I Gordon Brown, former unelected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, would like to issue a statement on behalf of the Labour Party and formally apologise for almost a decade and a half of Labour rule which I now formally acknowledge has destroyed this once great country.
In doing so, I would like to publically acknowledge just some of the overwhelming mistakes, miscalculations and insidious plots that I have been an integral part of. Since time is short and I have memoirs to write, I will limit the list to 50 areas although let's be honest, I could have probably listed hundreds.
I hope the nation can forgive me. In no particular order:
(1) The Lisbon Treaty
At the last election my party promised all of you a referendum on this crucial European agenda which we then completely reneged on. Furthermore, we tried to insult your intelligence by saying 'ah, this isn't the same thing' despite the fact that it clearly was and we then used pot-kettle-black tactics to shift the blame to the Conservatives for not keeping to their promise of giving you a referendum (despite the fact we had already forced it through so there was nothing left for them to hold a referendum on). We know now that thanks to this Treaty, the new coalition are legally obliged to pump hundreds of billions of your money into European slush funds to help prop up the economies of our European enemies (sorry, my bad, I mean our European partners).
Everything we did as Labour from day one was professionally spun, I admit that. We operated a government that was entirely focussed on tomorrow's headlines and therefore everything we did was for short term gain only. There was never any medium to long term thought applied to anything and we were always afraid to make any big or contentious decisions for fear of getting negative headlines the following morning. We were run by quasi autonomous think tanks and focus groups. We had no spine. I personally was entirely focussed on keeping myself in power, not improving the country. You only have to look back recently to how we got rumbled for trying to spread fake sex rumours online about David Cameron and others in his party. What the hell were we doing? On the first day of my good friend Tony Blair's term in office; the British public were greeted with pictures of enthusiastic flag waving individuals lining 10 Downing Street. Only later did some of you discover that these people were all hand-picked members of the New Labour Party. Thus, from day one, everything we did with 'New' Labour was geared towards image and presentation with no accompanying substance.
(3) Pensions & The Public Sector
There's no hiding from it - to create a false power base, create needless jobs to help massage the figures, to embolden the unions and to help shift the electoral balance - we massively inflated the public sector and created layer after layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. The civil service / government sector all have generous final salary pensions thanks to us. So not only did we inflate this sector to an insane level; we gave them all the most spectacularly generous terms and an unrealistic expectation that this would continue to be the case. I'm sorry but thanks to this, it now means that all of you little people now have to work harder and longer to fund it - the retirement age for everyone else EXCEPT those in the public sector has gone up. If that wasn't bad enough (and I know, I know - I always liked to pretend to be the Iron Chancellor) I dovetailed all of the above by secretly raiding all of your pension pots when you all thought they were ringfenced. Sorry, they weren't. I'm afraid that this is one of the reasons why I have left you all with an impossibly large deficit. There are tens of thousands of you - probably more actually - who paid into pensions all of your lives and you have now been left with nothing thanks to myself and Labour. Everyone else moving forward has been told they're going to need to sort themselves out because the gap is too big to fund (since we wasted all the money and we have an ageing population) your new government and those thereafter will not be able to provide for the people. Oops!
I'm ashamed to say that we didn't do anything about it either for the current or the future victims. Seeing the Chairmen of failed banks walking away with pensions worth in the region of £20 million quid (assuming they live for 20 years) must be even more galling especially when that guy from RBS for example wasn't even legally obliged to be paid a penny, we tried to hush it up but you guys, you're so damn good at finding out about this stuff aren't you? If you have a UK company or private pension then the chances are that most of your money is invested in UK equities. People tend to concentrate on the price of equities when thinking about how well these investments perform but that's a mistake since a large chunk of the returns actually come from the dividends. One of my first stealth taxes I implemented was to abolish advanced corporation tax. I won't go into the details but the end result was that at the treasury I headed up at the time; we got a lot more of the dividend money that those pension schemes used to collect. The total effect was to reduce dividend returns - just like interest on a bank account (although with fewer guarantees) - on money invested in a pension by around 1%. Someone contributing around £400 pounds per month into a pension scheme in total over 40 years will be around £123,000 pounds worse off as a result of this change that I made. In percentage terms that's around 15% less than you would otherwise have had. I know I self styled myself as Mr Prudent but let's face it, I stole more than 100 grand from whole swathes of the population and no-one even seemed to notice, I had to keep pinching myself! The biggest trick the devil ever played was to make people think he didn't exist. Genius!
There is absolutely no doubt that we lied and deceived you and parliament to get us involved in a war with Iraq. Information was either made up by my pal Tony or manipulated and although I have tried to distance myself, we all know that I was Chancellor and PM in waiting so clearly - my hands have got as much blood on them as Tony. It's been a total disaster and brought terrorism to a country that never had it and worse - Islamic terrorism onto our own streets. Regrettably, we just didn't have the spine to say no to George Bush and the financial cost alone - billions - has invariably damaged the UK economy for you all. Again, I apologise.
I - as Chancellor - sold half of our gold reserves at the lowest price gold had been for 20 years. The fact is I disregarded advice from the Bank of England and the funny thing is I didn't even need to sell it at all (I just wanted a war chest to be able to spend on positive headlines). If I had sold it just a year later I would have gotten over 3 times what I did for it. When my HUGE faux pas was finally revealed (I did try to keep it secret for years and avoid questions on it in Parliament) it was treble the price meaning I blew £2 billion quid of your taxpayers money. And I was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the head of the treasury! I know, it's mad! A 10 year old knows that you buy low and sell high, not sell at the bottom of the market, what was I thinking! Gold has been at a record high so lord knows what it would fetch now.
I recognise now that immigration has to be managed and equitable to the existing population. It wasn't under my government but we had to create new Labour voters and shipping poor people in and giving them benefits and better lives helped ensure hundreds of thousands of extra Labour voters for us. Whilst our European neighbours keep their borders well managed, we let millions in and the fact is we never even know how many, we just made up the figures. I acknowledge now that despite what I claimed at the time; their contribution to the economy have been at best been neutral and have more likely been massively negative. At the same time, I helped create a situation where we couldn't even deport known terrorists back to their homelands due to the stupid European regulations we signed up to. Major terrorists were instead given thousand of pounds a year in benefits and allowed to squander millions in legal fees to pursue their cases.
Despite constant manipulation of the figures and changes to the way the figures are reported, I appreciate that you probably don't feel any safer now than you did a decade and a half ago. The fact is, you are probably more unsafe. Knife and gun crime went through the roof under my government, feral teenagers now run amuck and 24 hour drinking (amazingly brought in by us to reduce binge drinking) are just some of the examples of the crimewaves you have all surely experienced in the UK under New Labour. Yes, we brought in Community Police officers (to make it look like there were more police) but I'm sure you've worked out that they are unpaid, they have no powers and they all seem to entirely focus on traffic / parking enforcement (which they do, we wanted the revenue). Legislation was weak, confusing and daft. Did rising the age you can buy a knife really stop knife crime? Of course not. We couldn't even keep people in prison long enough and in fact; we regularly released dangerous nutters onto the streets because we didn't have the guts to build enough prisons or get tough on sentencing. After all of our Labour fanfare about doubling the sentences for people found carrying a knife - the result was that the average sentence was just 4 months (instead of 4 years) for those sentenced with only one single person ever being given the maximum sentence! And those averages were just for those sentenced - 66% of people caught with a knife were let off with no more than a caution! Don't even get me started on the failure of my government to run social services to protect kids like Baby P and Victoria Columbe. We have in just a few years turned the UK into a Vicky Pollard nation under our stewardship. Let's look a little closer at my former governments stupid knife crime initiatives. Remember the scary idea we had of making the criminal visit their victim in hospital? Yes, amazing as it is now even to me looking back but we had this horrendous idea of shocking criminals into behaving differently by taking them into hospital and showing them the results of knife attacks by visiting their victim in their hospital bed. So, you were walking along Oxford Street minding your own business when a hoodie-wearing, knife wielding, toe-rag jumped out and stuck a blade into you before running off with your mobile phone. Whilst in A&E having your guts pushed back in and 200 stitches and while you desperately tried to forget the horror of the whole experience; I planned to send Jacqui Smith and her troop of acolytes crassly into your hospital room (or mixed ward as is usually the case) with the nutcase that stabbed you. I don't know about you but I on reflection; I don't think I'd be best pleased. My first thought would be that he's come to finish off the job before I could ID him and my second thought (if I wasn't completely incapacitated from the stabbing) would be to stab him with whatever surgical instrument came to hand. I mean, maybe meet the victim by mutual consent some time later in a controlled setting (away from sharp implements) to express remorse and contrition but definitely not a bedlam-style tour of the local hospital to relish the output of your criminal life style. Oh and this one's brilliant, remember our plans to send anyone caught carrying a knife to prison (which I already mentioned never actually happened post-headlines). I think that most people will have now noticed the flaw in this which is that this cunning plan would have needed to have been preceded by a simple plan to double the capacity of the UK prison system. But we never did! Doh!
(8) Despotic dictatorship
We are were run by a dictator (me) who got in power through a coup. That's right because none of you ever voted for me (and none of you bastards did this time round either) and in fact; no-one else did. People voted for Blair and you all got me! I was unelected and unaccountable. I was like a kid in a sweetshop! We ignored our own grass roots so what chance did all of you have?
(9) Failure to call an election in late 2008
If your football club was facing bankruptcy - like Britain is - and it was a club like Barcelona where the fans decide both the clubs management team and the CEO then have no doubt that there would have been an election held. Britain was at the time (and still is) in the depth of the worst financial crisis in modern history and we were embroiled in sleaze and expenses fraud. It should have been the case that ALL the parties were given the platform to put to the people their own business plan on how they were going to fix things and let people vote in the management team that they thought could best navigate this crisis - if we had done this maybe things wouldn't be so bad now. Instead both myself and my government desperately clung onto power and refused to let you the people decide. Instead of taking actions to heal the country, we took actions to get positive headlines, we blamed it all on everyone else, we insult your intelligence and we teetered on the precipice. We simply would not take any responsibility for getting you all into this dire position because we were cowboys and like John Wayne said "never apologise and never explain- it's a sign of weakness".
(10) The economy
Based on every previous Labour government, we should never have been trusted to run a sweet shop let alone the world's fifth largest economy. There is no doubt that there are many factors that led to the current financial crisis but the grim truth is we spent your money like there was no tomorrow, we increased government borrowing to a mind boggling level, we allowed runaway property inflation, we plundered your pensions, we wasted trillions on needless bureaucracy, we encouraged unsustainable consumer lending, we failed to regulate effectively, we broke all our own 'prudent' financial pledges / rules, we allowed insane profiteering and in many instances we outright lied and broke all our election promises. This crisis has happened on our watch, we failed to protect you the citizens who elected us, we failed to plan and we thus planned to fail. Yet we still blame America and everyone else! The funniest thing about blaming everyone else is that at the same time; my economic strategy was a big white elephant from day one and that wherever possible we took political credit for economic conditions that in reality had little or nothing to do with us or our policies; all conditions that had in reality resulted largely from global economic changes or, if they had anything to do with British government policy, were the result of policy changes from the Conservatives 20 years ago. The only distinctive policy change I ever presided over was the independence of the Bank of England and even then, I stole that policy from the Liberal Democrats! Then there's unemployment which is currently rising at its fastest rate since 1931. What person in their right mind would borrow money to buy a house under current circumstances? An MP like me with a cast iron index linked public backed pension, expenses to fiddle and no debts maybe - but a normal person with no pension provision, an insecure job, maybe a student loan and some credit card debts? Come on, get real! I'm not proud of it but I have helped push the country towards deflation and deflation is dangerous because people think things will be cheaper tomorrow so they stop buying and feeding the economy yet here we are.
What I Gordon Brown would really like to apologise for is cynically trying to put about the idea that the current economic problems facing the country were all manufactured abroad. There's some truth to this when it comes to food and oil - although looking back, I can't help thinking that Iraq would probably be providing us with more oil right now if we hadn't bombed it to pieces - but like most of what I ever said; it's a complete lie when it comes to the credit crisis. Americans defaulting on their mortgages had no real material economic impact on most of the world and there's no reason why it would have done here in the UK had I exercised some of that prudence I was supposed to possess.
The credit crisis, so my argument went at the time, came about because reckless American banks lent money to people to buy homes that they should have known they couldn't afford. The story continues that when those people defaulted on their mortgages; the banks found themselves without enough money to keep running their businesses and so had to cut back drastically on lending money to people who actually could afford to repay it. The general result was a big fall in economic activity across the pond here in the UK. A more specific result was that banks and financial institutions, in general, and including UK ones, become very wary of lending each other money. Thus the plucky British banks who were supposedly a model of rectitude and Captain Mainwaring style responsible lending have, through no fault of their own, been dragged down by those bloody Americans.
Free of the shackles of office, I can now finally admit that the reality is utterly different and the above was all just a Labour fairy tale. What happened is that our own banks, sucked into the feeding frenzy and ignored by the regulators, also lent money recklessly. Northern Rock was - at its height - lending people 125% of the value of the house they were buying and borrowing the money to do that from people who it had to repay in 3 months time. This was never responsible lending, this was speculation on an ever rising housing market and any brainless idiot could see that the boom would never continue for ever. We just hoped it would last past the next election. Northern Rock made the classic error of borrowing short and lending long and as at every time in the past when this has happened, the final result was a sudden collapse in available credit in a true Wylie Coyote moment. There were all sorts of things that could have been done by myself and my Labour government to counter this tendency and reign the banks in - interest rate rises, more stringent capital adequacy ratios, a stern word or two from the head of the BoE and the most basic of all safety valves - increasing reserve requirements. However; a massive (and ultimately unsustainable) economic boom funded on the never-never suited us at New Labour and so nothing was done by us until it was too late. And then we claimed to be the only party who could fix the problem we made! That's like allowing convicted drink drivers to set alcohol limits or asking a criminal to stich up the person they have just stabbed!
So who exactly was in charge of the UK banking sector for the last decade? Who set the rules by which banks operated? Sure, the Basel 2 convention set some guidelines but it only mandated minimum safety requirements not maximum ones. And agreed, the day to day operations were looked after by the FSA and the BoE, but they both followed government policy. I totally ignored the inconvenient truth that I, as chancellor for 10 years and then as prime minister, was very definitely the place where the buck should have stopped. We tried to make you all believe that Labour had nothing to do with this and that I and my stooge Alistair Darling were the right people to lead you all through the trouble to come. I fully admit now that the situation is dire and that the new coalition have no choice but to make the painful cuts they are making. Again, my bad!
All parties were (and still are) embroiled in this but we at Labour fought for years to stop this information getting out via the Freedom of Information Act. We are still trying to con you by arguing to have future expenses 'independently verified and audited' so that this data then moves from the public domain to the private domain and is then covered by the data protection act (and thus not able to be released to the public outside of an aggregated report that does not drill down on individual expense claims / individual MP's). Labour had their hands in the till - including my senior cabinet members - and we failed to act decisively until we were forced and shamed to do so by the Conservatives and Liberals. Along with Gorbals Mick; we originally made an issue about the Telegraph buying this 'stolen' information instead of acknowledging the content! The way my Labour MP's who got rumbled handled it was appalling and I think the Tories and the Liberals got their own houses in order in a much more effective and transparent way than we did. Our people basically said "oh it was a genuine mistake, I will pay it back, I'll step down at the next election" thus allowing them to top up their obscene pensions and stay in their jobs for another year! On that thinking, should criminals in prison should say "oh it was a genuine mistake that I robbed that plasma TV, I'll pay the money back and it won't happen again, can I now be released?"
(12) The Ghurkhas
We tried and tried to stop the brave Ghurkhas being given the right to live in the UK for years and we only reversed our disgusting position in the face of extraordinary public and media pressure - again, we were simply trying to grab some positive headlines
(13) Tax rises
In addition to the outrageous levels of taxation we levied in this country under our Labour reign of terror (including dozens and dozens of stealth taxes) which mean that anyone earning more than about 40k in reality gives away more than half of their income to the government in direct and indirect taxation) we broke all our election pledges to never increase income tax. We went through the embarrassment in the 2008 budget of actually adding to the tax burden of thousands of the poorest families in the UK (which we then had to embarrassingly reverse) while at the same time we failed to close the numerous loopholes that allowed the very rich to avoid taxation. Inheritance tax was just one disgusting example of how our system failed people.
We failed to invest in the appropriate storage infrastructure like the rest of Europe has; we only had enough storage to hold the gas we purchased for something like 10 days (instead of the more usual 6 months for most countries) which means we always had to buy our gas at current rates and that meant we could never buy it on better long term rates. Every citizen in the UK has seen their utilities bills more than triple in real terms under our Labour regime.
How hard is it to clean a hospital you ask? Tens of thousands unnecessarily died each year from MRSA, C-Difficile etc. Under Labour, you went in for a routine toenail operation then you died of infection from a dirty hospital despite billions and billions being thrown at the NHS by us - mostly frittered away on strategic consultants and other bureaucrats. There was a 28% increase in deaths from C-Difficile alone in 2008's figures despite all the flannel from my government at the time that we were taking tough action.
(16) Civil Liberties
For almost a decade and a half, I was a central figure in a highly authoritarian government (arguably the most authoritarian regime in the Western world) which essentially said to the police and other arms of the state that 'you are the masters now'. We issued act after act of parliament giving the police more or less whatever powers they ever asked for and at the same time; we stripped all you individuals of your privacy or anonymity that would, once, have acted as a counterweight. We ran a a government that legislated to put everyone (except ourselves) on a dangerous new database, that planned to store all your electronic communications in another massive central database (without even bothering to pass an act to allow it) and that then, on the converse side; we passed laws giving the police an excuse to bully people into not photographing them (or snapping London buses for some bizarre reason). Is it surprising that you people get vexed? No, especially not when my government had a consistent history of mismanaging and LOSING your personal data. We ushered through a raft of repressive, authoritarian and illiberal laws, we did our level best to stifle lawful demonstrations against the war in Iraq etc. (whilst protecting the sicko extremists who call for our public destruction). Under myself and my former Labour government, you have endured the suspension of the right to a trial. Indefinite detention. A battery of legislation designed to criminalise the right to even protest or to strike (yet the myth of Thatcher being repressive in these regards is still put out by my party). Even councils were given the power to snoop and eavesdrop on your phone calls by us. And all this from a nanny state we created that blended health and safety fascism with media fads to dictate what you eat, drink, drive, smoke etc. Even our own folly made me laugh one time - we actually stopped volunteers from patrolling Beachy Head to counsel would be jumpers from killing themselves because we said it was dangerous. Once patrols stopped (having saved something like 39 lives up till then), 17 people subsequently killed themselves including two who committed suicide there with the dead body of their child who had tragically died. Our Labour government restricted your civil liberties whilst at the same time we extended the civil liberties of terrorists, child molesters and convicted criminals. Freedom of speech, freedom of association and even freedom to complain were all prevented in some contexts and abused in others. Protestors - when they weren't being murdered and beaten by police - were held under laws designed to prevent terrorism in what was a clear abuse of power. MP's who leaked information in the public interest were arrested and had their private offices searched - without warrant - to deny you all the facts. I could of course go on and on about this - especially about the scandalous DNA database - but suffice to say you all have less civil liberties now than you did before we blagged our way into power. Your children were all to have their details placed on a database known as ContactPoint because one appalling set of scumbags killed a little girl who as I mentioned earlier should have been protected by social services. For the failings of the system we created, all children now have to be considered potentially "at risk". Paedophiles are known to be extremely devious and often very clever people. They have been known to work as teachers, scout masters, priests, policemen, doctors and any number of other trusted professions in order to gain access to children whom they can abuse. So how convenient for them that our government conveniently built a database which - it was planned - would contain such helpful information as the names and addresses of large numbers of vulnerable children. The DCSF estimates that 390,000 people would have had access to ContactPoint. I'm sure that based on our dubious past performance and record of total failure we were sooooo clever that none of those 390,000 people would have been in the least bit dodgy!
(17) I.D Cards
What a waste of money you say! They wouldn't have been compulsory....but we tried to deny this with careful wording by saying they were compulsory, it's just that there will be no requirement to carry one with you. And it would have cost you the people billions! Not just to design the system via increased taxation but for you to then have to go and buy one with your own cold hard cash. Just to prove who you already are!
(18) The MMR Jab
99% of doctors agreed it was safe and the other 1% were utterly discredited but that's not the point. While we the government were insisting it was safe (and even considering measures to ban children from school until they had it and finding ways to punish the parents - classic Nazi tactics), both myself and Tony Blair refused to state whether our own children had been given the MMR jab. It was a a complete lack of leadership from us and yet another clear demonstration of our "Do as we say, not as we do" approach.
(19) The Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
This was one of my favourites. A scam so blatant that even greedy capitalists could hardly believe their luck!
(20) The rail network
"The railways are not a priority" said my good pal Blair at his first cabinet meeting back in 1997. Nobody spoke up, me included. Fares have shot up, services cut, the infrastructure remains squalid and millions were given away to creeps like Beardface Branson. It was Alice in Wonderland economics (or Alistair in Wonderland as I liked to call my chancellor after his made up budget forecasts). The governing organisation has gone bust twice now I think. Britain has train fares two to three times what they are in comparable European nations yet our trains travel at a fraction of the speed, are usually late, cramped and filthy. But hey, we helped build a great and powerful union that can hold the public and the government to ransom at will!
(21) City academies
Both I and my party Labour fundamentally despises state education so we took secondary schools away from local authority control and gave them away to wealthy entrepreneurs with lavish subsidies. How can you possibly make money out of a school (and why should you anyway)? Answer - Only if the state gives you hand-outs. It also turned out that right-wingers liked the idea because it gave them the power to introduce their own loopy ideas into the curriculum such as creationism. We despise Grammar schools (even though most of our senior members were educated at private boarding schools etc.) and we were obsessed with preventing talented, gifted kids from being able to go to selective schools thus forcing them to remain at a purposely handicapped level - just because it doesn't fit in with our traditional Labour values. Despite this, it is scandalous that public schools (funny enough the ones that the likes of Blair and Mandelson went to) got tax relief as charities. It was a mind boggling scam created by us that no political party who claims to be interested in social equality would ever tolerate for a moment yet here we are.
(22) David Kelly
A noble man thrown to the wolf pack by my friend Blair and then bullied into 'suicide' by Labour, if it was even suicide at all (you'd have to speak to Tony and MI5 on that one, I'm saying nothing).
(23) The complete annihilation of council housing
Public sector housing effectively vanished under Labour. Rents rocketed. Hundreds of thousands live in squalid accommodation in conditions that are totally unimaginable to us smirking fat cats in Labour with our second home subsidies. If you want a new sofa then you go to DFS or Ikea and pay for it with our own money. Us Labour MP's have to instead have toffish antique furniture that no-one can actually sit on and that you the public have to pay for.
(24) Tuition fees and student loans
The annihilation of the culture that learning is valuable for its own sake and that the state should give people the right to three years of free higher education with free grants before they plunge into the world of salaried employment was killed off by us at Labour. Instead, we charged the students for the education they should be entitled to and encouraged / created debt and guess what.... it is Labour created debt that has killed Britain. Whoops!
(25) The Dome
Never forget the Millenium Dome. Even now it is still draining the public purse and was a total white elephant from the offset. More Tony's fault but I admit, I was Chancellor and I did sign the cheques.
(26) Funding scandals
Even though I was PM and Chancellor, I can't actually remember all the various funding scandals for Labour and the alleged instances of cash for peerages but there have certainly been a lot. We spent £60 million pounds on public advertising in just three months back in 2001. And back at the last election; the husband and salaried employee of 'Dinner Party' Claire Curtis Thomas MP (Crosby) was out committing criminal damage by trying to destroy Conservative public advertising. I'm afraid this didn't surprise me since we have all been desperate to cling onto power no matter what the cost. We created a monster.
(27) The elderly and disabled
First off, Im sure most right people utterly despise the concept of means testing. You hate the fact that pensioners who have worked all their lives and paid taxes were forced under my Labour government to sell their own houses to pay towards care in a rest home. The elderly were given derisory increases in their pensions under my government. Help for the disabled was reduced. On the first occasion (and there have been many) when we introduced new legislation in Parliament to REDUCE assistance for the disabled, Blair was actually busy holding a glitzy function at 10 Downing Street for the wealthy party contributors. Again, this provides an excellent example of how we believed image, spin and money were far more important than the needs of you the people.
(28) Lord Peter Mandelson
Here he was again, this time at my side during the election. He was unelected and back in cabinet for a third time with a peerage despite all the corruption scandals and European gravy training. And he's the one who mouthed off on my behalf about expenses scandals. Pot....kettle.....
(29) Fox hunting
2000 hours of Parliamentary time were wasted on the Fox-Hunting bill. Even if you agree with the outcome - I admit now that this was a total misuse of government time. It made good headlines though.
(30) War criminals
Well, we've had loads in this country ranging from General Pinochet to Rwandan genocidists and we did sod all about them either in terms of agreeing to extradition requests or making prosecutions. Yet when a few traders in the UK made some money on Enron - we made sure they got extradited quick pronto and without question to the US to face life sentences (despite the fact their so called 'crimes' were committed in the UK by English people so really we should have told America to get lost on that one). We sat and we watched while war crimes went on in places like Sudan and we did nothing. We witnessed aghast the situation in Zimbabwe and we did nothing except posture. We continued to do business with despotic states like Saudi Arabia who torture and abuse their own people.
(31) Things you could do pre-1997 that you can't do now
You cant smoke in a pub or on a railway platform in the open air in the middle of the countryside, or at a covered bus stop, or in your own car if it is used for work, or in your own house if it is used as an office where outsiders may come. You can't own a horse, donkey or Shetland pony without possessing a passport carrying a picture of the animal. You can't ride off with a pack of hounds in pursuit of a fox or stag. You can't play the piano in a pub without an entertainment licence. You can't stage more than 12 events a year at, for example, a school or church hall at which alcohol may be served without getting and paying for a full licence. You can't set off a firework after midnight or be in possession of a firework if aged under 18 at any time other than the period around Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve. You can't own a pistol for any purpose, including sport target practice (so if you are an Olympian preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London then your training must be pretty difficult). You can't stage a protest of any sort, even if alone, within 1km of the Palace of Westminster and also without the authority of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. You can't fish in many places without authorisation. You can't go down to see the Titanic without specific written permission from the Secretary of State even though it's in international waters. You can't import into England potatoes that come from Poland (although I reckon that you could legally import Polish people). You can't obstruct the work of the Children's Commissioner for Wales upon pain of draconian punishment. You can't drink on a London Underground train or bus. You can't keep a car on your own driveway without tax, even if it not being used, without filling in a form. You can't sell a grey squirrel (although you can kill one). The real point here is the sheer level of bureaucracy we introduced under our Labour government was extraordinary. We created new offences at twice the rate of the previous Tory administration we did so at an ever accelerating pace. While you may support some or all of these new laws, what cannot be denied is that as a result of our actions, you have all experienced a frenzy of law-making that has changed the character of the nation in a way that many of you neither expected nor wanted.
(32) IT Systems
We literally wasted billions of pounds on failed IT systems. Useless Labour idiots you may say but that's what comes from a top-heavy administration. While I now have utter incredulity over my own claims that crime had fallen; you were are all surely frustrated at the inane regulations, the unjustified use of fines and charges, the bloody-minded parking restrictions, unreasonable European directives, multiculturalist busybodies and the vast, overpaid and largely useless quangocracy disconnected from the rest of us and abused to hell by us MP's to line our own pockets.
The one great engineering triumph we have achieved since WWII and a fabulous example of the Great in Great Britain was killed off for good under my watch. We spinelessly sat back and let the fat cats at British Airways kill it off to increase their profits.
(34) The Welfare State
Perhaps our greatest failing as Labour was the incomprehensible enlargement of the welfare state which has ironically made so many people increasingly dependent on benefits that it has entirely removed the incentive and benefit of work thus dragging the wealth generating section of the economy down. We created a system that was too big and it simply doesn't work any more. It's abused at every turn. It's surely even more irritating to you all to see the millions of people streaming over here from Europe and beyond to suck on our collective tit.
(35) No substantive House of Lords reform
We promised this yet the second stage was abandoned. So you're still stuck with a legislative chamber that is also the supreme judiciary in the UK. It simply can't be both. If this was the case in other countries, those countries would be labelled as corrupt with no clear separation of powers. The House of Lords needs to be revamped and will under the new coalition because it needs to be wholly elected to give it greater legitimacy. I'm afraid that we here at Labour reformed it in such a half arsed way that it was hardly worth doing anything to start with. Yes, we abolished all hereditary peers but we were too scared to implement a wholly elected or even a partially elected upper chamber.
(36) The West Lothian Question & Devolution
We did naff all about this and it must irritate those of you in England in a big way. Why is it that Scottish MPs are allowed to vote on specifically English issues whilst English MPs can't do the same for specifically Scottish issues just because Scotland has a devolved government you ask? The Tuition Fee Bill was passed with the vote of Scottish MPs whose constituents weren't even affected! They should have abstained from voting but they voted for the bill even though they rejected it in Scotland - just to annoy English people and cost them up to £6k a year to study at university. As a Scot, I can only apologise for our pathological hatred of the English. We promised you devolution yet we desperately held onto the Scottish, Welsh and N.I. states despite opposition. All three states have delegated powers so Westminster is still the supreme authority. Without getting too technical and boring…that basically sucks if you aren't me! The three states should be wholly independent or closely allied with Westminster. Not this halfway house. So; devolution was also half-arsed and has given rise to an even bigger problem to the English electorate.
(37) Hairbrained Labour Ideas
You people may be shocked at the whole expenses fiasco but it's peanuts compared to how much money we threw in the gutter with our idiotic ideas. Such as the one to create the NHS Super Database thingy. It cost £12bn at the last count, it never got up and running and it's going to be abandoned soon anyway so that £12bn was a despicable waste of money. I'm sad to concede but Labour do have a consistent history of coming up with seemingly ok ideas then watering them down and implementing them appallingly.
(38) Election System
You were promised by my Labour Party a report and referendum on the FPTP [First past the post] system after our election in 1997. Yes, you are still waiting (although thanks to the new coalition, this will now likely happen). Having an independent report and referendum on the matter should really have been essential when it was written into our election manifesto! You may have recognised though that once it looked clear that I and Labour would resoundingly get hammered at the election, I conveniently started talking about electoral reform plans. Why did I suddenly about turn and become so interested in electoral reform? Did it not seem odd to you that I had fought against it for over a decade (in addition to fighting against boundary changes) yet I suddenly decided to look at electoral reform! I hold my hands up, I was sneakily trying to rig the election system so that Labour either we didn't get beaten (but we got rumbled and it was just too blatant a stunt even for me to pull off) or that they retain some kind of power at the next election in five years time by laying the foundations for an element of proportional representation via the back door - something I repeatedly said that I fundamentally did not support for Westminster. The fact is I had to do this because I know that it is unlikely we will ever get in power again!
(39) Home Information Packs
A pointless tax on housing transactions that didn't raise much money for my treasury and actually hindered the property market.
(40) The Olympics
I'm afraid that this was yet another London centric financial commitment. Somewhere around £10 billion pounds worth of construction of one sort or another and unsurprisingly 99% of it is in trendy London and shock horror - it's MASSIVELY over budget. We didn't get anywhere near the commercial sponsorship we needed so that bill also got added to your collective tax bill. OK, if we really have to have this ridiculous event in the country you say then I agree that we probably need to build a stadium big enough to hold the main track and the field events but that's it. Every other event could easily have been held in existing venues and I'm sure that there are enough blocks of empty 'executive' apartments being built in London already for a bulk purchase to have been made as a substitute for building an entirely new Olympic village. I'm afraid though, this was ignored and we just bumbled on as ever.
(41) Speed Cameras
Let me finally admit that the vast majority of these are not about safety, they are about raising revenue in a covert manner. Aside from the deceitfulness involved, I'm sure you could stomach this if they were actually an efficient way of raising revenue but they're simply not because so much administration, legal process and technology is required. It would have been far better to get rid of the ones that are not actually about road safety in any meaningful way and put up car tax instead. If half the money saved by this had been spent on things that actually do improve road safety then you would all have been better off. But you aren't.
(42) Regional development agencies
We spent £2 billion pounds a year on these pointless organisations. Why? I don't even know myself.
(43) Export guarantee scheme
A daft scheme whereby our government guaranteed that arms exporters - and it is mostly arms exporters - got paid for goods delivered to dodgy overseas governments and other organisations even when the end customer decided not to cough up. Aside from the fact that this was just plain wrong, there's commercial insurance available for exactly the same purpose so we gave away something very costly for no reason.
(44) Walter Wolfgang
This elderly lifelong Labour member said something like "rubbish" during one of our Labour party conferences (freedom of speech during a free association of Labour members). Our acolyte hierarchy immediately had the Police spring into immediate action in the conference hall where they man handled him and arrested him under anti-terrorist legislation. Yet again, as mentioned earlier, the Police used powers we granted to them by our most authoritarian of governments to ride roughshod over long fought for democratic rights and freedoms and you are right to assume we continued to do so. Give the Police powers and they will, with absolute certainty, use them and more likely abuse them - after all, what other point is there to having power in the first place? We built a politically motivated police force under Labour that has consistently maimed or murdered citizens be it Jean Charles De Menezes, the Forest Gate terror raids (where the Police shot an entirely innocent man) or the protestor who was killed in London.
(45) Pam Warren
It pains me yet again to admit but Steven Byers got caught doing something profoundly scary and deeply anti-democratic whilst serving as our transport minister. What Byers did was that he instructed his and my cronies in the Labour Party machine to dig up dirt on Pam Warren, the rail safety campaigner who was severely injured in the Paddington rail disaster (you may remember seeing her on television wearing a plastic face mask being used to treat some of the burns she sustained in the accident). He planned to use that information to discredit Ms Warren and thus silence her inconveniently noisy campaign. It was a nasty thing to do but then again, we were a nasty government so what did you expect?
(46) The BNP
Our total mismanagement of the UK and our constant head in the sand approach to immigration got us into a position where the sickening BNP grew in power to the extent that they are now sending Nazis to Europe to represent us which is bitterly ironic. The rise of the far right is a direct result of our behaviour and policies. Even UKIP, a useless one policy party was propelled to second place in the European vote.
(47) A cabinet ran by non elected members
I put the misogynist workplace bully Alan Sugar in government as a business tsar (with his free Labour advertising on BBC1 which disadvantages all other parties) and he got a peerage in exchange for one million quid in donations. We also rewarded him for his Labour donations by backhanding him a massive NHS computing contract for his Viglen brand. I've already mentioned the non-elected Peter Mandelson - my former number two as 'First Secretary' - who was NOT an MP and not accountable to the public. Well, I actually had 7 peers who are part of the Cabinet (Thatcher never had more than 3) and it was actually the first time for half a century that two government departments (Business and Transport - both key areas in this financial crisis) were ran by peers. This was NOT DEMOCRATIC and I apologise. My government had over 30 peers in total! Not only was my cabinet the most divided in history, it was also the most undemocratic and most unaccountable to the suffering public. The fact was that due to all the resignations and infighting; my cabinet was dangerously light on real experience during the entire financial crisis. Alistair in Wonderland was going to get fired by me but factionalism prevented me from doing so. Rather than choose the best man for the job in this crisis I ended up with a muppet running financial crisis management because I simply couldn't to upset some of my key allies. It was actually Mandelson who proved the sticking point in picking the right people - well, the right people amongst what was left of any experience - in the right positions. As usual, I put Labour first and then Britain / the people second. I am also sorry to admit that gravy train loving Glenys Kinnock (again a peer) was been made Europe Minister. She had absolutely no experience of ministerial office and was in the bottom 10 of all our MEPS on her voting record, campaigning activity, transparency and parliamentary questions asked. She is a peer, she sits in the House of Lords and she was thus not accountable to us the people. So in summary, we had a government dominated by non-elected peers on a level not seen since the late 1800's.
(48) The 65th Anniversary D-Day commemorations
Myself and the Foreign Office cocked up spectacularly here by not getting the Queen an invite. She is the only living head of state who actively served in WWII yet she wasn't there because of me and I know now that this upset our veterans hugely (many of whom wore a photo of her over their medals at the parade). Neither myself, Obama or the French President were even born at the time - yet we took all the credit at the memorial. I am ashamed to say that in my speech, I even called Omaha beach 'Obama beach'. Clearly, I had Obama on my mind as I was (like the French surrender monkey also) clearly trying to bask in Obama's political glow at the time.
(49) Electoral Fraud
We removed all electoral roll counter-measures to prevent fraud and brought in postal voting for whoever wanted it. Just one example of how awful this has turned out to be was that there were 5,000 fake voters registered in Tower Hamlets alone during the recent election campaign.
We never minded because generally the result benefited us.
To cap what was already an awful election campaign, we all know that I shockingly referred to one of my own Labour voters as "that woman" and a "bigot" just for mentioning the word immigration. She just pissed me off I'm afraid because people don't seem to understand that even mentioning the word immigration is racist. We've worked hard to create a politically correct state that creates new language where none is needed. Take the term mixed race for example. I am proud to say that I have been able to spearhead a government that has made even that phrase (which replaced half-caste) racist. Now, we have created a new term, "duel heritage". Genius, now no-one has any clue that it refers to anything.
So that's it my friends. 50 mistakes myself and Labour made over the last 13 or so years. I'm sure my apologies ring false and I hope I have not made you want to never believe another word that comes out of my mouth because I have one more thing to say….
Never, ever, vote for Labour again.