10 August 2007
Unemployment in the UK is higher than in 1979.
Unemployment in Britain is higher today than it was in 1979. Back then it stood at 4.7% and today it is 5.5%.
A generation ago over over hald the population reported that unemployment was the biggest issue facing the country, compared with only 7% who say the same thing today.
The problem we have is summed up by these figures. There is no national scandal because both parties are cut from the same neo-liberal cloth. Together they have created the illusion that unemployment is as natural as early morning dew.
It isn't, and once upon a time we had a Labour Party that set the economic agenda for the country whether it was in power or out. Both Labour and Tory accepted that the unemployment rate had to be kept down, using whatever means were necessary.
Unfortunately, and this is what many people have forgotten, the Labour government from 1977 onwards started the neo-liberal ball rolling, and paid the price for it at the election of 1979. After that it was very difficult for the party to claim that it could cure unemployment - memories of the party's failure were still too raw.
It was that failure that did more than anything to help ensure the Tory victories in the 1980s - and Labour's acceptance today of the neo-liberal model means that unemployment is a matter to be spun away rather than screamed about.
Thus NuLab people will say that more people are in work, and quietly ingore the fact that most of the new jobs are in the service and part-time, sectors. Crap jobs, for a crap wage under a crap gaffer.
If any supporters of NuLab are reading this, now they know why working class aprticipation at eletion time is falling with every election.