Because from hope comes change
So the United Nations route
And there is only one answer
I only know what I believe
In short, often verbless, always breathless and largely meaningless: but received with uncritical adulation none the less.
In the fevered world of Blair's overblown rhetoric, Britain seconded the mighty US to bring democracy and development to a world unable to solve its own problems -
Our friendship with America is a strength
The US is the only superpower
And it's not so much American unilateralism I fear. It's isolation
Blair sold conferences a sanitised version of Britain. Gone was the ruthless imperial past with its legacy of bad government and underdevelopment. Gone too was the role of British companies in reinforcing that underdevelopment through exploitation of the resources and labour of weak economies. There was no mention of the baneful effects of arms sales, or agricultural subsidies or over-restrictive patents. Instead we had a vacuous, context-free picture of a benevolent Britain as faithful squire to the US paladin, whose Sixth Fleet and Marine Corps were bringing freedom to the benighted.
If you thought we had done with all that, think again. Having presided as chancellor over the most unbridled decade of capitalist greed since the nineteenth century, our new prime minister emerges as if from a chrysalis and on cue for conference as the leading advocate of - guess what - global market regulation. Indeed we in Britain, and he as its leader, are to ally ourselves with the collective wisdom of the US financial establishment to deliver nothing less than a reformed global capitalism. This stronger international regulation will be based in the IMF, that same IMF savaged by Joe Stiglitz in Globalization and its Discontents for its role in bailing out Western banks which had made unrepayable loans to developing countries, leaving the locals with economies in ruins.
The best of it is that this conversion comes immediately after the US authorities have sent an unmistakeable message to the capital markets. By purchasing the banks' ill-judged loans they are excusing and mitigating the consequences of past excesses and foisting the bad debts not only on to today's taxpayers but on to future generations. It is the poor who will pay through underfunded or absent services while the financial dance floor is cleared for the ball to start all over again.
Maybe there is something about Labour Party conferences that brings out the folie de grandeur in its leaders. But perhaps they ought to pay heed to the steadily eroding respect at the UN and elsewhere for empty Western good intentions, whether on human rights or the subordination of financial markets to social goals.