Friday, 15 August 2014

Socialist Feudalism

Socialist Political dynasties are not a new thing .... the North Korean regime has been run via hereditary Chairman since its inception, and is held up top some ridcule for its 'inherited politcal power as Kim Il-sung, passed the baton on to son Kim Jong-il who duly passed it on to the latest supreme ruler, Kim Jong-un.

North Korean Socialist Dynasty
Then of course there are the almost Byzantine political dynasties of India, headed by the Nehru–Gandhi family who own/run the Indian centre left Congress Party. A member of this family has been in charge of India for 40 of the 60 years since independence. Things aren't much better when they are not in charge.  

Political Dynasty - Indian Feudalist Style.

However much nearer to home, the Labour Party in UK practises the same thing .... albeit on a more modest scale ...

The Benn's:

Apart from the late 'Tony' Benn, Stephen Benn his eldest son is a Labour MP. His Grandfather William Wedgwood Benn and his great-grandfathers, Sir John Williams Benn and Daniel Homes, were also MPs, and now 25 year old Emily Benn, Tony's granddaughter  is the candidate for Croydon South. She is not expected to win, but by competing in two losing seats (she has already unsuccessfully contested the East Worthing and Shoreham seat in 2010), she paths the way to be parachuted into a safe northern seat (like both the Millibands and Peter Mandelson were), for the next election in 2020. She will be just 30 yrs old - who says privilege and patronage isn't alive and kicking in the party of socialist ideals.       

The Kinnocks:

Neil Kinnock, aka 'The Welsh Windbag' , but a man who has done well out of UK politics, as first leader of the Labour Party, and even better out of European politics when he became a Vice President of the EU Commision ... but then so has his family. His wife Glenys Kinnock became first a Welsh MEP in the European Parliament, and then an MP, with no real effort beforehand. In March 2014 it was announced that a son, Stephen Kinnock had been selected as the Labour Party candidate for the seat of Aberavon in Wales for the General Election of 2015.

The Straw's:

Jack Straw is a Labour MP, and former Home Secretary, and Foreign Secretary, in the last Labour government. It was announced recently that his son Will Straw aged 32, was now the Labour Party candidate for 'Rossendale and Darwen' in the forthcoming General Election of 2015.  

None of that 'time serving' for a decade as a local councillor, before getting a chance to stand for Parliament, for these new breed of 'professional Labour' politicians ... nope, just a nod and a wink, and then a hop, skip and jump into a safe seat, and a cushy life in Parliament - apparently fully qualified to break Britain even more than the 'New Labour' experiment that produced both the Millibands (Edward and David), Peter Mandelson, Harriet Harman, and Ed Balls et al. What incentive there is for Labour local Party councillors and activists, in this system of patronage its hard to imagine.   

In the Commons last month, current Prime Minister David Cameron described Labour's political dynasties as the "same families with the same message" ... but I would have gone further and described it as 'socialist feudalism'.

It seems that in some areas, 'it ain't what you know, but who you know'  that matters.


  1. It must be annoying for those who don't have the family connections (or work in the PM's private office), and who want to be a MP. What is the point if friends and family of the elite can be parachuted in to the vacancies? I believe that nepotism, cronyism and corruption are terms that cover the situation.

    1. I agree, and not wishing to condone nepotism, it is a very natural, human practicality. One may equally lament one's father not being a baker when hoping to make and sell cakes for a living.
      As normal and inevitable as it may be in other businesses, it's not acceptable practice in public office, because unlike a bakery, a public office doesn't belong to the incumbent.

    2. The Scottish Labour Party has a history of some very murky dealings, especially on the west coast, but never been directly accused of being party to the phenomenon of Labour's "red princes" .... however Glasgow Central MP Anas Sarwar 'inherited' the seat from his father Mohammad. His father somehow became the governor of the Punjab in Pakistan after leaving the Commons in 2010 .... should people with foreign nationality even be allowed to be MP's in the UK?

    3. Personally I think it just stinks of socialist hypocrisy. It also happens in 'broadcasting' where the children of the famous are given TV shows as though hereditary factors make them better qualified than other children.

    4. Nepotism isn't unique to socialists. It is undoubtably 'socialist hypocrisy' in the context of this article but I suspect that it is more prevalent on the right, your point being, perhaps, that it's not hypocrisy in those cases because the right doesn't preach fairness - that may not be hypocritical but it is equally unfair.

    5. I found little evidence of the modern 'Red Princes' phenomena, on the Tory right (I don't count economic nepotism when they own the company, as its natural for families to pass business control to their children.), and I class it as 'Socialist Hypocrisy' because they actively preach 'equality in their party constitution .....

      Party Member Sections promoting equality of respect, status and opportunity for all persons, so as to enable their individual and full participation in the social, economic and cultural life of the nation, regardless of considerations such as marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, colour, nationality or national or ethnic origins, including membership of the Traveller Community, and dismantling invidious discrimination against persons by reference to such considerations.

      .... which by promoting their children and friends into vacant MP roles, they are blatantly ignoring .... Hypocrisy!


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