Thursday, March 02, 2006

Jowell(gate), and owning nine houses.

Question to Labour members/supporters. I openly describe myself as a socialist (with a distinct, small 's'), and technically the Labour party still believes in Socialism (witha big 'S'). So, why are you a member of a party that is so in touch with its principles that Cabinet Ministers own 9 houses and gifts of $600,000 aren't even mentioned between them?

Seriously. Why? Ah, whatever, I know a lot of Labour members are genuine believers in what the party is supposed to stand for. Shame about the leadership. Still, odds of her keeping a job post-Blair?

Oh yeah. Read. Just because, well, it's another gem from Owen.
My predecessor, Robin Butler, cleared both Jonathan Aitken and Neil Hamilton. They both turned out to be lying. Robin was an upper class toff who could not believe that a member of the establishment would lie to him. I have no intention of repeating that mistake.
Update:Missed this one from Craig:
I simply do not believe her. Let me be perfectly plain. I am calling her a liar. Go on, sue me.


Anonymous said...

technically the Labour party still believes in Socialism

Shurley shome mishtake.

Biodun said...

Who owns 9 houses?

chris said...

Ah! But you forget, she is a high ranking member of The Party. In all Socialist countries it has never been in the least exceptional for high ranking members of The Party to own many houses when many of there population own none.

MatGB said...

Chris, you're being daft, even Tony isn't that bad. If I keep repeating it, I may even believe it.

Biodun, Micheal Meacher, no longer a cabinet minster but still, wrote a book about how owning second homes was evil, or words to that effect. He was later found to own 12 properties, 9 in his name. There are a few other cases. As it happens, I was getting stories mixed up a little, but the point stands; a nominally socialist party should stick to principles, do as they say, etc.

Tories are allowed to own mulitiple properties, it's what they believe in, right? LibDemsa re allowed to as long as they try to pay more tax and do it ethically ;-)

Brian B. said...

I'm sorry, but this is all nonsense. There's no incompatibility between being a socialist and being rich, and there never has been. Even if New Labour hadn't abandoned socialism (which it has, although the Labour Party probably hasn't), it couldn't be a bar to holding a set of political and ethical beliefs, or to party membership, to own any particular number of houses that you care to dream up, or to employ a tax adviser to help you not to pay more in tax than you need to, or to switch your money around from place to place so as to maximise the return you get on it, or to borrow money (by means of mortgages or otherwise) to facilitate money transfers, or to wear expensive clothes or to drink champagne or to eat paté de fois gras if that's what turns you on. The Labour Party has greatly benefited over the years from the generosity of millionaires and I very much hope, as a non-millionaire but fairly well-off member of the party, that it (or we) shall continue to do so.

This sniping at socialists with money is really incredibly old-fashioned. It gives the impression of socialists as exclusively cloth-cap, horny-handed proletarians practising the politics of class envy in an age when there are few such people left, and confirms the kind of image of the Labour Party which kept it in the wilderness through all those disastrous Thatcher years. It's the twenty-first century, for heaven's sake!

Class divisions and gross inequality of wealth, income, and quality of life remain central features of British life that demand the attention of the left. But these social evils demand collective solutions, not meaningless gestures by a few scattered individuals who have been made to feel guilty about having access to a comfortable or even wealthy life-style.


MatGB said...

Hi Brian, I think you made my point yourself:
Even if New Labour hadn't abandoned socialism (which it has, although the Labour Party probably hasn't)

Jowell isn't a socialist. New Labour has given up on the principles upon which it was founded. I know there's a long tradition of wealthy socialists giving money, establishing foundations, etc.

But the leadership of the party no longer believes in such behaviour:
I know a lot of Labour members are genuine believers in what the party is supposed to stand for. Shame about the leadership.

Brian B. said...

I have no idea whether Tessa Jowell is a socialist or whether she isn't. What I do know is that it's impossible to tell whether she's a socialist or not from the fact that she is married to (and now, thanks to some fairly poisonous behaviour by parts of the media and the old fashioned class warriors, separated from) a rich man who moves his money around and has so far been convicted of no offence whatever.