Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Brown's Short Course History of the Labour Party

After Brown's decision not to call a General Election (why bother fighting elections in Britain when the American Empire is still looking for a fight with Iran?), it is good to see that he has found some work for his bureaucrats revising the Labour Party's official history, 'Our History'. This, if you remember, was first launched under Blair then removed from the website completely as Blair was replaced with Brown and 'Year Zero' declared. Now however, it seems that Brown's shiny new version is ready to be unveiled. Its aim of course is to help in the task of helping the British people learn to love the Party and especially Big Brother Gordon.

In fact Brown's Short Course History of the Labour Party has changed little from the version under Blair. The only noticeable difference is that Keir Hardie and James Callaghan are no longer 'un-people' as they were under Blair. Hardie now gets the barest of mentions, while 'Callaghan presided over one of the most difficult periods of Government for Labour, with rampant inflation, crippling industrial action led by increasingly militant trade unions, and culminating in the disastrous 'winter of discontent' on 1978-9, when rubbish went uncollected and dead bodies unburied.' Nice - the Labour Party waits until Callaghan is safely dead and buried and unable to answer back and then they hammer him. The fact he deserves such a hammering is neither here nor there - the real 'lesson of history' is clear - strikes by workers against a Labour Government are evil - and so thank God for the 'new leader' Thatcher who soon put a stop to 'increasingly militant' trade unionism in Britain.

Ramsey MacDonald is still described as having been 'seen to have betrayed Labour' when he joined the Tories in a coalition - rather than having actually betrayed Labour. Nye Bevan and Tony Benn are still written out of the official history completely, there is no criticism of Thatcherism, and it was only 'the 1997 election campaign [that] saw the Tories in decline - over sleaze, tax rises and division' - which kind of excuses Neil Kinnock's failure. Kinnock is praised to the rafters for purging the Labour Party of the hard left - 'Kinnock first sought to sideline the extreme left within the party, such as the group Militant, and then to restore Labour's image with the general public. His speech to the 1985 Party Conference, where he attacked Militant from the platform, was seen as a sign of the new Labour leader's courage and commitment to change.' Indeed, Kinnock and Blair come out smelling of roses, the Iraq war is still well and truly in the memory hole while the whole whitewashed story ends with a paean of praise for New Labour.

The only real surprise is that it does not end with the Great Helmsman himself. I imagine this is only an oversight on the part of whichever underling had the task of coming up with this 'history', and it is only a matter of time before Brown appears, as if by magic, and 'The End of History' can finally be declared.

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At 7:13 pm, Blogger bobw said...

Very funny, and interesting, even to a Yank. Follows on nicely with your earlier "leaked" speech by Brown to the party congress.
I'm inspired to write my own revisionist history of the Democratic Party over here, although I can't see any way it can end with an End of History.


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