30 May, 2010
I think we can all agree on a degree of personal sympathy for David Laws. Having your career trashed and your sex life splashed across the media isn’t anyone’s idea of an ideal bank holiday weekend. Where I disagree with ConDem commentators is that they seem to think this is some sad loss for British politics as a whole. It is not. Mr Laws knew the rules, Mr Laws broke the rules, Mr Laws is paying the price for his avarice and self-deception. British politics is better for his resignation and the worst thing about it is he didn’t take the rest of his Tory and Yellow-Tory mates with him.
However I feel it is wrong to castigate Mr Laws for his expenses They are essentially a side show to his influence on British politics which has been thoroughly malign. Mr Laws was an editor of The Orange Book, a work popular on the liberal right, that to more sensible people looked like a guide on how to Thatcherise the Lib Dems. So much so the Tories wanted Mr Laws to defect to them. He was instrumental in turning the Lib Dems from a progressive party at least some of the time into willing donkeys for the Tory horsemen of the apocalypse.
Then there is the hagiographic reports of this time as Chief Secretary. A whole 17 days. During which time he to the glee of the Tory right banished pot plants from the Treasury and implemented cuts, over £6bn of cuts. Cuts that are presently the wrong policy as Richard Murphy demonstrates and which they stood against when they were seeking election. Cuts that are the precursor of the coming cuts tsunami that instead of helping the economy recover from the recession could plunge us back into it with all the resultant social costs. When even The Times is worried about jobless young men what on earth was Mr Laws doing cutting the Future Jobs Fund? What’s the ConDem strategy for growth? Keeping the young unemployed! And you wonder why people question the value of a double first from Cambridge.
There was much talk before the election on Labour’s campaign being a class war amongst the more excitable elements of the Tory press. I thought this meant they were against the idea but they seem to have co-opted it pretty darn quickly. This is a government that is intent on class war, a war waged by Mr Laws and whichever faceless wonder replaces him. It’s a plutocratic oligarchy who mythologise the super rich to the expense of ordinary working people. What other government would rake in the donations from The City, the same City that trashed the rest of the economy, and then appoint a millionaire ex banker to impose cuts on the rest of us? That is not to mention it was us who had already done The City the favour of saving their sorry self from the creative destruction of capitalism they seem so fond of ?
So I’m glad Mr Laws has gone but not for his expenses or least of all his sexuality but the fact that his government is set against working people. That when hard decisions have to be made working people are the first not the last to suffer from decisions made by those whose life bears no relation to their own.