concomitant, too, with much more liberal thinking - market regulated capitalism, unfettered individual freedoms, and the small state meeting minimal social peace, plus conservation of the State, goals.

Social democratic parties have been damaged dreadfully by both becoming masking movements for socialist and communist movements fiercely rejected by every society where the chance to get rid of them has been created and seized; while, at the same time, democratic societies have observed that centre right parties offer many of the social policies and ameliorations of unbridled capitalist practice, originally associated with social democracy but long harnessed under one nation conservatism, without the risk of the wolves in sheep's clothing that entered and are still sidling into social democratic parties.

The British Labour party has been the cause of some of the greatest damage to the social democratic movement in advanced capitalist democracies. New Labour has been one of the greatest recruiting sergeants for centre right one nation conservatism. Elected to both increase and to speed up delivery of social wellbeing post the deindustrialisation crisis in the United Kingdom, it used its social democratic mandate to instal a familiar 'democratic centralism' within the Party, and to deny the constitutional usages that informally but historically provided the checks and balances on Executive use of power in our country. As the New Labour government steadily and increasingly identified itself with the permanent State, surveillance of our unfortunate population was installed at Korean levels to proscribe individual and long-entrenched liberties of self assertion, protest, inconformity and self-determination. Ironic comparisons with the realised socialism of the German Democratic Republic, Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and the Baltic states turned to horrified understanding. New Labour is not social democratic but sociofascist. Its aims are post democratic permanent administrative governance.

The bombastic, punch above our weight, vulgarity of New Labour's authoritarian sociofascism has been prevented in other countries by constitutional embedded rules and practices both within social democratic parties and in national constitutions. But the propaganda effect of our disgrace of a government, this travesty of social democracy seeking to infect the European Union with its horrifyingly recognisable reincarnation of so many countries' recent and more recent political history, has led to a massive draining of support for any social democratic party, and its supporting movement, across the Continent.

If social democracy is to survive and prosper again in Europe the European social democratic movement and its leadership needs to cut off New Labour at the knees.


polaris said...

Brilliant piece, and a precise analysis of New Labour - a failed experiment that should be put out of its (and our) misery.

Can we trust the real Social Democrats in Europe to see them for what they are, and why have they not before now?

New Labour would be more correctly compared to the more extreme right wing or perhaps Communist parties in Europe.

hatfield girl said...

It's difficult to compress extensive argument into a short post - and even so the posts are too long, P. So you are kind to have read it carefully.

European social democrats are frothing at the mouth about New Labour and its 'leaders'. New Labour has produced scorched earth in our country and they are wrecking social democracy elsewhere by contagion.

Scrobs... said...

"cut off New Labour at the knees. " - or preferably the neck.

This is a chilling piece Hats, and one which deserves a much bigger audince than that from the Scrobs' household...

polaris said...

Re: Reading your post - the pleasure was mine.

I hope you are correct HG, and that we will see a robust rejection of the New Labour apparatchiks by our electorate and Europe as a whole (Blair and his ambitions in particular). Mind you I am concerned at our alternatives - and of course in my neck of the woods, Scotland, we have the Sword of Damocles of the SNP and Independence hanging over us.

What of the future? I don't know if the UK will see true Social Democracy for a long time, and it may not be the same country when we find our way again - a sad prospect.

Elby the Beserk said...

It is indeed grotesque, HG; and Brown himself the ultimate grotesque. He is now starting to remind me of Viv Nicholson, but without the roots.

Sackerson said...

Anybody listen to Any Questions? this week - especially that slippery blusterer Clarke? There is no credible major opposition to the EU / NL project.