First published in Pluto Student Newspaper.
The Labour Party Conference began on Sunday, and with that, you rightly expect some Labour Party Bashing. But I would actually, first like to congratulate Gordon Brown.
Following talks at the G20 in Pittsburgh last week, he has made it part of his party’s promise to use new laws and unprecedented ministerial pressure to come down hard on banks that still give out big bonuses.
He will also give regulators powers to force banks to build up their cash reserves, rather than paying out massive cash rewards.
But, Gordon, I ask. WHY NOW???
It is almost a year since bankers hit the headlines, when Fred The Shred made his fall from grace and swift disappearance from the media’s watchful gaze ( apparently a genuine photograph of Sir Fred will fetch you a cool thirty grand. But the holiday to whichever exclusive island he, Tupak and Elvis are cohabiting... is priceless).
People were outraged. Bankers were hung. Windows were smashed. And where was he?
So now, after having time to think about it, as our PM is famed for doing a lot of, he has come up with policy that the man in the street could have told him, after falling out of Wetherspoons, with his opinion informed only by The Sun.
The conference hall at Brighton was reportedly deserted as even loyal Labour supporters showed he couldn’t tell them anything they hadn’t already raged about after reading it in the Mail. Damage done.
The hall was however, packed for the real star of the show, back (for the third time in the Cabinet) by popular demand (from some factions), unelected and unafraid, Lord Mandleson of Everything. Tony Blair once said that the Labour Party would only change when it “learned to love Peter Mandleson”. If that is what has happened, it is only because they can’t stand Gordon the Gopher any longer.
Labour has pitched itself on the side of the middle classes at the conference. As opposed to Cameron’s Crew who have only committed to tax cuts on inheritance. Because they know which side of the fancy cracker their caviar is on...
But middle-class unemployment has trebled since the recession began, hitting everyone from six-figure-salaried-executives to the 300,000 young people who graduated in 2009 into the ever shrinking professional jobs market.
And Labour’s response has been too little, too late. The Job Search Support Scheme for Newly Unemployed Professionals has been given just £3million, compared to the£5billion floating around in Job Centre Plus. And as middle-class workers opt for lower-paid jobs, there are fewer jobs for people down the chain.
From bankers, to Gurkhas, to the recession, it’s like Gordon has been shut in a bunker only to emerge with policy after after policy after everyone has already gone home. And for this, it seems Labour might be finished.
Switch off the lights in the conference hall on your way out will you Gordo?