In 2005 we were warned – “Vote Blair, get Brown”. Five years later the warning is – “Vote Brown, get Mandy”. There is no doubt about who rules the roost in New Labour and who pulls all the strings in Government. Lord Mandelson, the thrice disgraced phoenix and unelected Government supremo, who is a cross between Svengali, Rasputin and the hissing snake in Disney’s Jungle Book. He has single handedly increased sales of television sets, resulting from people throwing bricks at their screens whenever he purrs and preens his svelte self to pontificate on his latest opinion or denigrate the opposition.
It is only the first day of the General Election campaign [or Deliverance Day -31] and his cold and calculating aura is omnipresent. Against all the odds Labour was victorious in 2005 and we warned that they would do untold damage to the Country. So it has been and it is unthinkable that Labour should get another five years to assail our consciences and morals. But, it could quite easily happen.
In March 2007 Resurgence published its launch Prospectus for radical renewal and set out our assessment of the state of the nation:-
‘In terms of the UK nothing that has been put in place is sustainable. Our society is crumbling; our civil liberties are being eroded; our political system is undemocratic; our economy is built on quick-sand; our public services are failing; our natural environment is being destroyed; our communities have been allowed to wither; our cohesion has dissipated; our traditional values have been derided; our leaders are morally bankrupt; our standards of behaviour have been corrupted.’
Nothing has happened to alter that assessment. Indeed, things have got worse. We also forecast:-
‘The next General Election will consist of a conspiracy by the main Parties to avoid discussion of their past disastrous periods of government – as if they were distant history – by only talking about the future. There will be campaigns of extreme deception and spin with truth being the loser. This will not be about the future and survival of the Country, it will all be about the survival of political parties. Political parties as we know them are not the future. They are the problem. We are looking to a post-party future. We will be going back to the future.’
Not back to the 1980s that Labour claim is where the Conservatives are going to take us. Or back to the 1970s that the Conservatives claim is where Labour is going to take us. And certainly not back to the dreadful 1960s when the liberal tendency slashed and burned their way through our traditional and enduring truths and values. There is no golden age to go back to, but much that was destroyed needs to be restored.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats reneged on promises to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution. The Conservatives will now not give the people a vote on the UKs future in the EU. Labour has broken many of its manifesto commitments and there is a political consensus around ‘human rights’, the exercise of conscience and moral issues. Eric Pickles, Conservative Chairman, declared at last year’s Conservative Party Conference that his Party was now liberal. All three main Parties contest the centre ground, which they assert and define as being a liberal democracy. There is no real choice between them, it is just a matter of degree.
Resurgence offers a real Catholic alternative that has a solid foundation of social teaching, is original and innovative, and skilfully blends modern and old. Unfortunately voters will not get a chance to make that choice.