Gordon Brown: ‘Without a vision…
And lo, when the people heard, many of them they might have preferred to have perished. Indeed, Labour MP John McDonnell said: ‘This Queen's speech has failed to lift morale among Labour supporters because it isn't providing any clear direction at a time when people are increasingly losing confidence in our ability to deliver the policies in public services they require’.
Gordon Brown promised not only more of the same, but more of the same from a decade ago; from the era of Old Labour. And so we have promises of top-down state control; enforced education up to the age of 18; one size fits all bureaucracies; interference in people’s personal lives; further restrictions on civil liberties; patronising edicts; increased taxes; and more constitutional vandalism (not least through the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, which rather renders all future elections something of a charade in any case).
His vision, if it may be called such, is to purloin Conservative ideas and pretend they were his intentions all along – reduction of inheritance tax, aviation duty reform, an immigration points system, a border police force, tax breaks for married couples (mooted), charges on ‘non-doms’ (Cranmer could go on, but readers and communicants get the point).
This is not a vision at all. And waiting for one from Mr Brown will prove about as fulfilling as waiting for Godot. There was no grand narrative and nothing new, simply because the Prime Minister is incapable of renewal. And Cranmer was particularly irritated by the promise to protect people’s ‘essential’ rights and liberties. It reminded him of Ted Heath’s assertion that the membership of the EEC would involve no erosion of ‘essential’ national sovereignty. Since it is the Prime Minister who now decides what is essential and what is not, the promise is meaningless.
Of course the ‘vision’ was greeted with derision on the Conservative benches, but what was the verdict of the disciples of Mr Blair? What thinks Peter Mandelson of Mr Brown’s ‘vision’? Stephen Byers? John Reid? Lord Falconer? Alan Milburn? They are silent; waiting behind the arras, biting their tongues, clenching their teeth, waiting for… waiting…
No, there is indeed nothing new under the sun, and the New Labour wheel has now come full circle. And this is quite excellent news. Two more years of this, and Prime Minister Cameron becomes a certainty. DV.