Leading on from yesterday's comments on the mature behaviour of the Coalition's leadership, there was lots of talk on the radio this morning about the childish antics of the New Labour leadership and their disfunctional relationships during the Blair and Brown (and Mandelson) years. Obviously Mandelson has a new book to promote, and he's been advertising the Times' serialisation by playing up to his image as the Prince of Darkness.
The lack of emotional, social and spiritual intelligence shown by Blair and Brown and their ilk certainly ought to be documented. A tale of anger, jealousy, resentment, bullying, plotting, revenge and pettiness. Unprofessional conduct. The opposite of statesmanship and enlightened behaviour.
You can call it childish, or you can see it as extended adolescence, since those people behaved like gang members, playground cliques and sullen, frustrated, egomaniacal, status-seeking, power-crazed prats.
In any organisation the tone is set by the leader - in this instance, Tone - who was clearly psychopathic in his manipulations, his lust for power, his belief in his righteousness & invincibility and his belief that he was doing God's will. All of which is the opposite of a leader who can justify every decision by reference to clearly articulated and agreed ethical and moral aims and goals.
It's been pointed out that New Labour, under both its leaders, was nothing more than a mob that was bent on the aquisition and retention of power, and all its trappings. Hardly better than a mafia, in reality.
In contrast to that we now have a government that has already clearly articulated its negotiated programme for government, and has documented its aims and priorities after a process of internal bargaining and discussion. (See Guardian supplement of 15th May, for instance.) Also a government that has returned to decision-making through respectful cabinet discussion and negotiation, reaching compromises and agreed majority positions. The opposite to a presidential style of government through prime ministerial dictat. The opposite to kitchen cabinet Thatcheresque or Blairesque government. The opposite of scheming and bullying.
Yet again Mandelson brings up the idea that he and Blair, and New Labour, made the Labour party 'electable'. This is the most detestable bullshit. It was the electorate itself that ejected the Tories, in the hope and expectation that after nearly 20 years of Thatcherism we'd return to a decent form of liberal/social democracy - NOT even MORE neo-conservatism.
After nearly 2 decades of Major and Thatcher the country was desperate to be rid of the Tories, and certainly didn't want a government whose leadership was determined to maintain the economic and financial status quo, arse-licking the City and the power structures of our vastly unequal society - determined to do nothing serious to address inequality - very relaxed about the seriously rich getting even richer.
The country not only wanted better public services - it wanted greater social justice, greater equality, affordable housing, proper living wages, etc. From New Labour it got NONE of those things. It didn't even get better public services, if what you mean by better is the deprofessionalisation of education, social services and health, and staff demoralised by the targets and league tables culture. It got bloated, vindictive and self-serving bureaucracies and children deprived of proper education. It also got war in Iraq and Afghanistan, loss of civil liberties and an insane housing bubble, making even small flats in some areas unaffordable to people on average wages.
How DARE Mandelson boast about making New Labour 'electable'? How come he can't face up to the fact that he helped hi-jack a party that was supposed to be socialist, and in favour of greater equality, and then turn it into Continuity Conservatives - friends of the City and George Bush? The man is completely despicable, and shameless. Not psychopathic - just completely devious, nasty and unprincipled. New Labour personified.
But talking of psychopaths - the more common or garden varieties - there was a really interesting woman on Desert Island Discs this week - forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead.
A consultant at Broadmoor Hospital, it is her job to try to understand the behaviour of some of the most vilified people in our society. The Victorian institution in Berkshire is home to more than two hundred men; all people who have been convicted or accused of the most dangerous violent behaviour.
Her life outside work seems impossibly normal - bringing up her children, singing in a choir and gardening fill her spare time. Of her work, she says: "Other people's minds are so fascinating I can't think of anything more interesting and I can't understand why everyone isn't a psychiatrist."
Obviously I'd never heard of her, and didn't expect anything other than the usual dreary collection of classical crap. Terrible stereotyping, I know, but then so many of these people they have on the programme - even the more colourful ones - have no time for music in their lives, and no feeling for it either.
Not a bit of it. First track - Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter. Brilliant.
Second Track - Pablo Casals playing the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 in G Major. Superb.
Third Track - Ian Dury — Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick. Magic.
Fourth track - The Weather Girls — It’s Raining Men. Excellent.
Her favourite track turned out to be James Taylor's "Shower The People". I've never really paid much attention to this particular singer/songwriter, but this track is interesting:
Great programme. What an amazing job, and a very special individual.
A Final Word on Psychopaths
It seems there's a Facebook tribute page, whatever that is, called "RIP Raoul Moat: You Legend."
In other words, thousands of fucking nutters have signed on to show their admiration for a fucked-up multiple killer. Much love from people who hate the police, all of them, and feel happy to see policemen shot, injured and killed in the course of doing their duty. To say nothing of their support for crims who kill their ex-girlfriends, etc.