The Blair Legacy includes : giving his country the worst behaved teenagers in Europe, who seek an ASBO as a badge of dishonour, and introducing a Freedom of Information Act and then trying to stop people using it.
A Client Nation
Ten years of throwing money at the public sector failed to produce proportionate improvements in health, education, etc. All it created was a nation of beholden voters, who were either employed in the public sector and/or dependent on Labour party hand-outs, rather than a prospering, dynamic nation of independent people
A Growing Nation!
Under New Labour, Britain has become the fattest country in Europe. 25% of adults and teenage girls are obese and the nation is on target for 30% by 2010.
A Blair Foundation? Maybe not!
Bill Clinton has one and it made him lots and lots of cash. So the Downing Street Mafia suggested one for Tony Blair, leaking the idea to see what sort of a reception it received. The level of derision prompted a press release from the spin-doctors' office to say that, actually, the idea had never been considered.
Botched Public Projects
New Labour has vast enthusiasm for throwing taxpayers' cash around but very little ability to throw it in a sensible direction see Millennium Dome. Computer schemes are a particular example of the Blair administration's failures. The scheme for storing all NHS records in a readily accessible national databank started off with a budget of £6 billion. It is now on course for a final bill around the £30 billion mark.
Similarly, the cost of the National Identity Card scheme had shot up to £6 billion by early 2005 and it seems to be heading for the same outcome as the NHS computer system with figures around the £18 million mark being tossed around.
The cost of a card was suppose to be around the £30 mark but it has leapt up to over £100, and it has to be built in to driving licences and passports. The Blair regime is resisting moves to offer a basic, ID only card for around £30 to those who don't wish to drive a car or go abroad mainly because Tony Blair has allowed his Chancellor of the Exchequer and alledged successor, Gordon Brown, to create a vast Black Hole in his accounts. As a result, New Labour can't do without the expected revenue from ID cards at a rip-off price.
Tax Credits, Gordon Brown's big brainwave, also turned into a nightmare for millions of low-paid people, who were supposed to benefit from the scheme. The Treasury's minions made a bog of the system for calculating incomes and refunds, overpaid £2 billion and then left people in abject povery by demanding a year's overpayments back right away as a lump sum and cutting off their income. Four months before the true state of shambles was exposed, Paymaster General Dawn Primarollo was gaily lying to all and sundry, saying that there had been initial teething troubles but everything had been sorted out.
And in addition to wasting the big money, the Blair's New Labour also managed a steady drip, drip, drip of relatively small sums. The rebranding of the Department of Trade & Industry as the Department of Productivity, Energy & Industry was junked after just one week; by which time the government had already blown £30,000 of taxpayers' money on redoing name plates, websites and publications.
24-hour Drinking was pushed through with reckless abandon while New Labour was dragging its collective feet over giving the police the power to set up alcohol disorder zones and ban persistently drunken yobs from town centres. Such powers are part of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, which is not expected to come into force until the summer of 2006. 24-hour drinking arrived after midnight 2005/11/23.
Pensions The pensions and savings industries used to be doing okay until New Labour and Gordon Brown arrived on the scene. Brown's £5 billion per year raid on pensions, and similar demolition jobs on savings, marked the end of final-salary retirement schemes, early retirement and financially comfortable retirement for millions.
Public sector workers used to be paid less than staff in the wealth-generating private sector, but they were allowed to retire at 60 on an inflation-proof pension as compensation. By 2005, New Labour had swelled the public sector and grown public sector wages above those in the private sector. Worse, the prime minister had the insolence to use false statistics** to make the case for continuing to let public sector workers retire at 60 (to keep the Labour Party's paymasters, the trade unions, sweet) while people in the private sector were told that they would have to postpone retirement until 67, 68, 69 or even 70.
** The prime minister's office was forced to admit that Blair had been saying that in 10 years' time, 70% of public sector workers will come under a new 'retire at 65' deal. The true figure is 40%.
Tony Blair bragged that he would be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. But New Labour has created over 1,000 new crimes since 1997, most of them trivial but involving the police in lengthy form-filling. Typical of the genre is the offence of 'staging a concert in a church hall without a licence', for which the maximum penalty is a £20,000 fine and a 6-month gaol sentence. Businesses and motorists have been the main target of what are little more than revenue-raising exercises by a government which is frightened of raising direct taxes.
As the second prong of its attack on the citizen, New Labour has laboured mightily to make life easier for violent criminals and people like burglars, whose predations have direct impacts on the lives of honest citizens. New Labour has tolerated judges who won't lock up burglars and provided criminals with scads of bogus human rights by accepting European legislation which is designed purely to enrich the legal profession.
New Labour is also hell-bent on creating a Casino Culture of 24-hour drinkers with no regard for the social consequences, aided by New Labour supporting chief constables, who have given us politically correct, rather than crime-busting, police 'services' (not forces). Such cosmetic police chiefs also refuse to enforce the law where environment damaging gypsies are concerned or any other favoured minority.
Perhaps the worst area of failure is the prison system. Labour has failed to build new prisons and as a result, the country ran out of prison places in 2006. As a result, police cells were pressed into service at huge cost and serious criminals were let out of gaol early to make room for more recently convicted criminals.
Tony Blair railed against educational privilege then sent his own kids to selective schools while doing nothing to oppose the envious socialists in his party who keep trying to close down the grammar schools. He also presided over a reduction in the number of children from state schools going to university, gross devaluation of the exam system and record levels of truancy.
"It's bloody Blair again . . ." His Big New Idea for 2005 was to revive the Grant-Maintained school under another name. The Tories created them and Blair abolished them when he came to office. Eight years later, freeing schools from the petty politics of local authorities is a good idea again.
Tinkering, tinkering, tinkering; meddling, meddling, meddling, dabbling, dabbling, dabbling.
Schools Minister Jacqui Smith was boasting, "This government's unrelenting focus on the basics is paying off" while the Education Department was busy trying to cover up the fact that only half of primary school pupils pass all three of the reading, writing and arithmetic tests before going on to secondary school. Typically, this information emerged only when it was requested specifically under the Freedom of Information Act.
Employment & Productivity
New Labour recruited 900,000 staff to the public sector in its first 7 years but productivity slumped after Tony Blair took office in 1997. Why? Because 750,000 of the new 'jobs' were posts like 'gender diversity observer' which consume resources but create nothing worthwhile.
Tony Blair's European dream has largely collapsed. He had a vision of Britain being split up into a set of regions and run from Brussels by a European Union with its own constitution, defence department, foreign office, common currency, central bank and all the other trappings of a United States of Europe. All this was derived from Blair's ambition to make himself an obvious candidate for President of Europe when Britain's electorate finally chucks him out.
The final European humiliation came at the end of his last presidency of the EU. Blair came out of the 6 months with nothing to show but surrender of £7.2 billion of the rebate which Margaret Thatcher won for Britain. The disaster included abject failure to do anything about the money sucked out of the EU budget by bad Europeans like the French via the Common Agriculture Policy. Worse, the deal on the budget which Blair cobbled together left the new members grumping at Britain because they hadn't been handed enough cash.
Even worse, the surrender on the rebate was structured so that most of the money would be lost at the end of the period covered by the deal. As a consequence, Britain will be losing £2 billion in the year which will be taken as the basis for the next round of rebate figures.
Foot & Mouth disease the 2001 outbreak saw £8 billion disappear down the drain
The government's approach to the outbreak was a total shambles and nothing effective was done until the army was called in to provide organizational skills. Sir David King, Blair's 'expert' recommended a cull of 8 million healthy animals instead of vaccination. So the government went along with an illegal cull even though it had no legal power to kill healthy animals.
Even worse, the government paid out too much compensation for the slaughtered animals and when it finally put in a claim to the European Union for 'insurance', the EU's payout left the British taxpayer having to fund a shortfall of £600 million.
Even worse, the sight of Blair strutting around farms in his yellow isolation suit made foreigners think the country was unsafe to visit and cost the tourist industry a further £5.4 billion.
If it was Before New Labour, Blair wanted to apologize for it. If we beat the pants off the French, the Germans, the Spanish or whoever, Blair wanted to grovel and say 'sorry' in a choky voice. One of his particular areas of regret was the British Empire, which brought red-tape bureaucracy and railways to previously dark continents around the world.
Blair's message was that everything Before New Labour was bad and everything ANL was gloriously rebranded as Cool Britannia and a product of a brilliant, guitar-playing dude who was really quite a straight guy, actually.
The message was as substanceless as any other piece of New Labour spin.
Tony Blair hounded Ken Livingstone out of the Labour party then proclaimed him the greatest London mayor of all time. And he wasn't exercising his funny bone at the time.
If the government stopped the influx of asylum seekers today, it would take 21 years to deport the current backlog of bogus claimants at the present rate. And as only one-third of bogus claimants are evicted, the backlog is growing year on year. The New Labour government once gave itself a target of removing bogus asylum seekers at 30,000 per year. Less than 3,500 were removed in the first 3 months of 2005, and that figure is 16% less than the corresponding figure for the first quarter of 2004. So it is little wonder that the target was abandoned.
The cause of the problem
The government has slashed the immigration department's budget, preventing overtime and weekend work, and compromising the department's ability to hunt down bogus asylum seekers and evict them. The government is also engaged in a massive operation to hide the numbers of illegals in this country in order to cover up its failures.
Justice not only blind but also deaf & dumb
The rot set in as soon as New Labour took office when Tony Blair established the principle that control of the judiciary including political control had to be in the hands of one of his cronies and someone with solid New Labour credentials.
The practical consequences of handing control of the justice system to New Labour are clear from the outcomes of the major inquiries of the period. Judges, and others appointed to take charge of inquiries, know that they will be evicted from the gravy train if they fail to pretend that the government of Britain is no longer in the hands of honest people. Consequently, New Labour is completely fireproof and unaccountable.
Dr. Iain Anderson, who conducted a private inquiry into the shambles around the 2001 foot & mouth outbreak, failed to determine what had happened because Tony Blair got everyone involved to tell a different story As a result, Anderson was unable to assign blame for incompetence.
Lord Hutton when inquiring into the BBC's minor error in a 6 a.m. news broadcast, chose to issue ludicrously one-sided conclusions. He noticed that everyone on the New Labour side of the dispute had exaggerated things wildly, including the threat from Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, but he ended up playing the part of a doddery old judge who believed that the prime minister and those involved in the machinery of government would never tell lies.
Lord Butler managed to include most of the Blair government's dodgy doings in his report on the background to the 2003 Iraq war but he reached the doddery old judgely conclusion that no one was to blame for lying to the nation.
Mr. Justice Lindsay chose to ignore clear evidence that Stephen Byers, the Transport Minister at the time, cynically conspired to swindle Railtrack shareholders out of their investment by driving the company into insolvency, and lied to Parliament about what he had done. In fact, Lindsay ruled that engineering its insolvency to bring about the collapse of Railtrack did not amount to a dishonest abuse of power. He also called Byers' explanation of his conduct 'gibberish' but he failed to force Byers to explain himself in plain language to spare Byers the embarrassment of being forced to admit his crookedness.
Sir Richard Mottram; permanent secretary to Byers when he was transport minister; a man who is supposed to be an impartial civil servant, not a New Labour stooge.
Mass Murder in Iraq
The Bush-Blair invasion of 2003 has resulted (in 2006) in the deaths of 2.5% of the Iraqi civilian population 650,000 people.
The Millennium Dome £800 million down the drain
Tony Blair aways had ambitions to 'rebrand' Britain according to his personal prejudices, which included the 'Cool Britannia' concept. The idea of the Dome came from the Millennium Commission in 1994. It was supposed to cost £43 million and be sited on 20 derelict acres in Greenwich. Blair and his cronies gave the nation an £800 million monster with a content which was 'too worthy to be entertaining and too vacuous to be informative'.
The wheels came off Cool Britannia in January 2000 and it has emerged that the Dome was run by a quango which ended up with contracts worth millions of pounds on its books but no paperwork to explain them. The finances, and liabilities, of the Dome were left in such a shambles that attempts to sell it kept collapsing because potential purchases couldn't find out what they would be getting in the way of assets and what they would be stuck with in the way of liabilities. The Dome was eventually virtually given away to an American entertainments company.
After its closure, the Dome was costing the nation £320,000 per month to maintain, although this cost had been reduced to £180,000 per month by the end of 2004. The British taxpayer will remain liable for the maintenance costs until the Dome reopens under new management in 2007.
The Mistrust of the People
After non-stop spin and lies from Downing Street since 1997, a national survey on trust, conducted in 2004 by the Commission on Standards in Public Life, ranked politicians 15th, just above estate agents. Less than 25% of the people said they trusted ministers to tell the truth.
In the 2006 survey, politicians had fallen below estate agents.
"Not me, Gov!" Syndrome
It is a standard New Labour tactic to lie about its failings and to try to blame them on someone else. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, for instance, got herself into trouble at the end of 2005 by trying to blame a shortage of flu vaccine on doctors rather than her department's incompetence. The BMA was quick to reject her claim that too many doses had been going to the 'worried well'.
In fact, the problem arose because the DoH bought the flu vaccine supply for 2005 on the basis of out-of-date figures for the numbers of people at risk. The government added 5 million carers to the 'at risk' list without including them in the buying requirement, and it compounded the shambles potential further by giving flu jabs to vast numbers of civil servants who were not in the 'at risk' category.
New Labour also sent out confusing messages when the risk of an avian flu pandemic burst into the news, and led people to believe that the ordinary flu vaccine would offer some protection against bird flu which it doesn't.
During the New Labour period, 6,500 post offices were closed. The government contributed significantly to the decline by diverting benefit payments away from post offices to bank accounts, and using competitors to the Royal Mail.
Propaganda substituted for information
The Government Infomation & Communication Service has been corrupted under New Labour from a department dedicated to explaining the consequences of legislation and the government's policies into a department dedicated to spreading Labour Party propaganda (alias spin).
The Quango State Demolished?
While still in opposition, Tony Blair promised to tip the Quango State into the dustbin of history. In office, he created 299 new ones, including over 50 in the NHS, between 1997 and 2006.
Worse, he increased the amount of public money spent on quangos by 50% between 2004 and 2006, bringing the total annual expenditure on quangos to £123.8 by 2006. The soaring quango bill was egged on by pay rises of 20% or more for officials sitting on quangos.
The Blair regime has sought to enforce the belief that anybody who is white, male, British (especially English), heterosexual, married, able-bodied, intelligent, honest and possessing any positive character traits is institutionally racist and has a whole lot else to answer for.
Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police and New Labour's favourite bobby, organized a lynching party for three white, male, British detectives, who were shopped for racialism by a fellow officer with an agenda. Blair made little attempt to check the facts of the case as he was attempting to position himself as an admirable figure and a scourge of racialist attitudes. Having been subjected to persecution and harassment, the three officers took the police force to an employment tribunal and won considerable compensation.
Sleaze & Opportunism
Tony Blair is noted for his ability to sweat and he has plenty to sweat about! He started handing out gifts to cronies from the moment his furniture van arrived at Downing Street. His period in office has been the most sleazy on record and the rate of abuse of public services by himself and his ministers was at record levels. He his ministers have no hesitation in using civil servants, including Labour Party staff paid out of the public purse, for their personal and private business affairs.
Cherie Blair cashed in shamelessly on being the prime minister's wife, exploiting a grey area. Politicians are not allowed to benefit from their office (while they hold it) and the wives of foreign presidents and prime ministers donate to charity, the profits from their cashing in activities a standard which the money-grubbing Blairs felt never applied to them. In fact, things became so bad that even Labour MPs started to become embarrassed by their antics.
Cherie Blair's response was that Denis Thatcher didn't get aggro from the press because he was a man which is both irrelevant and deliberately misleading, and shows they typical New Labour stamp. Denis Thatcher made a point of not cashing in on his status as the prime minister's husband.
Coming back to the point, here is an extract from Alex Salmond's speech to the 2005 SNP party conference:
"Every single donor who has given Labour more than a million pounds has been given a knighthood or a peerage. 80p out of every pound donated by individuals to Labour comes from people who have been honoured. And this is the Government of the regular sort of guy who wanted to clean up politics?"
Bernie Ecclestone affair. bunged New Labour a million quid, had a ban on tobacco advertising for Formula One postponed; then he got his million quid back!
Lord Birt got his title for free, and the job of Tony Blair's personal special adviser for 'blue-sky thinking', as a reward for conspiring with the prime minister's press office while director general of the BBC to turn the 'independent impartial national broadcaster' into the Blair Broadcasting Company.
The Blairs use the police force as a private taxi service; Cherie had a police motorcyclist deliver a forgotten passport to the airport when she went on a private trip to Turkey and her old man used police vehicles, fitted with 'Vote Labour' stickers, as his personal transport during the 2005 election campaign.
Tony Blair's response to warnings about abuse of the honours system was to scrap the Honours Scrutiny Committee by stealth in February 2005. The committee was established in the 1920s to prevent political donors from being awarded knighthoods and peerages. Since 2001, 75% of those who bunged New Labour more than £50,000 got an honour and 100% of those who bunged £1 million or more got a knighthood or a peerage.
Which raises the interesting question of why Blair bothered to scrap a 'watchdog' which had been letting him get away with murder for 8 years.
Smugness, Lies & Propaganda
New Labour's first year of office was crowned with a list of bogus achievements.
Alastair Campbell compiled Dodgy Dossiers on Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction with the connivance of the 'intelligence community'.
The Attorney General's advice on the legality of attacking Iraq in 2003 has been the source of endless lies.
The Blair regime sets arbitrary targets solely to create an impression of things happening without actually getting anything done.
New Labour stole the credit for the Conservative Party's golden legacy of an inflation-free economy and Blair did nothing to free the Treasury from Gordon Brown's leaden grip, even though he knew that Brown had never held a proper job in his life and he had never been required to balance a set of books in the real world with his own job, and those of all around him, on the line in the event of a failure of the magnitude of Brown's by the middle of 2005.
Anyone who complains about anything to do with the NHS or the government is immediately subjected to a campaign of lies and vilification.
Notable victims of this policy include Paddington crash survivor Pam Warren, 94-year-old NHS patient Rose Addis, the late Dr. David Kelly, who was an expert on Iraq's weapons and, most recently, 82-year-old Walter Wolfgang, who was thrown out of the 2005 Labour conference by New Labour's thuggish bouncers.
Sir David King, the government's chief scientific advisor, abandoned telling Blair & Co. what he thought on the basis of science in favour of telling them what they would find politically acceptable. He downgraded himself from the status of independent voice to just another stooge spouting New Labour's propaganda of the moment.
Geoffrey Robinson, the bloke who lent Peter Mandelson a whole lot of cash, saw no reason why he shouldn't lie about receiving £200,000 from sometime Labour MP and crooked newspaper baron Robert Maxwell.
Forecasts of gas cuts in the winter of 2005 (which, the Met Office warned, would be severe) produced an instinctive reaction from New Labour the lie that the country was 'awash with gas' from Energy Minister Malcolm wick. In fact, a National Grid study had shown that there was a gap of 3-7 million cubic feet (MCF) of gas between the peak demand on a cold day of 510 MCF of gas and the available supply from the North Sea, imports and storage of 440-480 MCF of gas.
A gap of this size could lead only to cuts of the gas supply to industry and power stations, with consequent voltage reductions, but New Labour's policy remained to deny anything was wrong.
On 24-hour drinking, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said that New Labour was 'tilting the balance' in favour of the police and residents who wanted to object to late and extended licences. In fact, just 0.5% of such applications 1 in 200 were turned down. Objectors were brushed aside by a legal system biased toward big business and intimidated by the prospect of having to find thousands of pounds for legal costs if their challenge failed.
Under his New Deal, Blair promised to end youth unemployment. He said long-term youth employment had 'virtually disappeared' in November 2004, it was 'virtually eliminated' in October 2005, and it had been 'eradicated' in September 2006.
But Office for National Statistics figures in December 2006 showed that youth unemployment for 16-24 year olds was 14.5% compared with 14.4% in 1997, and long-term unemployment for 18-24 year olds was 75% higher than in 2001.
The Blair approach to government has involved setting targets for all sorts of things then changing the targets to ensure that they are met. In extreme cases, where there is no hope of ever making the target, it is abandoned in the hope that everyone will forget it was ever created. New Labour targets have been blamed for the spread of MRSA in hospitals which are no longer cleaned properly.
The NHS received targets galore, so vast amounts of time and effort were wasted on fiddling waiting lists, excluding patients from waiting lists and carrying out minor operations in preference to major ones to ensure that targets were met. The reason for the desperation to save political face was that the hospital would suffer cuts in its funding if it failed to appear to meet the targets.
A good example is the target for getting an ambulance to a Category A patient (heart attacks, etc.) within 8 minutes, which is worth £10,000 per year to a hospital trust. Ways of achieving the target have included putting back the point at which the clock starts running for the ambulance and reclassifying patients as Category B. New Labour's preferred fiddle is to change the deadline for Category A patients to 27 minutes and make a bloke with some kit on a motorbike equivalent to a fully staffed and fully equipped ambulance.
Elsewhere, Greater Manchester and Thames Valley police officers have targets for making arrests and if they don't arrest enough customers to score 200 'crime points' every month, they're liable to be 'disciplined' or even sacked. The same system has been introduced for the North Wales police but their leadership tried to deny having arrest targets. But a leaked memo exposed the lie.
Tony Blair wept crocodile tears over the decline of the 2-parent family as a result of his policy of wiping out the advantages of marriage in the tax and benefit systems. He also encouraged the spread of 1-parent families with handouts of taxpayers' cash. But to be fair, he also let Gordon Brown screw up the Tax Credit system to give 1-parent families a little unnecessary grief.
Welfare Reform Plans but no action
New Labour was full of plans to reform the welfare system in 1997, and Tony Blair put the MP Frank Field in charge of the process. Blair promised to cut means-testing and welfare dependency, and to reward honesty and hard work.
In 2006, Mr. Field, now no longer involved, concluded that all of New Labour's major welfare and social programmes had failed or stalled, and more people were dependent on means-tested benefit than during the great slump inthe 1930s.
He added that the prime ministerial hopeful Gordon Brown's 2006 claim that Britain was cutting unemployment more effectively than other European countries was just wishful thinking and political hot air. [If not an outright lie. Ed.]