‘Time to learn and move on’?
This weeks annual national Labour Party conference is witnessing the party’s leadership doing all that they can to distance themselves from the Blair years which are synonymous with Islamophobia, war, lies and deceit, known as ‘spin’ in modern British political parlance, all of which has alienated wide sections of the electorate from Labour. If anyone might have been in doubt that such a grand exercise was taking place Prime Minister Brown initiated proceedings with a speech, usually scheduled at the end of the conference, for over an hour long which gave one sentence each to
Additionally, the US and UK’s agenda for the region was aborted due to the continuing defiance of the Palestinian people, who to much of the world’s surprise elected Hamas, seen by most in the West until very recently as the archetypal reactionary Islamist terror group. Hamas won the election and engaged the West in a successful media and diplomatic campaign to show that they are a legitimate and reasonable mass movement for national liberation. Playing one last desperate card before his time was up, Blair gave full backing to the bloody Israeli assault on Lebanon last summer, which ended in the historic defeat of Israel, or at the very least gave a hard and fast lesson to Israel that it could not invade a neighbouring Arab country with impunity.
These failed campaigns have led to the alienation of considerable sections of the British electorate towards the Labour administration, be it from the Muslim community or the liberal political classes. The opposition Tories and Liberal parties took their advantage of Labour woes and Labour lost many council and parliamentary seats up and down the country, while losing all of
Labour has now moved away from Blairite out-right and open aggressiveness of the last decade and reverted back to its political style of the late 1990s, choosing its targets for foreign meddling a little more carefully and aiming at countries which the political classes in Britain would find much more agreeable, such as Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Sudan, all causes for a veritable ‘white mans burden’. As a result Brown’s speech at annual Labour conference this week was noticeable, apart from its vacuousness, for barely mentioning Iraq and Afghanistan or his former boss’s name.
On the second day Foreign Secretary Miliband then tried to present Labour, not as a government trying to dominate the Muslims, which is what some ‘very educated’ Pakistanis told him, but a champion of their rights. With the intention of coming across as a liberator of Muslims, he spoke in favour of including
It was left to Defence Secretary Des Browne to expand on what lessons Labour have possibly learnt from the past ten years in office. Echoing Karzai and the
In fact Browne’s comments about engaging the Taliban are not dissimilar to what the occupation forces are attempting to do in
*Sukant Chandan is a London-based freelance journalist, researcher and political analyst. He runs two websites: http://ouraim.blogspot.com/ and http://sonsofmalcolm.blogspot.com/ and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org