Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke on Trent, gave us all a warning on BBC Question Time yesterday about trusting any other political party to rule Britain.
The subject of UKIP's rise in the share of votes at Thursday's election was always going to be hard to avoid. So Mr Hunt compared UKIP to Italy's newly-emergent Five Star party, which is now in the ruling coalition. "When they get into power," he said, trying to sound aloof and condescending, "what happens is that they just display a total inability to govern."
He said that without a trace of irony.
Clearly he has forgotten that he is a member of the Labour party, whose 13 years in power from 1997 to 2010 were the best example anywhere in history of "total inability to govern". Labour found the country in still reasonable shape and left it in tatters. The Blair-Brown government was a complete disaster. Tony WMD Blair spent billions on two wars that have achieved nothing except slaughter, ruin, shameful atrocities, war crimes and the replacement of one bad government with another. Oh that's not quite true - one other thing they achieved was a rather prolonged enquiry into why or whether a certain scientist cut his wrists under a tree in the woods.
They are such lovely funerals, we still have them here quite often in Oxfordshire, with the flag over the coffin and all that. Thanks, Tony!
Blair deluded himself that he was bringing democracy to other parts of the world. Meanwhile Blair threw away democracy in this country as fast as he could. He introduced detention without charge, for up to 90 days, which is an attack on basic civil liberties. For thirteen years, he signed away more and more powers to the EU and let our companies struggle under the burden of more and more regulations. Blair smiled at the EU mandarins ingratiatingly, showed off his schoolboy French and he even handed back some of the rebate so painstakingly obtained by Margaret Thatcher.
Brown as chancellor had a decade to do something to regulate the banks and the city. Look what a good job he made of it. Massive crashes and extortionate bail-outs leaving us in debt for fifty years to come - maybe forever. Brown was very happy to ask no questions of Fred Goodwin and co so long as the wheels kept turning and the tax kept rolling in, so that he could spend it. Labour set up an online system for people to claim benefits more easily and conveniently. So easily and conveniently that within a year, hundreds of millions of pounds had been swindled out of the treasury. All people had to do was to set up multiple, fake identities with a bank account and then sit back and rake the money in.
Those who read Private Eye will recall the interminable scandal of the NHS computer system, that cost the tax-payer so many tens of millions of pounds, and could never, ever be made to work properly. The fact that it interpreted everybody's birthdate in the American order (month, day, year) led to thousands of patients being mixed up and then denied treatment when they arrived at appointments. My own records were lost for over a year because of this date of birth glitch. All this happened under Labour.
Has Mr Hunt forgotten Brown's gaff over the 10p tax band? I never will. It was a policy that he sprang apparently without any prior scrutiny. Then he was surprised when those on lower incomes protested at having to pay more.
The triumphant finale of the Labour government was the expenses scandal. A government led by the likes of "Lord" Mandelson (twice removed from office for his own shenanigans) presided over one of the greediest bunch of crooks ever to sit in the House of Commons. While crime soared and educational standards plummeted, they filled in forms claiming extra money for refurbishing their holiday homes.
When it comes to "total inability to govern" Labour holds all the Olympic medals. Mr Hunt's smugness suggests that he is completely out of touch.