The mantra of socialism was coined (I believe) by Karl Marx, bearded loony and German. I was reminded of it the other day on Twitter, by @jenni_jackson, a clever lady who is active in the promotion of Labour and who, I hope, reads this. It is this:
"FROM each according to his ability, TO each according to his need"
It is misquoted in various forms, but the message is the same. What it means is that, in society, everyone should contribute according to his ability, be it financial or in the form of his labour, either in strength or skill. Conversely, everyone should be in a position whereby if they in need of anything and cannot provide it for themselves, they should be helped by the rest of society.
There's not much wrong with that, in principle. In practise, there are a couple of things wrong. One is that it was Marx's proposal for the fundamental tenet of communism. The other is that someone has to make the decision as to what someone's ability is, and what someone's need is. And that decision is too important to be made by a career politician.
And there is a philosophical problem with it, too. The problem there is that it is unarguable in principle, and it is emotive. You can't just brush it away without feeling guilty.
There are many people who for one reason or another will vote for the Labour Party this Thursday. Many will vote that way because they always have done, and because "New Labour" has the word "Labour" in it, and they recognise it. Many will vote for Labour because they are scared of Conservative, and they believe that Conservative means "Poll Tax Riots". Most of these people are too young, blinkered or brainwashed to accept anything different to this view of recent history. But many will vote Labour because of Marx's philosophy.
Allow me to destroy their illusions.
Marx's philosophy was designed to take society down the long road to communism. Fact. Communism doesn't work. Fact. For evidence of this, visit the USSR. The USSR would have been worse, save for a good war and technology. I won't go into to exactly how wonky communism is, you can find out for yourself. Ask a Russian - I believe you can not only communicate with them on the Internet but also arrange to have one shipped over for you to marry, if you are that way inclined.
New Labour, like Labour, have an end-game in mind which is not at all palatable. For some idea of what this end-game is, read 1984 and Brave New World. They're short books, you could read both in a day. They're also both available on the Internet if you can't afford them.
Some of the New Labour Party are not bad people. John Prescott is an example. I am sure that he firmly believes in socialist principles. But then, so do the Conservatives and the Liberals. I suspect that certain other parties also believe in such principles to a certain extent. I doubt that any party in Britain today would get a single vote if they did not espouse at least some philosophy of fairness and equality.
But that's where the good part of the Labour Party stops. Look at the track record of the party over the last thirteen years. Never mind what they say they will do. They have done virtually none of what they said they would do since they have been in power, although they HAVE done a whole lot of things which did not need doing. They have introduced the equivalent of a new law per day, ranging from the needless to the plain stupid. They have introduced levels of control on a scale previously unimaginable. Most of these measures were buried under other news, such is their skill in controlling the media. They have engineered not only society, but also the way society can change government - boundary changes, careful calculation of where benefits will most benefit their chances of re-election. I could go on, but if you read any of the other blogs there are huge lists of their dubious achievements.
Need. It is not the same as want.
Needs include food, water, sunlight. Wants include 42" plasma TV screens with a satellite dish or cable, takeaway curry, cigarettes and vodka.
Wants include children. Needs include education of these children.
Needs include access to a health professional, such as a doctor or a nurse, in times of sickness. Wants include cosmetic surgery and assisted conception.
Needs are things that all people should have. Wants are things that all people could have, if they could afford them. Not everybody could have the luxury yacht and crew enjoyed by Richard Branson who, through hard work, determination and good fortune, can afford one. And he has more money than you can shake a stick at so it isn't unreasonable for him to bung a bit of it towards those who haven't enough. But even if he has a trillion pounds (which he probably has), there is no reason at all to expect him to buy luxuries for those worse off. That isn't society, that's pure, unadulterated pie-in-the-sky nonsense.
And further, and this is indisputable, there is no reason at all for him, or anyone else, to fund someone who can't be bothered to work, or someone who thinks it's a great idea to pop out a child every year because "the state will pay".
And my last small point is a simple one. If the New Labour Party really do believe in a society of fairness and equality, why do they travel around first-class in limos with chauffeurs, on special jets, special trains, their own coaches? Why do they have homes worth millions upon millions of pounds? Why do they have private health care? Why do they then retire on gold-plated pensions and send their children to private schools? Hm?
If you are thinking of voting for Labour, please take a second to consider this.
The Conservatives will maintain the system and people won't starve. The Liberals will do the same. Neither is perfect, but there is none so imperfect as New Labour.
Please, please, for the sake of freedom and democracy, vote sense.
And if you're going to vote Labour, please do me the courtesy of leaving a comment to explain what I missed.