Meet the new boss

...same as the old boss.

This Week in Ireland has a rather eye-opening interview with Labour spreadsheet-botherer Joan Burton, concerning NAMA and her masterplan for the economy (should Richard Bruton fall down a pothole, or the president have an attack of dyslexia.)

Those who consider Labour a redeemable or, heaven help us, progressive force should really give it a listen. Essentially, Joan’s programme amounts to:

*Tailoring education to the needs of multinationals
*Retaining Ireland’s barely-there corporate tax rate
*Combining the above with propitiously lower labour costs (these were “out of line” during the boom, dar le Joan.)
*Introducing innovative new thinking to the welfare system (anyone who’s ever been on the dole knows that when politicians start talking about innovation, you begin to eye the copper jar.)

So there you have the bold reform agenda of the left-most component of the next government. An economy entirely dependent upon FDI, crafted in the image of multinational corporations, with regulation reserved for wage levels and welfare.

See you all back here in 2020?

EDIT: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the part that tickled me most. Joan likens the ongoing burden of NAMA to “war reparations.” Well, JB, that’s precisely what they are. There was a class war, and your side won.

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10 Responses to “Meet the new boss”

  1. Mark P Says:

    For God’s sake don’t mention this over at the Cedar Lounge or you’ll see naive but grown men cry in the comments section.

  2. WorldbyStorm Says:

    Depressing. The western financial systems went through a systemic (and utterly predictable) collapse. And yet, they don’t have the wit to use that not so small but very salient fact?

  3. Mark P Says:

    They don’t lack the wit. They lack the desire.

  4. LeftAtTheCross Says:

    Labour are a social democratic party. Why would we expect them to be marxist or even anti-capitalist in their analysis?

    The PES (EU social democrat grouping) website illustrates the lack of ambition for substantial restructuring of the ecomomic system in this less than inspiring selection of publications:

    http://www.pes.org/en/pes-action/political-initiatives/financial-crisis/documents

  5. Mark P Says:

    Nobody expects them to be Marxists. Some people expect them to be reformists or actual social democrats, trying to reform capitalism in the interests of workers and the low paid. It’s that latter set of hopes and expectations that they continuously dash.

    As it happens I personally don’t expect them to be reformists. I expect them to be business as usual capitalist politicians, seeking more efficient management within the neo-liberal paradigm. Strangely enough they never disappoint me.

    • LeftAtTheCross Says:

      Clearly the world view of the LP is a long way removed from that of the SP.

      Would it be different if Militant members were still part of the LP?

      That’s not a jibe btw, just saying that there’s no strong internal magnetic pole pulling the LP Leftwards and away from the centre ground.

      The dashing of hopes is a moot point at the moment, the LP hasn’t had a chance to contribute to government for 13 years. Whatever about their present rhetoric, positioning themselves as a safe pair of hands in the minds of the electorate, I would still expect that they would be less neo-liberal in government than either FG or FF. But that’s admittedly not saying much.

  6. Mark P Says:

    There is no reason to believe that they will be “less neo-liberal” than FF or FG, certainly not judging from the plans so freely expressed by their Finance spokesperson.

    The point I was making isn’t that Labour are a long way from my views. That was always true. The point is that they are a long way from their own past views. There is no reformist left in Irish politics anymore. The revolutionary left is still there, but the parties of the reformist left have completely capitulated to the dominant right wing politics of the day. There is no difference between Burton and Bruton, or more precisely there are the same sort of tactical differences between them as there are between Bruton and Lenihan, all within the same neo-liberal paradigm.

    There is nothing reformist about Labour. They don’t seek to offer a different course to FF, they just offer what they claim is a safer set of hands at the tiller while travelling the same route.

    And no, I don’t think it would be any different if Militant was still in Labour, quite aside from the fact that they’d certainly have expelled everyone by now if it had been tried. Militant was just the radical part of a much broader labour left, which had control of a lot of branches, it had thousands of activists, its own TDs, its own policies and programmes, its own campaigns and publications and organisations. Now all of that is gone.

    There isn’t one Labour TD with a profile to the left of Burton/Gilmore/Rabbite/Quinn. Not just no senior figure or prospective leader, but not one TD. There are no Labour left activists on the ground – the touchstone issue was always coalition and now there hasn’t been one single voice raised against it at a Labour conference in a decade. Simply put, Militant was able to have an impact because it was part of a wider Labour left. Now, even if by some miracle the Socialist Party wanted to join Labour and was allowed to join it, there simply wouldn’t be a soul to work with. There is no Labour left, left.

  7. DublinDilettante Says:

    LATC, if Labour were a genuine social democratic party, it’s fair to say that many of us on the left, probably myself included, would be members. Burton’s position is to the right of the avowed (whatever about actual) stance of the PES (the grouping of New Labour!), which explicitly opposes neoliberalism in its literature.

  8. Cass Flower Says:

    Thanks for that dublindilettante – I’ll be starting a thread over at
    http://www.politicalworld.org/ on this, it deserves as much airing as possible.

  9. The Laborious Labours of Mickey D « Circumlimina Says:

    […] that speculative form of the economy divorced from any social responsibility?” Given the economic programme recently outlined by party finance bod Joan Burton, it’s tempting to wonder what answer the question is […]

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