spiked-geist: Day Nine

Labour Party manifesto: 25 steps to a politics-free life.

Josie Appleton

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Topics Politics

Labour Party manifesto: 25 steps to a politics-free life

The Labour Party manifesto, launched today, contains 25 policy proposals. Only Tony Blair doesn’t call them policy proposals, but ’25 steps to a better Britain’. These are 25 steps to a politics-free life – a recovery plan for Britain, which aims to take us further beyond the kind of political debate that Blair associates with the past. And, like all recovery plans, it is presented as incontestable.

The tone of the manifesto is that of the guru, or the counsellor. ‘I deeply believe that, for Britain, the best is still to come’, writes Blair. ‘So I ask you to continue on this journey with us.’

In the manifesto’s introduction Blair tells us a fairytale about the British people. We British people have our strengths, he says. ‘Strong values. A proud history.’ But we never really fulfilled our potential. We had some economic growth, and then inflation got out of control. At first our welfare state worked well, but then we could not afford it any more.

There was something, some kind of ‘glass ceiling’, that stopped us.

Once upon a time, when people talked about ‘glass ceilings’, they meant social limitations. But now Blair tells us that the problem was not in society at all, but in ourselves. It was in our heads, in our own flawed way of thinking: our traits of ‘elitism and snobbery, vested interests and social division’.

These psychological flaws, apparently, led us to imagine that we had divided interests, and this held us back. When really, as Blair tells us, ‘Together we can achieve so much more’. In Blair’s mind, New Labour was put on this Earth to cleanse the world of argument, of competing visions, of conflict. The future will be one of reconciliation, of togetherness. ‘There should be no barriers, no dogma, no vested interest that stands in the way of delivering the best services for our people.’

Blair has a 25-step programme for the British people, and if we spend the next four years on his couch, he will take us to the next stage beyond politics. And if we think his plans for us are wrong? Clearly, we must be mad. JA

For a full analysis of the 44-page, 25-step New Labour manifesto, keep watching this space.

Read on:

Low ‘Ambitions for Britain’, by Jennie Bristow

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