Half an Hour,
Jul 11, 2016
While I recognize Blair's achievements while in power, I would never vote for him. Blair betrayed the people who voted for him, a betrayal that is most manifest in the Iraq war.
This was a war fought purely for business interests, and if accommodating such interests is the price of power, then the price is too steep. And today, I do not believe this is the price we need to pay.
The contemporary political battle is being waged over austerity. I agree we cannot live beyond our means, but as someone who was once much poorer than today, I can say for certain that it is far preferable to increase income than to reduce expenses.
Failed businesses (and there are many) can shed employees, but a government cannot shed population.
Today the government borrows money from the same people it used to raise money from through taxation. It should return to the understanding that these lenders owe an obligation to society, and not the other way around.
Indeed, the push for austerity does not come as a result of increased social spending, it comes as a result of a continually declining share of revenue being paid by corporate and rich taxpayers. There is more money salted away in tax havens that the are goods to spend it on.
Moreover, compensation for average income earners has not kept pace with productivity. Even Even if it were a good idea to shift the tax burden onto the consumer, the ability to pay has not kept pace.
A proper left wing alternative takes these challenges head on, rather than focusing on austerity.
It finds the money it needs to support and benefit the people, because that is the core of its mandate.
It does not side with power and authority against the people - there are plenty of voices who do that, they do not need out help, even when they are in the right.
It does not sacrifice lives through needless wars and conflicts. The same money spent to peaceful purposes will produce more cooperation and support.
It does not sustain prosperity through colonialism and subjugation; the rights of people near and far are the same, and progress attained on the back of another is unsustainable.
It does not view environmental responsibility and business interests as a trade-off, because such trade-offs illegitimately transfer future prosperity to present-day proprietary interests.
It understands even when it is negotiating with and working with wealthy and corporate interests that their objectives are not our own, that they seek only to enrich themselves, and cannot be trusted to sacrifice this in the interests of the people.
It seeks with every turn to empower the people, through unionization and representation, through self-governance and self-management, through education and empowerment, and through recognition of equity of rights and opportunities.
And it takes the bold road of speaking out against the breaks and benefits the wealth and business are constantly demanding from the people. The left alone says "enough!" and requires that the rich return to society some significant part of the wealth they have extracted from it.
The left will be opposed by the media, which are owned by the wealthy, opposed by donors, lobbyists and think tanks, opposed even by a certain percentage of those it represents. But its steadfastness is its credentials. Knowing that we can depend on a leftist government to follow through is what gets it elected.
That is the trust Tony Blair betrayed, which has rendered his idea of the left effectively unelectable in Britain and elsewhere for the foreseeable future.