LabourplanThe most vapid slogan since Cameron made ‘Change’ his slogan in 2010

“Everything – no matter how unlikely – will happen in the end,” said Marshall McLuhan nearly half a century ago. Today, the Labour Party fulfilled his prophecy; and in doing so, its leaders showed themselves to be as bereft of culture, sensitivity, creativity and sagesse as their allegedly sworn enemies, the Conservative Party.

There are two film-makers in the US I admire more than most – and it’s typical of me (the impossible to pigeon-hole nuisance) that they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. The first – Clint Eastwood – made a movie seven years ago called The Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie. It was I think Jolie’s finest hour to date: a magnificent piece of acting about the instincts surrounding being a mother. And it was also typical of Eastwood (often branded a neo-fascist but actually just a bloke who asks questions that make pc-ers feel uncomfortable) in that it was a clinical examination of one-rotten-apple syndrome. As a study in how cultures turn to mire, its as non-didactic as anything I’ve yet seen in the cinema – apart from Ralph Fienne’s performance in The Duchess of Devonshire.

The second is Robert Redford. In 1972 he made The Candidate, in my estimation easily the most perspicacious film ever made about how the Big Party Machine grinds principled wannabe politicians into so much infertile dust. Redford is a liberal who carries the Party card on his person at all times, but so predictive has this movie been over the last 43 years, you have to admire it.

Now what both these actors-turned-directors have is searing, subtle intelligence. And both the films I’ve chosen above have things to teach the British Labour Party. The one rotten apple that sent Labour down into the sewers of tentative trimming was without question Tony Blair. And the line so amusingly parodied in Redford’s film – “A better Way” – has finally been almost exactly reproduced by the current Labour leadership as “A better plan”. More than anything I’ve seen since this ‘election’ got going, the adoption of such brainlessly insubstantial generality shows Labour up for what it is: an irrelevant grab-bag of hopelessly dumbed-down process.

Before Left-wingers switch off, let me make it clear that Labour’s wishfully unthinking wanking still has more appeal to me than the Tory sociopathy that pervades all their policies, obfuscations and Cabinet members. The thing that makes me want to slap The Ed Miller Band is their abject failure to provide The Resistance to a Tory belief system that is the side of a Kansas barn when it comes to political critique.

What are we, the electorate, to make of “A Better Plan”? Better than what? And what is the plan? When Barack Obama was first elected, I ridiculed his “Yes we can” with a post headed ‘Where’s the beef?’ It got me banned (for life, it seems) from Huffington Post…that right-on site whose owner trousered $50m and refused to pay off all those interns who’d made her rich. And I have no doubt that the Left’s tribalists will dump me once more for pointing out just how unutterably banal this latest bromide strapline is.

Prithee tell me: whatever happened to ‘Labour: your friend in tough times’? It fell by the wayside friends: I can hear the spin-doctor’s critique now:

“It’s good Ed, don’t get me wrong – I like it. But where’s the brighter future, eh, eh, eh? I mean, do you want a friend to be some kind of eunuch sympathising with you in Egyptian bondage, or do you need a tough leader taking the sort of tough decisions to get us up there in the sunny uplands of a vibrant economy competing in the globalist economy which is our inevitable fate, eh, eh, eh? Don’t be a tree-hugger Ed: be the tough guy with a better plan than Osborne but FFS steer clear of ever getting bogged down in what the plan is. I mean, am I right or am I right?”

God help us all from besuited barrow-boys like Grant Shapps.

To all those who attack my current position of ‘don’t vote’ in a UK context, I say “Name me one Party vying for my support next May that (a) grasps the cultural nature of Britain’s problem (b) has radical educational ideas that chuck away the old discredited shibboleths (c) rejects globalism (d) wants to scale down and localise the State (e) is prepared to name and shame the EU/ECB/EC axis as a bullying corporacratic perversion of the European idea, and (f) wants to legislate all the crooked lobbying money out of UK politics within a month of being elected”.

Answers on the head of a pin please to Sloggers’ Roost, somewhere in France. (The pinhead should provide ample space for your answers).

Earlier at The Slog: the A320 Alpine crash – a model of rubbish tabloid journalism


  1. Nicely written John, Your frustration with the current ‘left’ is well founded but your a-f shopping list is never going to happen, no one is going to challenge the current fiat/FRB hegemony because as soon as they do they get demonised and ostracised or just erased from history altogether.

    You only have to look at a few of the people who have recently tried, Varoufakis, Brand, and you see that they either get bought off, threatened or ridiculed into obscurity.

    This neoliberal dystopia cannot be combated because too many people have too much to lose if the status quo is broken. The only way forward is to accelerate this rickety bicycle until the wheels fly off and then see what can be salvaged from the wreckage.


  2. what about this for a strapline – “we have learned from our mistakes and can repeat them exactly” (credit to peter cook and dudley more).

    you are sadly corrrect about the dismal lack of choice being offered to any voting population in the West in general. i will continue to vote however, even it is only for the slim to non-existent measure between the lesser of the two evils offered. a wasted enterprise? probably, but fellow citizens in the past fought and died securing what has now become such a hollow exercise. i do not want to be so alienated from their memory that i piss away even the formality of the vote.


  3. IP such behaviour was built into the plan,(whichis on time & on course)never say never,because each day the army grows & it by the deeds of those who actions like the speakergate shows them for what they are


  4. Plenty of room even between the throng of dancing Angels (which funnily enough in modern usage, is used as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value, or questions whose answers hold no intellectual consequence, while more urgent concerns pile up).


  5. Yes, they’re all a fooking disgrace and no mistake, and the pinhead – in this instance – might well be replaced by a Higgs boson. If you feel like you’re wading through porridge with lead boots on, just say Noh.


  6. I’ve always voted like a good citizen of what I’m told is a civilised democracy. Bigger fool me, I think. If it made any difference, we wouldn’t have the right. The pretence at democracy is now less than suble. What we have now is a total sham and I’m finding it hard to bring myself to be part of this surreal charade full of agenda driven corruption. My dilema is whether I give this sham legitimacy by engaging with it in any way, possibly being written off as apathetic. I may spoil my vote to show that I have a view by rejecting what’s on offer but I’ve zero faith that this would have any impact even if large numbers did likewise.


  7. A vote for Labour looks like it would result in a very weak minority Government with Len McCluskey and Alex Salmond calling the shots. Miliband minor would be merely its hapless puppet leader.
    Comparing the comical Miliband Minor to past Labour politicians such as Jim Callaghan or Denis Healey you have to wonder what the hell went so badly wrong.


  8. Many previous Labour leaders had seen active service. Would you want Miliband or Blair anywhere near the front line?


  9. I would have loved to have seen our current political leaders on the front line lying terrified in a slit trench in some foreign hellhole fighting a pointless war with woefully inadequate equipment and numbers. Faulty rifles using cheap ammunition that causes jams, unarmoured snatch Land Rovers, boots that fall apart, obsolete radio’s, no helicopters, poor medical cover with no dedicated military hospitals, terrible pay the list just goes on and on.


  10. @ Mark……. the heat in full gear, ground full of landmines ( I refuse to call them IEDs), permission required before engagement.


  11. A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men’s lives should not stake their own.
    — H. G. Wells

    Things seldom change.
    Which is probably why the public have much more respect for the Monarchy than any politcos. They are a least prepared to go to places like Iraq/Falklands and fight and not just go on a photo op.


  12. Labour have done a poor job in opposition, people like Prof Wren-Lewis , Mike Hudson , Pickety hand them the ammo and the not only fail to get it to the target, they I suspect do not even understand it or let alone how to use it.
    Most political careers end in failure said Enoch Powell , to me it’s like jumping off a high building trying to fly, goes great for a while , then the problems emerge, and the policy ends up smashed all over the ground. Then someone else looks at the wreckage and says I can do better and he finds a higher building and tries again.
    We need something new and neither of the two main parties have any relevant answers and tribalism prevents a radical departure from their comfort zones Labour from their state collectivism and the Tories from their rentier antecedents and tendencies. Am I the only person who has always felt the Tories always hated business because it was against their always favoured form of Tory elitism and of Labour who lost the link with successful working people and got side tracked into promoting welfare dependency as a life style, with the dead end people created by the policies left further and further behind.
    As an example I was watching Britain’s Benefits Tenants on channel 4 ,one example had my jaw on the floor, the tenants did not have a wheelie bin so they stored the rubbish in the basement. This led to rats which over ran the house , so they bought an air rifle to shoot the rats but not a bin. The landlord gets a complaint about the rats eventually and inspects the house. The landlords then supply another bin utterly bemused that the tenants spent hundreds on an air rifle and not a few pounds on getting a bin from the council. The tragedy is your taxes are supporting all this while our industrial base shrinks before our eye’s.


  13. In America, it has been a long held understanding by voters that ‘ Vote Republican,..or .. Vote Democrat,… and you’ll still get Washington’.
    And its meaning? : All the same,…NO real choice,.. a pretend choice,.. a false impression of democracy, to give the voter, the illusion of having choice.
    In short ~ The death of true democracy.
    Lets cross the Atlantic
    The Labour Party
    Tony Blair was the first to understand this *new pretend democracy* that had emerged in Washington. He and his praetorian guard of posh boys were the first to hijack an established party, and totally change its nature and culture. To be fair, he [Blair], didn’t even hide the fact. The Labour party became *New Labour*, and at that very point in history, The Labour Party ceased to exist, and THE PARTY OF THE WORKING CLASS DIED,…
    hijacked by the *metro posh boys pretending* to be Labour.
    The Conservative Party
    Thatcherism had severed its purpose, and a new direction was required. A few Thatcherites were tried, but found wanting, and it wasn’t until Cameron was installed in the conservative centre ground that a more subtle *caring conservatism* emerged. Not for nothing, was Cameron declared ‘the heir to Blair’, and so it was that the Tory party was,….
    hijacked by the *metro posh boys pretending* to be Tory.
    Liberal Democrat Party
    Not to be outdone, the Liberals with a brief dalliance with the SDP, were hard set in their effort to find their place in the political mix. That place in the political mix did not arrive until they discovered the colour Orange. Like Blair’s conversion of a working man’s party from Labour to New Labour, the new breed of Orange Bookers knew that their grasp on power lay in their spectrum shift from a party of Liberal Yellow and converting it to Orange. And so it was, that a party of Liberals was,…
    hijacked by the *metro posh boys pretending* to be Liberals
    Do you notice how the *metro posh boys*, have hijacked all political discourse, formed an unholy cabal, and in doing so have stolen democratic choice, here in the UK?
    I re-write my very first line to conclude the point :
    In the UK, it has been a long held understanding by voters that ‘ Vote Conservative,,..or .. Vote Labour,… and you’ll still get Westminster’.
    We need to smash that anti democratic stranglehold that this cabal of deceitful posh boys have used, to commandeer true choice. The fact that you refuse to vote at all, will be met with a ‘So what’ shrug of the shoulders. But a vote for Ukip is already creating political shockwaves and shifting the shamefully deadlocked Westminster political discourse. Where it will lead, I don’t know, but it must be far superior to a pointless and *stale* refusal to vote at all.?


  14. Pingback: John Ward – AD 2015: Labour Election Slogan Brings 1972 Robert Redford Satire To Reality – 28 March 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  15. Pingback: John Ward – Airbus Contrarian View : Did Andreas Lubitz Have Doubts About The A320’s Airworthiness?? – 28 March 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  16. Pingback: A Better Plan | Doomstead Diner

  17. I think we should have a competition on the funniest way to deface that poster…
    ‘a better plan’…..
    …..would be if you were to vote for someone else
    …..would be one that you had any intention of adhering to
    …..would be to tell us what it is?
    …..would be one that actually made a difference
    by the time we lose the election we might be able to come up with a…..
    given that we never had a plan before it must be ….


  18. It takes a bit longer to watch. However, over the series The Wire shows how an idealistic and capable young politician is turned into a party machine man.


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