Enduring image of the week: Hazel (I want to spend more time with my constituency) Blears talking on her mobile phone whilst sitting in the back seat of her car, which was immobilised with four flat tyres and a smashed windscreen. "New Labour in its death throes, wrecked and useless" seems a suitable title for that particular snapshot. The tyres and the windscreen were vandalised whilst the Red Dwarf was out and about in Salford, leafletting her people. A spokesperson for HB denied that the damage was caused by someone with a grievance or a grudge, or that the incident had anything to do with a general perception that HB is a greedy, money-grubbing, expenses-fiddling little shit. Really? Yes, really. The Mighty Mouse believes it was done by bored individuals, on a warm summer's day, who had nothing better to do with themselves. They're suggesting it was a random piece of vandalism on a vehicle that no-one would have known was hers.
Well, let's just say it's quite possible that a few locals had nothing better to do with their time than smash up Hazel's car, which is seemingly, according to clips on TV news, as well known in Salford as Simon Hughes' big yellow taxi is in Bermondsey. Such a bleak "explanation" is in itself quite a comment on New Labour's 11 years in power and Blear's efficacy as an MP.
Some might say that such direct action is quite a reasonable way to prioritise your time if you're powerless and voiceless and you'd like to make a political point, leaving aside the small issue of its illegality and questionable morality. But then HB probably believes, like her NL chums, that the undeserving poor and the underclass will always be with us, not least because they're congenitally idle, shiftless and incapable of working hard to better their lot.
We can infer this is their way of thinking, since meritocracy seems to be their buzzword, and equality seems to be a word that's been deleted from the NL political dictionary of useful words and phrases. "Morality" and "ethics" seem pretty redundant as well, leaving aside Gordy's well-known 'moral compass'. People like Blears who advocated the illegal smashing up of Iraq and Afghanistan for their own political ends can hardly complain if someone decides to use similar direct action to further their own ends. There's also the wrecking of the economy, and the financial system, and people's livelihoods to consider.
Whilst remaining open-minded to the possible validity of both these explanations, I'd like to suggest a Third Way. I think it's quite possible that the damage was caused by someone, or some people, who, whilst knowing or caring very little about Blears' expenses fiddling, happen to loathe and despise her simply on the basis that she's a revoltingly smug and alarmingly mad little basket case with an ego the size of the boat she was supposedly rocking, or helping to sink.
It seems to me entirely possible that there are people in Salford who have always hated her attitude, her relentlessly fixed grin, her careerism, her Brown nosing, her uncritical and unreformed Blairism, and the part she's played in hijacking and destroying the values of a once-proud party. This is only a theory, mind you. From this distance it's difficult to say just how many Salfordians agree with those who were interviewed for TV news and stated quite clearly they despised their MP, who of course is being fully supported by her fellow New Labour activists for re-election next time around. Well they would do, wouldn't they?
On the subject of equality, by the way, I think it's time to reconsider the whole idea. The first thing we need to do, in order to create a more equal society, is to reassure the wealthy that nobody wants to take away any of their wealth. It needs to be made clear that the ideology of egalitarianism has nothing to do with class envy. What they have, they should be able to hold on to. If they have a nice house or two, and a nice car or two, and a fat income, then good luck to them. It's not their fault. They may even deserve it.
So the first point that needs to be made is that there's no need to be scared that socialists want to take away people's money. Except, maybe, from the incredibly, disgustingly rich. They know who they are. And they can't really complain if, after decades of being allowed to add even more unbelievable wealth to what they already own, it's time to pay more taxes. Especially to support such a transparently good cause.
As for the merely well-off and wealthy, it's important to give an assurance that New Socialism does not seek to reduce their wealth by a single penny. What needs to be clearly established is that the pursuit of greater equality, and a happier, more coherent society, is about reducing the huge gap between the wealthy and the poor in this country, and for that to happen the minimum wage needs to be raised, the poor must be enabled to live in better houses and flats, and the children of the poor must be offered a better education. And so on. That's not so threatening, is it? Especially if the already rich are guaranteed to be able to keep their existing wealth.
But not entitled to get even richer, mind. The whole point here is that in capitalist societies the rich demand the right to get even richer, whilst the poor stay poor, usually through no fault of their own, or get even poorer. We're talking now about RELATIVE and ABSOLUTE levels of wealth. And so taxation policies will need to be adopted that maintain the rich at their current levels of wealth but don't enable them to get even richer, or only with reason, whatever we agree that should be.
What's not to vote for there, especially if you're poor and working class? Surely this is something even the wealthy should want to support, so long as they stay wealthy. Strangely enough, it's what the Labour Party used to advocate when it was first established. It's the opposite of 'Lord' Mandleson being intensely relaxed about the filthy rich getting even richer.
And now a few words about the good Lord. What a bastard. How the fuck is he now in charge of the country whilst Gordy's on holiday? What kind of fucking democracy are we that allows someone who's not only unelected but universally despised to be in charge? Or even second in command? The cynics are currently having a field day, and a right good laugh, suggesting that when Gordo quits then Mandy will slip into the top job. But of course, given the Labour Party's current constitution, and its current command and control structure, this could easily happen. Does anyone seriously doubt that Mandy still craves the PM's job, and that he's capable of drumming up the necessary support within the ranks? That's how bad New Labour really is.