Thursday, 10 May 2007

10 years in search of a legacy

Tony Blair is announcing his departure today, so many people are looking at his legacy after 10 years of power. calls for bloggers to look at this. I think his main legacy is the increase of spin, before him we kind of trusted politicians in a sense; no one believed all their promises, but we did think they meant what they said. Since TB most people think politicians are liars, and they have reason. One classic TB technique was to announce some terrible policies, then when they real policies were unveiled they were less bad, and a grateful nation accepted them. They also perfected the burying of bad news stories on a big news day, so people didn't notice.

Instead of looking at the underlying problems, its been all about gimmicks. As an answer to crime, create ASBOs, they don't work, but they look like something has been done. And when they don't work, blame the local council for not applying it properly. In the same way weve had so many initiatives, so much legislation, so many department name changes. It may seem as if a lot has been done, but the problems persist. A lot of money has been spent on schools, hospitals and transport, but so inefficiently with such waste that it hasn't done as much as it should. They love the private public partnership, as it reduces government borrowing, but it means we pay more over a longer period, up to five times as much on some projects. Then theres the cash for honours scandal, and who can forget the Iraq disaster, either of which may see TB behind bars.

There has also been a lot of talk of reduction in poverty, both at home and abroad, but I don't think anyone believes it as figures show both problems are as bad as ever. There have been some good things done in 10 years, such as peace in Northern Ireland, but many remember how much of it was done by Mo; when her popularity increased and threatened to rival Blair, she was removed, and now she has gone. One of his main failures, despite lots of talk about tackling climate change, is an increase in emissions of 2.7%.

Of course along with TB, we've had an entertaining 10 years of his deputy, John Prescott, who did provide us with a few great moments. 'The Green Belt is a Labour policy and we intend to build on it'. After being hit by an egg in 2001, he punched the protester, claiming 'self defense', bringing street brawling on to the campaign trail.

When Greenpeace put a solar panel on his roof with the sign 'Oi, 2 jags, hit targets not voters', he said"Wives are not for terrorising." On coming to office, Prescott pursued an integrated public transport policy. On 6 June 1997 he said: "I will have failed if in five years time there are not... far fewer journeys by car. It's a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it." However, by June 2002, car traffic was up by 7%. By its own test, Government transport policy has failed.

So we're starting a new chapter, will GB be any different, I doubt it. Can Greens show that when we are in power we will be different? I hope so, being green doesn't attract the power hungry types, but rather people who want to see change for good. On the environment and social justice we've seen talk and no action, but we want to make a difference.