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.
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.
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.
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
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.