We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. The is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer, to hell with them. the top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.
to create a national, broadband network (including Mercury, the new privately-owned telecommunications system for business), which integrates telecommunications and broadcasting.
Private interests seem to have taken care of this one rather well.
I was thinking about you today and remembering the joyful day in my early days of television when you asked me to remove the soup stains and dandruff from Michael Foot's jumper before you filmed him. Without him noticing of course!
...It is with Foot as emblem of the folly of the left and the dead end of Labour radicalism that the real mythology kicks in. In New Labour's version of history, more or less adopted wholesale in British public life, the sensible if tired administration of Jim Callaghan was brought down by mindless trade unionists, who then made common cause with a leftist Labour insurgency headed by Tony Benn. This unholy alliance took over the party and met its Waterloo – under Foot's leadership and the banner of the "longest suicide note in history" manifesto – in the disastrous election defeat of 1983. It then took the patient work of Neil Kinnock, John Smith and finally Tony Blair to bring Labour back to sanity and office 14 years later.
The reality was, of course, altogether different. By the time Callaghan took over in 1976, the western world's economies were tanking, the cabinet majority decided to go to the IMF and impose the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, and the prime minister informed the Labour conference that governments could no longer spend their way out of recessions. Postwar social democracy was in crisis, and the choice was either to go for more radical forms of intervention or lurch towards pre-Thatcherite monetarism.
A demoralised Labour right opted for the latter, and forced through three years of the deepest real wage cuts in modern British history. The good work in government done by ministers such as Foot, in employment and union rights, or Benn, in taking public ownership of North Sea oil, was overwhelmed by the impact of such an attack on the living standards of Labour's core supporters – which in turn triggered the "winter of discontent" strikes by low-paid public sector workers in the early months of 1979.
They also paved the way for Margaret Thatcher's election, and a determination across the Labour party to prevent a repeat of such self-destructive folly by making its leaders more accountable. That in turn led to the bitter internal struggle between a left and right divided on everything from the US relationship and membership of the European Common Market to unilateral nuclear disarmament, public ownership and incomes policy.
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