RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: New Labour’s zombies are on the prowl

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Oh no! It’s 1997 again and New Labour’s zombies are on the prowl

What was I saying last week about going to sleep and waking up in 1973? Yesterday I woke up in 1997.

The headlines revolved around Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the other Miliband brother. They’re putting the New Labour band back together. Not so much early Jake and Elwood as the Return Of The Living Dead from Blues Brothers 2000.

Mandelson’s whispering sweet nothings in Keir Starmer’s ear, Ali Campbell is the go-to guy on every BBC Talking Ballots special and Gordon’s put himself in charge of reforming the House of Lords. Blair’s apparently been giving advice to the Government on absolutely everything, and David Miliband is being lined up for a safe seat and a return to the Foreign Office after the next Labour landslide.

Meanwhile, Trish Hewitt, one of the original Kinnock’s Kittens, has been hired by Jeremy Hunt to sort out the NHS.

You couldn’t make it up.

What wisdom do our current allegedly Conservative leaders think the Blair/Brown retreads are going to impart? 

The last time I saw her she was rugby tackling my old friend and colleague Peter Hitchens on the tarmac at Birmingham Airport as he attempted to question Kinnochio about when he planned to surrender to the Russians.

Crikey, that was during the 1987 general election campaign, which Kinnock convinced himself he was going to win, just as he did, hilariously, five years later at Sheffield.

We really are going back to the future. Bring on Michael J. Fox in a DeLorean.

At this rate it can only be a matter of time before Two Jags turns up again as the Tories’ main man on climate change and the Wicked Witch, heaven help us, is made Lord Chief Justice. In their desperation not to be the ‘nasty party’ — the stupidest thing among many stupid things Mother Theresa ever said — the Conservatives have swallowed whole the Blairite revolution.

Yuman rites, mass immigration, trebles-all-round benefits payments, banging saucepans for the NHS, you name it, this Government can’t get enough of it.

With the possible exception of Sue Ellen, most of the Cabinet would be more than comfortable serving in a Mr Softee New Labour administration. Mandelson famously remarked that he was perfectly relaxed with people getting obscenely rich, provided they paid their taxes. (And provided he got obscenely rich, too, he forgot to add.)

Gordon even kept the top rate at 40p for 13 years, until he decided for a laugh to throw in the 50p band at the death, simply to discombobulate the incoming Tories, a sucker punch they hadn’t got the courage or wit to dodge.

Now it’s a Conservative Government — a Con-ser-vat-ive Government, as Kinnochio didn’t say — imposing the highest tax burden since Clem Atlee was in No 10. As I wrote over a year ago, Rishi Sunak is a Tony Blair tribute act, right down to the insincere catch-in-the-throat speech inflections and the daft Kung Fu Fighting hand gestures.

Mandelson’s whispering sweet nothings in Keir Starmer’s ear, Ali Campbell is the go-to guy on every BBC Talking Ballots special and Gordon’s put himself in charge of reforming the House of Lords

What wisdom do our current allegedly Conservative leaders think the Blair/Brown retreads are going to impart?

Gordon’s not wrong when he says the Lords is a complete dog’s petit-dejeuner, several times the size of the U.S. Senate and the Chinese Red Army, or whatever.

But his plans for reform are a regurgitated version of Two Jags’ regional assemblies nonsense, which was roundly rejected in a series of referendums. It would merely replace the assorted Bufton Tuftons and Ladies Who Lunch with a bunch of gruesome, pocket-stuffing time-servers straight out of Our Friends In The North.

Don’t forget that Gordon was one of the movers and shakers behind Scottish devolution. That, we were promised, was a way to ‘strengthen the Union’. How’s that working out, then, old son?

Blair? What can I say? From potless politician to an international, private jet-setter with a potentate’s lifestyle, who has never met a wealthy tyrant he doesn’t like. But where do you go to my lovely, etc?

Mandelson? M’learned friends advise me against further comment. Wouldn’t keep him as a pet. Alastair? The only bloke I know with a certificate to say he’s sane. He’s the man who brought you the Iraq War on a dodgy dossier about as kosher as Peckham Spring Water.

David Miliband? At least his kid brother had the bottle to stay and fight, instead of floating off to a cushy sinecure playing Parker to Lady Penelope at International Rescue in Noo Yawk. Yus, m’lady.

Where do these people get their sense of entitlement?

Look, don’t get me wrong. Apart from Miliband I used to know these people and liked some of them. I was at Gordon’s wedding, good mates with his missus’s brother. Tony? We liked the same music, we liked the same bands.

Ali Campbell, I knew him when he was still on the sauce. Only fell out with him when he stuck my address on the internet so that trans nutters could shout through my letterbox.

Yet here they all are being resurrected by politicians of both stripes, a quarter of a century past their sell-by date.

Sorry, but if they’re the fount of all wisdom today, we’re in more trouble than we thought.

As they didn’t sing in 1997, things can only get worse.

What? We have to work EVERY Wednesday! 

You can’t say I didn’t warn you. A few weeks into lockdown, I told you that the so-called ‘temporary’ Covid measures would soon become the New Normal.

And so it has come to pass. Not just the ridiculous, empty bike lanes and LTNs and especially the ‘Working From Home’ revolution, which has now become an entitlement. Look, I repeat yet again, I’ve nothing against WFH if it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re paid to do.

But from High Street banks to the Civil Service, working from home has proven to be an absolute nightmare for those of us on the receiving end. No one answers the phone, and even if they do their system inevitably crashes, because the cat’s done a whoopsie on their laptop.

You can’t get a passport or driving licence for love nor money. So-called public ‘servants’ sit at home stuffing their faces with Hobnobs and watching daytime telly, while still claiming generous weighting allowances for travelling up to London.

Yet rather than call a halt to this madness, ministers are now institutionalising it. No such luck for Amazon drivers, posties, or anyone else who has to get out of bed every morning to genuinely ‘serve’ the public.

I’m reminded of the story told by transport workers leader Ron Todd, when he was convener at Ford’s now-defunct Dagenham car plant. He told a mass meeting that the works committee had just secured a bumper pay deal, 30 per cent rise, free company cars all round, three months’ paid holiday and they’d only have to work Wednesdays in future.

A voice from the back shouted: ‘What, every bloody Wednesday?’

Forty years on, only working every other Wednesday is the norm, especially in the public sector.

The game’s up. We are all going to hell in a handcart.

Extinction Rebellion, or whatever it calls itself this week, has taken to invading steakhouses.

On Friday, I was privileged to be one of 450 largely white, middle-aged men celebrating diversity and tucking into Xmas lunch at the annual Saints and Sinners bash at the Savoy hotel. Sadly missing was our lovely old friend Richard Shepherd, Michelin-starred chef and co-founder of Langan’s Brasserie and other fine establishments, who died recently, aged 77.

He was a tolerant host, who didn’t even mind his guests being carried in to Langan’s. But if any eco-nutter had ever tried to occupy one of Shep’s restaurants, they would have found themselves being shown the door, the street and, eventually, the deep end of the River Thames.

Iran is disbanding its morality police, in the teeth of public protests. In Britain, we appear to have disbanded the proper police and set up a morality squad instead — nicking people for ‘inappropriate’ opinions on Twitter and giving safe passage to eco-maniacs blocking main roads.

Mind how you go.

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