Monday, April 20, 2009

New Labour nonsense - No. 1

I am anxious to develop some blog participation. So I will be running an occasional series of posts called "New Labour Nonsense". Here is the first exhibit - New Labour's efforts to encourage greater respect within everyday life.

Naturally, the initiative required the appointment of a "coordinator for respect", along with a generous salary of salary "somewhere between £75,000 and £159,000."

A coordinator wasn't enough. The UK also needed a "Respect Taskforce", along with a mountain of home office reeducation literature. The objective of the initiative was a "transformation of British manners".

Here are the gory details from a Guardian article first printed back in 2005. Can anyone tell me what happened next?

Louise Casey is the government's "coordinator for respect", according to the Home Office. Lumbered with such an amorphous title - redolent of both Dickensian governesses and Afro-Caribbean street culture - she has become an easy target for mockery.

Despite this, her role as head of the newly created "respect taskforce" places her in a uniquely influential position, implementing one of Tony Blair's most cherished domestic projects. Her performance will inevitably be carefully scrutinised by opposition parties and the media.

Reading the effusive Home Office literature, she appears to have been charged with nothing less than the transformation of contemporary British manners. Her task includes "ensuring that the culture of respect extends to everyone - young and old alike".

If any reader has a nomination for "New Labour Nonsense", please send me an email here.


  1. I thought Coordinator of Respect would be ideally filled by Ali G.

  2. No, Ali G is the coordinate of Respeck

  3. My sincerest appologies for all the deletions above.

    Finally a link that works:

  4. Their website is still up, if that's any help?

  5. I momentarily misread this: "Reading the effusive Home Office literature" as "Reading the offensive Home Office literature" ...

  6. Matthew Paris of Conservative party fame has been keeping a list. Here is a link to a recent article detailing some.