This is by far the best account of the Labour government from 2001 to 2010. It is not quite an insider's account, but at least it is honest, unlike Campbell's diaries or Blair's forthcoming memoirs. Observer columnist Andrew Rawnsley has the best contacts among, and the most knowledge of, the small group of selfishly-motivated men who ran Britain from 1997 to 2010.
Rawnsley shows how Blair became Bush's PR man, flying the world, lying for war. In July 2006, Blair backed Israel's attack on Lebanon. At the UN Security Council, only the British and US governments opposed the call for a ceasefire. Kofi Annan condemned Israel's `excessive use of force', inflicting `collective punishment', as a breach of the Geneva Convention. After Israeli forces had killed more than a thousand people, the US worked with France, not Britain, for a UN Resolution calling for an end to hostilities.
His Iraq war did for Blair; his economic record did for Brown. From 1997, Brown tied himself to finance capital, giving it all it wanted. He told us in June 2007 that freeing Britain's banks would bring `the beginning of a new golden age'. He praised the City's `great example' and `remarkable achievements'. In August 2008, he said of the crisis, "This will be over in six months."
Brown shares David Cameron's values and views. In June 2006, Cameron hailed `the victory of capitalism, privatisation and liberalisation'. In September 2007 he said, "the world economy is more stable than for a generation."
Brown handled the crisis by feeding public money to private greed. As Rawnsley points out, "during the frantic negotiations over the bail-out, the banks had not been nailed down to guarantee that they would sustain lending."
In January 2009, a second bail-out brought our total gifts to the banks to at least £289 billion, as against the £203 billion that the financial sector paid in taxes in the previous five years. By contrast, the government gave the car industry just £2.3 billion in January 2009.
Brown said he would not tolerate `rewards for failure' (GMTV, 8 October 2008). But he has tolerated such rewards. 89 per cent of us believe that the government should have stopped the bailed-out banks paying bonuses (Populus poll for The Times, 13 February 2009). But Labour knew better.
There are $10 trillion in tax havens, half of them under British jurisdiction. They were supposed to clean up their act or face sanctions by the end of 2009. What has Labour done about this scandal? Nothing. How about cutting them, rather than our hospitals, schools and colleges?
Labour has worshipped finance capital. It is only fitting that finance capital should wreck it. But what are we the working class going to do? Are we going to let ourselves get dragged down with the wreckage?