British Labour Party
plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Fri Dec 13 00:30:48 MST 2002
The British Labour Party website declares that Labour is "a democratic
socialist party". Of course, we all know differently. But it's
interesting to then click into the 'About Labour' section, go down to
'Labour links' and click into that and then into the link called
'Businesses'. The total wording of the 'Businesses' section is this:
Labour means business
The Conservative Party claimed to be the party of business. But during
the last Tory Government a business went bust on average every three
minutes of every working day. And I have lost count of the number of
business-people who have told me that Tory Ministers just stopped
listening to them, or even returning their phone calls.
Labour's first priority in Government has been to make sure that we do
not return to the cycle of boom and bust that has been so disastrous to
businesses in the past. Instead, we are providing the macro-economic
stability that enables British businesses of all sizes to grow and
Labour's approach to business is based on a clear understanding of what
is required to help businesses succeed. It is business, not government,
which creates lasting prosperity. Our job is not to tell people how to
run their businesses, but to do what we can to create the right
conditions in which business can thrive and opportunities for all can
flourish. If we can get the business environment right, more businesses
will be able to start up and survive in an increasingly competitive
It is a source of real pride to me that Labour's approach to the
business community has been so transformed in recent years. Far from
being in conflict, the Labour Party and the business community are now
increasingly effective partners.
We used to think that you had to choose between creating a fairer
society and promoting a dynamic economy. But in today's knowledge-driven
economy, the policies we need for social inclusion creating
opportunities for all are also the policies we need for economic
success. If Britain is to be a fairer and more prosperous society, then
we must have successful businesses to generate wealth and jobs.
This is signed by Patricia Hewitt, Labour's industry and transport
minister. Hewitt, I believe, used to be some kind of leftie, one of the
leading lights in the British civil liberties council. But she seems to
have managed to go along with Labour's many attacks on civil liberties.
Underneath her gushy declaration about how Labour has a more serious
commitment to business than the Tories are links to Labour's Business
Liaison Unit, Labour's policies for business, their 2001 business
manifesto and their 2001 small business manifesto.
Whatever all this is - and in my view the British Labour Party is much
more a liberal-capitalist party (and not that liberal, except in the
neo-liberal sense) - it is clearly not anything recognisable as
classical social democracy. Even Bernstein would shudder at this
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