A few hours from now the voters in the Glasgow East constituency will have delivered their, hopefully baleful, verdict on eleven years of New Labour; to paraphrase Neil Kinnock, you have the grotesque chaos of a Labour government, a Labour government, allowing areas like Easterhouse to remain in squalor while turning a blind eye to corruption from the retiring MP.
It's in this context that Roy Hattersley today helpfully reminded us of the origins of the New Labour "project" & the mess it's now in (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/24/labour.gordonbrown ).
Heading his article with the pathetic cry, "Don't give up -- Labour can still win in 2010", Hattersley tries to explain why he thinks Labour is in a hole. However, the man who was a loyal deputy to Kinnock doesn't appear to appreciate the contradictions in his own argument. One such glaring inconsistency is this gem: "At a time when low-paid council and health service workers are expected -- regrettably but neccesarily, in my view -- to accept below-inflation wage increases, John Hutton [Labour's minister for Business] enthuses about the multiplication of millionaires within the British economy. Labour has to decide whose side it is on.."
Roy, I think we all know whose side Labour has decided to take, don't you?
[By the way, Hattersley is reputed to earn in excess of £100,000 per year for articles commisioned by the national press.]
However, lest anyone, ahem, labour under the impression that Hattersley is calling for an identifiably left-wing Labour government to suddenly emerge from the forlorn husk of New Labour, he shows his true colours further on in his piece:
"That is not to call for the return to class-based politics or the policies of 1983 -- which, unlike so many converts to 'moderation', I opposed in 1983. It is an appeal for Labour once more to represent the higher instincts of the British people rather than assume the only question they ask on polling day is 'What's in it for me?' "
Hattersley is advocating a Dickensian liberal position, one which deprecates inequality, yet excoriates those workers who attempt to do something about it. As for the voters of Glasgow East, they have every right to ask the Hattersleys of this world, "What's in it for me?"