British Politics Special: Gordon Brown and the gathering night

Dylan Moran has a beautiful little skit (above) in his stand up show ‘Monster’. It deals with potential, the idea being that if you imagine yourself to be good at something then you should never, ever attempt it, lest you be revealed as the fail you are. Ladyboy Jesus knows this only too well, look what happened when I gave in to my messianic urges…

Something similar is happening to Gordon Brown. Lurid photos of his quick bitten nails are plastered across the broadsheets as evidence of frayed nerves and mental frailty. Minister after minister flee the government like rats leaving a sinking ship.

So what’s happened, why and what would Jesus do?

Gordon Brown became Prime Minister after ten years as Chancellor of the Exchequer. For many observers of British politics this was seen as an opportunity for Labour to break away from the faux “managerial” style of Tony Blair and to re-engage with the progressive values that once were a cornerstone of the party. The way some commentators talked, Brown’s arrival at No 10 heralded the second coming of Clement Attlee. The problem with this analysis, of course, was that it ignored the simple fact that for many years of his chancellorship Brown had been acting as the de facto domestic Prime Minister, letting Blair get on with his costly foreign adventures. Many are now arguing that Brown should not be judged merely on his two years as Prime Minister, but on his whole twelve years since Labour came to power.

So let’s do it. Under Brown, the poor have gotten poorer, the rich have not only gotten richer but have arse raped the economy, pissed onto its crying face, then collected their elephantine pensions. At the same time, Britain has become a police state, with plod given almost mythic powers, the end of trial by jury and the removal of the right to remain silent. In some cases, innocence is no longer assumed but must be proven. There are now more surveillance cameras in the UK than anywhere else in the world. Public private finance initiatives have led to a drop in services, schools run for profit and Burger King franchines in hospitals. Not to mention the war(s), which of course is considered bad form…*

Brown’s major successes have been to give control over interest rates over to the Bank of England, and his response to the banking crisis last year. It’s a model that has been followed world wide and been credited with saving the financial system.

So what, after twelve years of Brown, has changed? Why are the backbenchers revolting now? Well, there’s the expense scandal, which could not have hit at a worse time. Britain, along with the rest of the world, is in recession. And most importantly, many now believe that they will not be re-elected with Brown in charge. This is very much a case of MPs desperately hoping that they avoid the fate of so many- unemployment. I can’t say that I’d be sorry to see the back of many of them. They are, by and large, deeply compromised cronies, whipped so firmly that it takes the direst warnings and omens to stir them to anything resembling free thought. And when they do think for themselves? They think of their own skin.

This is a great bit of yahhbooo! politics.

And yet… This is not good for the country. The Lib Dems share of the vote declined in both the county council and the European elections. Clearly their choice of a character vacuum as a leader has back fired. And if the voters don’t choose the Liberal Democrats, whom many dismiss out of hand as no-hopers, then the bastards will vote for the Conservatives. The current economic crisis has created an international consensus for progressive politics. This is neatly symbolised by the election of the increasingly disappointing Barack Obama. And yet in Britain, this opportunity for building a more equitable society falls in the lap of the Conservatives, a political party dedicated to the market, to business. The market which has so eloquently failed and business which has so nearly brought the world to its knees. This is a shame of the grandest order, a neatly ironic twist.

The greater irony is perhaps that it was Labour, a party who sacrificed much of its socialist heritage to take on the clothing, terminology and methodology of business, which has been brought low by mismanagement and bad business.

None the less, Jesus believes that a renewed Labour party would be the best hope for a brighter tomorrow. Renewed? Here’s the Marshmallow Ladyboy Jesus’s guide to election victory for Labour (if not an actual victory, then at least an attempt at damage control for when the Tories arrive).

1) Order a full, independent enquiry into MP’s expenses. The police should be involved. It should report within one month. Criminal charges should be brought, all those found to have misused the system to be barred from standing again.

2) MP’s salaries and expenses to be overhauled. A simple one off payment for the job down is sufficient.

3) Drop a number of expensive and stupid policies- ID Cards, Trident and the privatisation of the Post Office. They aren’t necessary, nor are they desirable.

4) Set up a government bank. Make it the most boring bank in the world. Give people the option of doing the safe thing; don’t leave them solely at the mercy of the high street banks and their short term-ism.

5) Write a constitution. Entrench a bill of rights in it. Add elements of direct democracy. Do away with 1st past the post, and bring in the Single Transferable Vote form of proportional representation. Have an elected second chamber, whose sole role is to scrutinise. Have fixed terms for the length of a government, not just a maximum.

All of these initiatives give added trust to the voters and limit the powers of the executive. If Labour is re-elected, it will be in large because they have given their trust to the people. When they lose, these measures will undermine any Tory government’s powers to fuck things up.

Come the next election, David “Dave” Cameron will probably be invited to form a government by the Queen. However, if there is a proportional representation system in effect he’ll have to bring in a smaller party to secure an over all majority. Practically speaking, this will have to be the Lib Dems, thus ensuring the worst free market excesses of the Conservative radical ideology will be thwarted. If Gordon Brown and Labour can force through Jesus’s Program for Government, then perhaps it won’t have been twelve wasted years.

*On a personal note, Ladyboy Jesus would like to deny any involvement with Dubya and Tony’s decision to go to war. It was a cynical attempt to redraw the map of the Middle East, to benefit themselves and their countries. Thanks, but no thanks Rummy!


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