Some thoughts on New Labour

Steven Northwood

I don’t know how many people would agree with the statement “at one time I was a Socialist” but I imagine it would be plenty. Over the course of my life I have had, like many people, cause to consider things politically. Since becoming aware of political positions and ideas, I had, until a few years ago, considered myself a Socialist. I came from a Labour-supporting background, and although there has been much admiration for Margaret Thatcher amongst those I grew up with, my area of Nottingham was a safe Labour seat.


Nowadays, the consideration of politics, and by connection economics, is a metaphorical itch that I constantly feel the need to scratch. I’ve said to my friends with whom I discuss political issues that I would perhaps prefer it if I were in blissful ignorance of much of the world’s problems. I suppose amongst any group of people there is created those who take an interest in these things. Well, given a little thought, it is vital I suppose.


At 26 years of age, the Labour government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is all I’ve had the opportunity to consider. Because of this, I hope the Conservatives are successful at the next general election. I think they will be, because I don’t think Labour have the self-consciousness and ability to make the changes needed to win. What’s more, I sense a return to what are called the Old Labour policies of the past.


I do not consider myself to be a Socialist anymore however. I do believe that there is strength in numbers, and that a group of people can be more than their sum total when they work together. I think that it is probably representative of the opinions of most people that the sick and unfortunate should have a safety net to ensure their survival. And moreover I don’t think a Libertarian should be against these things existing in some form. The real problem, by my reckoning, is who pays for it, by what method and on which terms.


The modern situation of the British Parliament could be said to be two benches, one Red, the other Blue, facing each other. Neither side will wholly concede to the other’s views or aims. The Red side advocates a political system where there is no individual or group distinction, everybody has an obligation to each other and everybody is taxed and regulated. The Blue side advocates a political system where there is individual or group distinction according to the tastes and ability of the individual or group, respect for tradition, economic freedom and everybody is taxed and regulated less. These are my own observations, and others may see things differently.


But first and foremost, the real idea of the British governmental system ought to be protection of the rights of every British citizen, and the administration of the interests of the British citizen. All too often these aims are not fulfilled due to the party politics of the incumbent party, and New Labour have demonstrated this consistently over the last decade. I want to be bold and consider the sensitive issue of the immigration and asylum system. This is an area many people are concerned about, and so it is worthy of some reflection. My opinion is, if the Socialists want to offer refuge to people from abroad, that’s fine. They can set up a charity along the lines of the Red Cross or Salvation Army, regulated by the Home Office and the Law, and they can find the money from like-minded people who apparently exist in abundance, to offer immigrants and asylum seekers accommodation and maintenance.


Among the Ruling Class there’s a lot of witch-hunting and among the Electorate a lot of reactionary sentiment under the surface regarding this issue, but in fact it pays to take a objective view of it. It makes no difference to me if right now there is somebody one-quarter of a mile away, washing his cooking utensils, who is an Iranian asylum seeker. By living in this country he is doing no harm to me. What’s more, I respect his right to live here just as much, for example, as I hope the Spanish government would respect my right to retire to Spain in years to come. But he is not a British citizen, so he should either provide for himself, or receive charity from some other individual or a charitable organisation such as I have mentioned. There is no real basis on which to argue that he has a right to the benefits of British citizenship.


If there is, then I should say that some old gentleman living in the high-rise flats near Sheffield train station, whose windows keep being broken by teenage gangs, has the right to sell all his belongings for the money to buy a train ticket to a sunny and beautiful region of the south of France, and that when he arrives there the French Government has a duty to give him a home and pension. I’m sure nobody living in those flats would dream of such effrontery. Yet logically it is much the same example.


If I were a Socialist, and if I were to give such an example to a Socialist, I could imagine the expression on their face. They have no real answer to such a truth. And the sad fact is, despite the fact that there are many hardworking and long-suffering people in the UK, they choose to ignore such arguments and hammer down any descent with the assumption that it is politically incorrect. But this is where the cards are switched, because the example isn’t politically incorrect.  In fact, it is very politically correct. It is just a fact that the Ruling Class has spun for itself the ability to label anything it doesn’t like, or think up itself, as politically ‘incorrect’.


And this is my worry regarding party politics, and the main reason for my belief in Libertarianism. I am a Libertarian first and foremost, because I have come to the conclusion that Libertarianism is the only politic which is safe and respectul to the individual human condition. Any other ideas run the risk of corruption, such as the cases of the Red and Blue parties. If the time ever comes that attacks on the liberty and integrity of people by the political system and government are viewed and dealt with on the same basis and with the same rigour as bank fraud and counterfeiting, then I am sure that much of society’s problems will be solved.


I will finish here. I would appreciate any feedback, I am trying to develop axioms and create dialogue regarding the political correctness issue in particular.

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