The mover of Labour's motion was Councillor Martin Gannon. Martin has an interesting and colourful political history. Back in the 1980s, he was one of those who had pitched his tent on the left of the Labour Party, militantly holding to his socialism. In the 1990s, with Blair having given the Left an eviction notice to pack up their tents and go away, Martin reappeared in a flashy new suit, with flashy new views and a new Blairite outlook on the world that was so New Labour he squeaked when he walked! Alas, Martin's conversion to the Blairite Faith did not quite achieve the personal results he wanted. His attempt to be selected as Labour candidate for Blaydon didn't get far. David Anderson won the prize instead, on an anti-New Labour, posturing left wing platform though once elected to Parliament he instantly turned into a Blair babe, never once voting against the Labour government despite his claim he was not an "identikit" New Labour man. Martin's delayed consolation prize was to become deputy leader of Gateshead Council. Quite where he stands on the political spectrum now however is as clear as mud. Everyone in the Labour Party now claims to have been against Blair from the start. Quite what they are for is a debatable point and that goes for Martin as well.
Anyway, Newly-Old Labour Martin delivered his speech with an incredible claim that Labour left a golden legacy when they left office. Not even the Labour Dictionary of New Speak has come up with a definition of "golden legacy" to mean an appalling mess of record debt, poverty, crisis and unemployment, though by the looks of it, the Labour Dictionary is about to be rewritten. Martin then went on to claim that the Government was unelected. Perhaps Martin may not be aware that there was an election in 2010 and the combined vote for the two parties now in office was 61%, unlike the last Labour government which got 36%, less than the Tories got last year. What gave Labour their majority was the gerrymandered voting system and boundaries.
The seconder of the motion was Cllr Gary Haley. He opened by saying he had had only 2 hours notice that he was going to second the motion. He then spent a few minutes demonstrating the accuracy of what he had just said. Preparation time had clearly been lacking and so he rested his case too on this amazing claim that Labour had left a golden legacy. Cllr Haley however seemed a bit of an odd choice to speak. I remember his failed attempts in the early years of the last decade to unseat my in my ward. He posed as someone Tories could vote for, claiming that Conservative voters were swinging to him in large numbers to unseat me (they weren't!) I reminded him in my response that his campaign against me was based in part on opposition to the 50p income tax rate the Lib Dems supported. Mr Haley was all for protecting the rich against tax increases nasty leftwingers like me wanted to impose!
The classic moment during my speech however was seeing the expressions on the faces of Labour councillors when I referred to the real legacy they left us. Some were incredulous with rage when I pointed out the increased level of unemployment, debt and poverty they left us. It seems that many in Labour believe unemployment, poverty and the economic crisis only started in May 2010 when they were removed from power by an illegal coup of unelected Tories and Lib Dems who are occupying Downing St and the corridors of power. Their tortured expressions when they were reminded that they left office with 2.5 million unemployed, up nearly one million from 1997, shows they have a huge difficulty dealing with the painful truth about their own record. To cope with it they have descended into an incredible state of denial. As far as they are concerned, the world was wonderful when they left office. Their claims that they left a golden legacy of a booming economy that was growing strongly just show how out of touch with reality they are.
Sent via BlackBerry