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Wonk advice to Brown - work with the LibDems and bring back class war

That, in essence, is what a paper from the ippr is suggesting, and it takes Liberal rule from 1906-1914 as its starting point.

While a little hesitant to go mano a mano with a professor of politics, referring to the 1911 Parliament act (which broke the Lords), and the Government of Ireland Act 1914 (which would have given home rule, and never came into force) as 'the two most important constitutional changes in the history of the United Kingdom' is not very far away from nonsense on stilts. For starters, Magna Carta, Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution have rather better claims....

The paper hails "
‘new liberalism’ of Edwardian England sought to recast the laissez-faire and individualistic liberalism of the 19th century so that it was more compatible with the ambitions of social democracy. This enabled a workable consensus between Liberal and Labour MPs. Indeed, the lack of significant ideological difference between the two is one of the reasons why the alliance was so effective". Not really 'liberalism' at all then, but rather slightly muted collectivism.

So what were the 'achievements' of this 'progressive alliance'?

Reversal of the Taff Vale railway judgment, whereby trade unions could not be sued for losses occasioned to a company by a strike , and "gave trade unions complete legal immunity from tort actions".

And "Lloyd George introduced what propagandists soon labelled the ‘People’s Budget’, which set out to pay for both social reform and naval rearmament through a system of progressive taxation, that is, through a system that explicitly set out to redistribute income from the rich to the poor. It represented an unprecedented attack upon privilege". Hmm, so existing rights under the law are privileges, are they?

And national insurance: "
Virtue meant establishing an actuarially sound fund, in which present contributions by young and healthy workers, their employers, and the state, were invested, to be paid out in future when the workers were old and sick. Actually, however, the fund was never actuarially sound, and every extension of coverage downwards in the social scale meant that it became (actuarially) more unsound still".

And some of the lessons drawn from the marriage of convenience between Libs, Labour and the Irish party?

1 - Electoral reform. The writers seem to think that there really is an in built majority for leftism, not that they actually articulate much by way of supporting evidence.
2 - Never underestimate your class enemies. Yes, it really does say that. "The House of Lords’ fight for the privileges of the landed interest was bitter and partly successful – it stymied land tax in 1909 and 1914, although it did lead to the Parliament Act”. Same question about what constitutes 'privilege'....

Who are the modern equivalents of the House of Lords in 1909 and King George V in 1914? Progressives do not have naked class enemies as they did then. But undoubtedly there remain forces of reaction determined to resist progressive advances. They exist in the right-wing media and within the Conservative Party". I tend to cast progressive and reaction in a rather different way...

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Blogger CityUnslicker said... 3:04 pm

Class enemies, how dull. To think that so little has changed since the Communist manifesto. The left have learned nothing except an even deeper and more bitter hatred of the right.

How could a party that represented only the working class possibly have a majority of support in Britian in 2007?  



Anonymous verity said... 3:37 pm

There is a leader in The Times today (Saturday) discussing Blair's "achievements" that verges on lunacy. What on earth possessed the writer?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 3:52 pm

C U - Indeed. I think the Left finds the more day to day interests of working people rather disappointing.

V- I gave up on The Times in disgust some years back, the sycophancy towards Blair being a major reason.  



Anonymous verity said... 3:57 pm

Croydonian - Do you, or anyone else, have any theories about what on earth Murdoch likes about Tony Blair?

And yes, I gave up on The Times quite some time ago as well, for precisely the same reason. But that leader this morning was little short of mad.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 4:14 pm

I think Murdoch likes the fact that Blair has not siced the Monopolies Commission on News Group....  



Anonymous Glass House said... 7:03 pm

"For starters, Magna Carta, Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution have rather better claims...."

None of those were constitutional changes to the United Kingdom

Magna Carta - 13th century
Cromwell - 17th century
Glorious Revolution - 17th century
Creation of the United Kingdom - (depending on how technical you want to be) 18th or 19th century

Well done Croydonian - on a few centuries out  



Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 7:12 pm

No doubt blair has also put in a good word for Murdoch with the chinese and others.
Only somebody with profound learning difficulties could sincerely believe that blair has been an effective leader of this country , unless the intention was to destroy it.  



Anonymous verity said... 9:53 pm

Ah, but I have been convinced since Day One of the Blair regime that the intention was to destroy Britain. It was so glaringly obvious I could not figure out why other people weren't as clear on this as I was. Blair came in with the intention of destroying our country and, if possible, our civilisation.

I hated him from the first minute I laid eyes on him.  



Anonymous Voyager said... 10:03 am

There is little mention of the TWO General Elections in 1910 seeking a mandate for Lords Reform......funny that....

Also any further Reform of the Lords must rescind the Parliament Acts and permit the Upper House to reject a BUdget as in Germany and the USA


Cromwell did introduce a few constitutional changes. The Army was accountable to Parliament and not the King which enabled John Churchill to avoid another civil war in 1688



The Divine Right of Kings was curtailed by an axeman and never restored

The House of Lords (the superior House) was abolished for the first time in history.

The Church of England was dis-established

These seem to be of constitutional significance and certainly influenced events in 1689 and 1701  



Blogger Croydonian said... 12:27 pm

Glasshouse, while there is a point to be made about quite when the United Kingdom came into being, I very much doubt that the ippr's pamphleteers were treating 1707 as Year Zero.  



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