The end of an era – a golden age

Compare the feeling of the nation today to that in 1997 when Labour first came to power – in 97 there was joy – a national outpouring of happiness that a cruel and damaging Tory regime of 18 years had been ousted – today the feeling is of fear – where will the cuts begin?  I think it is generally accepted that maybe it was time for some kind of a change – and Gordon Brown realised that – but the election results clearly show that the public did not want a Conservative Government – neither did they want the Lib Dems – yet that is what we now have.

My view is that the last Labour Government will only truly be appreciated after a period of Conservative rule – and it will be remembered as a government that did good things for this country – it wasn’t perfect but then no government is.  Under Blair’s leadership and Brown’s chancellorship this country prospered and returned once again to being a great international power.  We invested in both the physical and the social infrastructure of Britain – schools, hospitals, transport, housing – have all seen massive investment – the first public housing programme since the last time we had a Labour Government – more police, more doctors and nurses, more teachers, the minimum wage, tax credits, more equality laws, childcare payments, support for the elderly.  The Labour Government believed in investing in our whole society because we believe that everyone deserves fairness and every person should have an equal chance in life.

And on the economy – we made the right calls – nationalising the banks to prevent economic meltdown and massive job losses.  We’re out of recession now but you can bet your bottom dollar we’d still be in it if the Tories had been in (and with more unemployed).

The Tories have not changed and will never change – they opposed virtually all of Labour’s progressive legislation – they bang on about cutting taxes but you can’t have a healthy, educated forward thinking competitive nation if you don’t invest in it and the more you invest the more people have jobs so the more people are paying tax.

The Labour Party was established to give a voice for the working class who were oppressed by the old establishment of this country – the public school educated upper classes who believed they had a given right to govern – the sad thing is David Cameron and Nick Clegg come from exactly that ‘establishment’ background.

People may over the coming months come to realise the consequences of not supporting Labour – I hope so.  One thing’s clear to me though – neither Cameron nor Clegg have any more mandate to run this country than Labour – they might cobble together a coalition and run the country for a while but the decent thing would be to go back to the country and let the people have their say again within the next 12 months.

Author: Damian Talbot

Damian is the Chair of Blackburn Labour Party. He was elected as a councillor for Mill Hill ward in 2007 and also works in the offices of Jack Straw.

5 thoughts on “The end of an era – a golden age”

  1. It’ll be interesting to see who replaces Brown especially as the leader will probably be from the next generation. This will mean an almost total generational shift in leadership in Britain, with baby Boomers out and Generation Jones (the formerly “lost” generation between the Boomers and Xers) taking over in Parliament and party leadership (Cameron and Clegg also come from this generation). This has also been happening abroad and has promoted a lot of media interest, particularly in the U.S. Here’s an interesting piece from last week’s Independent about the significance this transition to Generation Jones:
    Also, I thought this was a pretty decent overview about GenJones in the UK:
    Finally for some light, post-election relief see this clip about Generation Jones on Jonathan Ross:

  2. Its interesting that you say the Tories have not changed. Neither have “New” Labour – they are still the party of tax and spend, spend, spend. Why else have they left the country with a massive deposit. What people fear now is the spending cuts necessary to repair the damage inflicted by Labour – cuts which even the Labour party say are necessary – they just didn’t say were the cuts would be made – just that they would “legistrate” to cut the deposit in half.

    As far unemployment Labour have left us with 10.5 million people that are not in work.

    Some legacy Damian!

  3. I agree with most of what you say Damian. There may be one small spanner in the works. The coalition might get legislation through that, effectively, blocks it from beinhg ousted within 12 months; I’m thinking of fixed-term parliaments and getting 55% of MPs to have a `no confidence’ motion before we get another election. As annoying as this is, we are going to have to have a strategy to have a place within Coalition, if not in this one then others to come- if Coalition governments are what people want. It is wrong to come second in an election and not have a voice in government, not just opposition.

  4. What hyperbole. The Conservative Government of 1979-1997 was not “cruel” and “damaging”. It resuced Britain from financial ruin in 1979 (umm similar to today perhaps). If it was so damaging could Jack Straw say why it was elected FOUR times and with a higher % of the vote EACH time than Labour received in 2005? Let’s not re-write history.

    Also it was an administration, not a regime. I thought the term “regime” was reserved for unelected Governments like Zimbabwe (or maybe even Gordon Brown who was an unelected leader of the Labour party and an unelected Prime Minister).

  5. John – the 55% issue has been misrepresnted. If the new National Coalition Government loses a vote of confience by 1 vote (ie as before) then a new election is called. All the rule does is stop Cameron from calling a new election when he likes – the Lib Dems have to agree.

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