Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Zadie Smith for leader of the opposition

Our "progressive" opposition is learning from its mistakes, seriously debating policies and getting back to a coherent, compassionate set of principles. Only joking - the surviving hollowed-out management droids are still apparently incapable of uttering a thought that might cause the slightest discomfort to the powerful. So it's back to reflexive triangulating and shifting blame where it belongs, down to those least able to fight back. Me, I'm still backing Zadie Smith. Here's the straight dope, via the Torygraph and the Chicken Yoghurt blog:

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Burnham said: “We were in denial. We were behind the issue all the time, and myths were allowed to develop. There’s still an ambivalence among some in Labour about discussing immigration. I’ve been accused of dog-whistle politics for doing so.

“But it was the biggest doorstep issue in constituencies where Labour lost. People aren’t racist, but they say it has increased tension, stopped them getting access to housing and lowered their wages.”

It’s a classic transfer of blame thing this, isn’t it? New Labour’s abject failure to address the housing shortage ’stopped them getting access to housing’. New Labour’s failure to address the rights of agency workers, living wage programmes and exploitative employment law ‘lowered wages’.

Have refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants had their hands on the levers of power recently? I’m pretty sure Johnny Foreigner didn’t dictate housing and wage levels in the UK over the last decade. I’m almost certain that was down to the Thatcherite settlement Burnham and his mates hug so close.

On the basis of past voting records, there's depressingly little choose between the real-world candidates scrabbling over the Brown Inheritance, although at least Diane Abbott distinguished herself by voting (moderately) against some of the excesses of the War On Terror hysteria, voting against the introduction of student top-up fees and at least dithering over ID cards, rather than voting strongly for the sorry fiasco.