Leftier than thou
George Monbiot attacks 'the most right wing government in history' (the current one, apparently).
He starts with a short list of things which he concedes the government has done right (it's got some odd omissions, of which more later), but argues that 'the catalogue of failures, backsliding and outright destruction is much longer and more consequential'.
Then there are four paragraphs criticising Labour for being allied to the Americans, and some of the consequences of that, from Iraq to arms sales. There's a paragraph on crime where he appears to be arguing that the UK has a more punitive criminal justice policy than China, Burma or Saudi Arabia. Then that the government hasn't regulated businesses enough, or taxed the rich enough.
There's the quickfire round, the government has made it too easy to build houses (boo!) and hasn't built enough houses (boo!), has closed post offices, GPs surgeries (this is the only mention that the NHS gets in his piece) and not done enough about climate change. And to finish off, Labour has also destroyed hope by delaying electoral reforms which would have benefited the party that George Monbiot supports (again, no mention of the Scottish Parliament or Welsh or London Assemblies).
How to respond to this? There are some criticisms which most Labour supporters would probably agree with, even if the overall picture is rather distorted, and where change would be welcome.
Another point to make that people like George Monbiot were writing in 1999 and 2000 that the Democrats were so right-wing that it would make no difference if America elected a 'compassionate Conservative', and there's rather less excuse for this kind of argument now that we know how that turned out.
There's clearly a challenge for the government and for all of us who don't want David Cameron to be Prime Minister to make sure that people don't just dismiss all the achievements of the past eleven years, or only think of the NHS in the context of whatever has been most recently in the news like GPs surgeries.
But I prefer to respond to this article in the style of George Monbiot himself. I note that in his entire article he fails to mention even once the creeping menace of Identity Cards. Or the plight of the Palestinians. It's no surprise that we have such a corrupt and authoritarian government, is it, when establishment commentators like George Monbiot don't even use the platform that they have in the media to hold them to account for these disastrous policies.