14 April 2006
The Euston Manifesto
A new front organisation appears to have been set up, probably as a way to keep Blairism alive after the deluge to come. It is called The Euston Manifesto, and aims to unite the "socialist left" with "egalitarian liberals and others of unambiguous democratic commitment".
This was the aim of Blair when he was leader of the opposition, and talks took place between him and Paddy Ashdown, the then Liberal-Democratic Party leader, towards that end. It all got put on the back burner when the Tories self-destructed in 1997, but as support for NuLab sags the idea seems to have been dusted off again.
I doubt if it is a properly organised front - the old Communist Party would be needed for that - rather it looks like a marker for the future that has been put down by some Blairites. It can be expected to swing into action when Blairism is finally repudiated by the Labour Party. Then it will act as a forum for those who wish to unite Blairism with the Lib-Dems and the Tory left.
At the moment the Euston Manifesto is linked to Bloggers for Labour, a stooge organisation of true believers that acts as an electronic cheerleader for Blairite scabbery.
That said, its roots do seem to be American. Reading the actual manifesto, the American habit of switching an "S" for a "Z" seems to be the norm, thus we are treated to such delights as organizations, globalization and democratization. We are also given to believe that the plural of forum is forums. Sometimes the standard English is idiotically mixed with the American variant, and this is why we get to read of the International Labour Organization. It looks to this cynical eye as if some semi-literate was given the job of proof-reading an American original and ballsed the job up.
Reading through this rubbish as a whole three paragraphs jump out and hit the British reader in the eye. The first is this one:
We are committed to democratic norms, procedures and structures - freedom of opinion and assembly, free elections, the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, and the separation of state and religion. We value the traditions and institutions, the legacy of good governance, of those countries in which liberal, pluralist democracies have taken hold.
Now, hardly any of the above forms a part of British political thought. Demands for a separation of the legislature from the government are impossible to reconcile with our parliamentary system. Probably this is why we tend not to make such demands. Likewise, most Englishmen are Anglicans. We may not go to Church, but the church we do not go to is the Anglican one. Toleration for minorities, be they Catholic, Moonie or Scientologist is an established fact, but there is no demand in Britain that the Church of England be placed on a par with these strange creeds.
Secondly, the manifesto explicitly lays down suppport for the USA and Israel as part of its foreign policy cornerstone. Israel? Now, whatever one's views are on what the former French Ambassador to the Court of St. James once rather engagingly called that shitty little country, the fact remains that its future is not something that most British people are particularly interested in. By way of contrast the European Union, an issue of far more importance to our country, does not even rate a mention.
So who is responsible for this load of old wank? It's hard to tell at the moment. The British wing are Blairites, and we can speculate that the idea came from the USA - probably the original wording as well - and has been fed to a group of mugs in the UK. Clearly they believe in it, but they are mugs, so they would, wouldn't they? For the rest of us, be we honest Labourites or decent Tories, there is nothing here of interest to either us or our country.