The party of perpetual opposition?

January 9, 2012 9:15 am

Author:

Share this Article

Lots of people will have been pondering the state of the Labour Party recently. Unless you are particularly deluded, it’s not hard to see that our fortunes aren’t looking great. Even if you put aside future prospects, the emotional toil that comes from constant and regular negativity toward one’s political party can wear down even the most loyal members. Ed Miliband’s leadership was meant to be the beginning of a new phase in our party’s history, drawing a line under the very painful three-year government of Gordon Brown. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, his leadership now looks like an 18-month extension of that painful period culminating with our election loss in 2010.

Day after day discussion is about the state of the leadership, not about the issues that matter. This has accelerated markedly over the last couple of months – talk of who will replace Miliband is now common in political circles. Week in, week out, there’s a new indication of a leadership crisis, from dire approval polls (the latest one puts Miliband a point behind Clegg, who is himself 23 points behind Cameron), to the farcical handling of Diane Abbott’s racist comments last week. The poor guy can’t even run a Twitter account properly, as demonstrated spectacularly on Friday when he or a staffer mistakenly tweeted ‘Blackbusters’ instead of ‘Blockbusters’, in a week of heightened racial tension.

But as tempting as it is to hang all the blame for Labour’s woes around Ed Miliband’s neck, I’ve been wondering lately if our problems run deeper. I wonder if there is some sort of malignant cultural or psychological force in the party’s psyche which manages to constantly renew itself. There are patterns of behaviour which repeat themselves in our history. For example, we only served more than one concurrent term once (under New Labour). We’ve only been in power for 30 years in the 110 years since our founding (thirteen of which under New Labour). When we lose power we tend to stay out of power for long periods. We select leaders who consistently fail to connect meaningfully with the nation they seek to be prime minister of.

I argue therefore, that the current troubles facing Labour are simply a manifestation of age-old patterns and attitudes. We left power and the party elected a leader who is ideologically pleasing to left-wingers, but who the electorate see as aloof and strange. After sixteen years of New Labour – a formula which was proven unequivocally to work (three concurrent Labour terms in office) – the majority in the party are desperate to run away from political success to the hinterland of left-wing back-patting and earnest, well intentioned, but wholly useless and ineffective opposition. The pattern is repeating itself.

Why is it that a man who led Labour to three election successes is so hated, but leaders who, for example, have lost Labour two elections in a row are lauded as heroes? I just cannot for the life of me get my head around it.

Tony Blair is partly to blame for today’s mess though. He did not complete the job which he set out to do in the early-mid 1990s; the Labour Party was only temporarily reformed and the proof is in the pudding. He didn’t bring up enough reformist talent behind him to lead the fight for the next generation. David Miliband was a weak successor in waiting without the fire needed to go for the jugular and save the party from suicide in 2010. James Purnell didn’t have the political clout needed to rise to prominence in time. Meanwhile, Brown and his motley crew were wise enough to plant the seeds for future leadership and clear the way for them, hence the make-up of today’s Shadow Cabinet and the leadership itself.

The overwhelmingly negative reaction to Tony Blair has also set something ablaze in the wider psyche of the party. Would-be future reformists, Blairites, New Labourists, visitors from Mars, right-wing Labourites, whatever you want to call them, are not encouraged or supported in their endeavour up the party hierarchy. The chips are stacked against them. The message from the top is that people who thought the New Labour model, or a model similar to it, is the right way to run the Labour Party or the country, needn’t bother bringing those thoughts and ideas into the work of the party today. Assimilate, fit in, go left or go home. Stand up at a CLP meeting and set out a vision anything like New Labour, and expect to be heckled. The cycle is not only repeating itself, but entrenching itself in the shape of a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) with a shortage of spine and a shortage of different, compelling ideas and visions to the current groupthink at the top of the party.

This is a recipe for disaster for the foreseeable future. How is it that we finally stumbled upon a model which got Labour out of its perpetual doldrums but are so inept at learning its lessons for the 21st century? Are we that intellectually vacuous that we aren’t able to disagree with some of Blair’s politics but yet learn the essence of his political approach which led to three terms in a row for a Labour government? Did the successful and authoritative New Labour project fail to re-invent the party for the 21st century?

Labour served in office for 30 of its first 110 years of existence. If the patterns I’ve described continue to be perpetuated by the groupthink, lack of boldness, attachment to out-dated political arguments, very, very poor leadership and a failure to bring up a varied and talented next generation, I guarantee that we won’t spend much more than 30 of the next 110 years in office either. Labour politics is meant to be the politics of care and attention to those in the world who need it, it’s about finding a vision of a better Britain and spreading opportunity as far and wide as possible. We have achieved lots in our time in office, but what purpose does it serve being the perpetual party of opposition?

Editor’s note: A number of readers contacted us with regard to the riginap title of this post – “The political cancer at the heart of the Labour Party”. We have taken those comments on board and amended the title. Apologies for any offence caused.

  • Simon B

    Great piece. 

  • Anonymous

    “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” ( Matthew 16:26)

    Sacrificing most of your moral principles and core beliefs in order to win an election perchance?

  • Jonathan Roberts

    Luke, absolutely 100 percent completely and utterly spot on.

    Blair once said the only Labour tradition he ever hated was losing. Sadly some revel in it.  I fear that the party will soon forget how to win again and, if we’re not careful, a long spell of opposition awaits.

    I fear you only have to look at the comments on LL articles to see how desperate some are to return to the far left agenda that the country has repeatedly rejected at the ballot box. 

  • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

    Absolutely 100 percent completely and utterly spot on.

    Tony Blair once said the only Labour tradition he hated was losing.  Sadly, some seem to revel in it.  If we are not careful, we will soon forget how to win, and once again face a long period in opposition – where we can’t help anyone.

    You only have to look at some comments on LL articles  to see how desperate some are to return to the far left agenda that was repeatedly defeated at the ballot box.

    New Labour brought a lot more moderates and centrists into the Labour Party – given most of the public are fairly moderate, this was a good thing and added weight to our argument that we were the people’s party.  These moderates need to stand up and be heard.

    PS  I did write this comment before but it didn’t seem to work. So apologies if it appears twice somewhere.

    • Anonymous

      I think your mum must have been frightened by a red under the bed Jon.

      Nobody is asking Labour to be on the hard left – after all Harold Wilson wasn’t but he led an unmistakeably Labour government.

      What many people complain about is the way Blair turned Labour into a party who was more concerned with power than principle.

      The reason we have a right wing Coalition government is because Blair drove Labour to the right so the others have nothing to lose.

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        Alan, I completely understand and respect many on the left feel deserted and unhappy with the philosophies that underlined that period.  But an objective analysis of the political landscape of the 20th century shows that left-wing politics were (and I believe still are) by and large unpopular in the country.  New Labour was invented to be more palatable to an electorate that had voted for Conservative domination through the vast majority of the century.

        I joined the party because of New Labour, not in spite of it.  I have principles and believe that Blair’s Labour had principles too – I guess the point is that those principles are just different to the ones of traditionalists.

        NL made many mistakes – any 13 year Government would – but it introduced the minimum wage, the right to paid leave, maternity/paternity rights and flexible working for families. Not to mention a period of extended high employment, reduced waiting times and better clinical care in the NHS, Surestart, rebuilt schools and more teachers that gave kids a better start. It gave us more police and significantly reduced crime. Older people had improved state pensions, the winter fuel allowance, bus passes, tv licences and all sorts.

        I accept the anger of people for its mistakes. But I think those on the left should recognise that NL delivered for the country and the party.  The question is what comes next.  New Labour was a late 20th century idea that, for me, worked for tis timeframe.  The growing frustration in the party is now to do with our lack of ideas fit for the 21st century. We need a vision that is relevant for the needs of today, just as New Labour was a vision relevant to the needs of our turn-of-the-century party. That is the challenge for all of us.

        • Anonymous

          The main person Blair helped was – Blair.

          He traduced the Labour party, and stripped it of it’s principles. He castigated any p[arty figure, however senior, who didn’t agree with every word and policy he uttered. He surrounded himself with sycophantic nobodies who just blindly followed orders.

          When I thin kof Blair and what he did, I think of Byers, the taxi for hire, Hewitt and Hoon, all three pomposuly promoting themselves for work that didn’t exist, on a Channel 4 programme. I think of Mandelson, dragged back twice after his original demeanour. I think of Blunkett and his absurd self-pitying published diaries. In short I think of the absolute tat that he surrounded himself with, and his overweening personal greed and hypocrisy. End of, as they say.

          But Blair, Blairism, call it what you will, or what you are allowed to – it’s dead and gone and it’s not coming back.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            I think the fact that you ignored my list of Labour’s achievements and concentrated on a highly subjective list of mistakes kind of demonstrates my point.  Your dislike of the man clouds your ability to fairly judge his achievements.

            As I said, Blairism was a 20th century idea. The challenge is how Labour can be fit for the 21st. So I agree, it’s not coming back – or more likely, it won’t come back until Labour has once again been in opposition for a generation which, I hope, will not happen but fear it might.

          • Anonymous

            No Jon. I won’t come back, full stop, because if you stay in opposition in 2015, then get David Miliband, if he is still around and interested, the next election would be, probably 2019/20, and there will still be Labour party members left who remember the greed and hypocrisy of the Blair years. By that time many Blairites will be long in the tooth, but still struggling on (a bit like Gerald Kauffmann today) but I can’t see them being able to give that 1997 illusion of youth and freshness. It will be like watching a beautiful young girl, knowing that “she” is an old man in drag.  Blair and his little helpers traded on the show-bizzy, with-it image. By 2019 most of them will be without it.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            you still haven’t commented on my list of Labour successes in Government.  I assume you don’t think they were valuable – or perhaps they just don’t fit into the argument you’re making and are therefore helpfully ignored.

          • Anonymous

            Jon With respect you are like a schoolboy who wants a star for his essay.

            Yes miniumum wage an excellent idea – though it is sad that it wasn’t uniform – who is stay an intelligent hard-working 17 or 20 year old isn’t worth the same as a 21 year old.

            A period of extended high employment? debateable,

            Surestart another tick

            But all this do-gooding doesn’t make up for the appalling loss of young lives in his war adventures, not to mention millions of innocent civilians, nor the greed and selfishness of Blair and his cronies – the cash for favours (Ecclestone came very soon after the “purer-than-pure” claptrap), and the appalling hypocrisy

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            we’ll find something we agree on one day mate. haha

          • Anonymous

            Hopefully, when you stop the hero worship (Tony can do no wrong) we will.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            I said earlier on that there were mistakes made which kind of contradicts your point.

          • Anonymous

            What a pity Blair himself didn’t admnit to his glaring mistakes. All he regretted was introducing the ban on hunting. And I suppose he also relaised he had failed in his desire to make the party “Love Peter”

          • Anonymous

            Careful you know what these Tories are like

          • Anonymous

            I think it will probably be a long time before Jon and I agree. He has me down as an ignorant oik who knows nothing about anything, and no doubt to the left of Mick McGahey. He might even think I’m Trotsky! :-)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          But I don’t agree with New Labour’s approach. And I don’t see the point of being in power unless its to do something….

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            As I’ve said to others Mike, I respect people who disagree with that approach. But I’ve also argued that Labour’s time in Government for all its mistakes did achieve many very good things – it’s just that those who hated New Labour, for some reason, don’t have the graciousness to admit that it did.

          • happy.fish

            But perhaps the good things it did were mainly where Labour managed to squeeze between the cracks of new labour. Although I am stiull not really sure what New Labour actually stands for and that I fear is it’s real problem. Thatcherism is a real ideology, it favours free markets, technically it is anti establishment, and is against state intervention. Aside from some slick spin doctoring I have never really worked out what the ’3rd way’ was, since it seems to work on the myth that you can have fantastic public services without raising taxation. It managed this by feeding off a credit boom, but this has inevitably come to an end just as Thatcherism was only sustained by the money it got from North sea oil and privitisation. We are entering an age where we have to choose between actually paying for the public services we want or doing without them. At the heart of this debate sshould be what it means to be British (or English for Treborc sake) since many public services support those who do not directly pay for them. Personally I’d like to be part of a society where being a citizen means that you have the right to a certain level of dignity irrespective of the hand nature and fortune have bestowed upon you.

        • Anonymous

          Hi Jonathan, could I just interject by saying I fully understand and appreciate your views; it seems to me there is common ground between some of us, but question of degree and emphasis?

          As said, I would favour a wider movement and pluralist approach,
          but firmly located on the centre left.

          I also think values and principles are at the heart of all that we do
          as a party; it’s not just enough to put together policies
          as an after thought, or based on abstract theory alone.

          I think times have moved on since old and new Labour,
          but strands of what was best historically and meet the needs of today’s
          problems would be a pragmatic approach.

          It was inspiring hearing briefly a reference to the creation of welfare state post war in times of great austerity on the A.Marr programme (R4) this am; also a discussion about Ireland; I think several “austerity” packages
          down the road, but still in enormous deficit- nothing is growing.

          The problems are immense for many countries, but maybe this is time
          for a multi pronged approach and wider consensus, sharing of ideas?

          I see it as still very early stages though, and the party/Ed M need time to
          gather all together…..

          Thanks, Jo.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            Hi Jo, I’ve always admired your comments and approach to debating.  I agreed with much of what you wrote.

          • Anonymous

            Hi Jonathan, thankyou, that’s most kind.

            Please do stick around, sometimes it takes a while to get to know people.Many good people though in my experience, but debates can get a bit heated!

            I too have enjoyed your thoughtful comments,
            and I think you explain points well.

            Have a chat with Peter Barnard sometime too!

            Best wishes, Jo. 

        • Anonymous

          reduced waiting times target driven so you sit in A&E while all the simplest targets are seen first, this way you meet the target.

          Sure start is still going in my area strong, sadly it cost to much.

          yes school are being built in Wales right now eleven new schools in my area alone, none of them are being done by PFI.

          Winter fuel allowances of course given because of the rise in pension Blair gave what was it oh yes 75p.

          the simple fact Labour is out of power for a reason and my guess it’s because of people like you who are more Tory then socialist, but hell why allow socialism to get in the way.

        • happy.fish

          Yep the politics of fear remains in victory over that of hope. But for every generation a battle has to be fought and I think you may find a generation of cynical, disillusioned and betrayed young people may yet turn to hope in these potentially darkening times.

    • Anonymous

      Ah yes I knew their was a reason labour lost it became to good at what it did.

    • Anonymous

      “Desperate to return to the far left agenda.”

      Who on earth is suggesting that Jonathan?

      I don’t see it as an either/or situation; it’s about
      reformation of party and direction- and whole range of
      options/ideas.

      Personally I’d like to see a bigger movement of the the centre left,
      and more pluralist approach; but not a rehash of New Lab
      or going further to the right; we need to be a distinctive party
      with clear values and traditions in my view.

      Thanks, Jo

      • Anonymous

        Well, I think Mike Homfray is quite keen on the idea for one, I’d imagine Treborc would probably support it as well, and more…

        • Anonymous

          Well my values are definitely left of centre Winston, probably along similar lines to Mike, Robert, Peter B, Alan, and many here- but I think
          people also tend to have mixed views on different aspects, and ideas are not static. I’d like to see some kind of broad consensus/democratic movement, not just a partisan party.

          I didn’t feel New Lab was going in the right direction, or addressing
          the social priorities to extent needed as one example.

          What is your political preference?

          Jo

          • Anonymous

            Well, according to politicalcompass I am ever so slightly left of centre.

            Which puts me far to the left of the labour party apparently.

            I agree we need to move away from the idea that everything is either left/right and thats how you decide whether to support it or not.

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      I haven’t noticed any desperation for “a return to the far left” and suspect you mention this in an attempt to suggest there is no alternative to New Labour orthodoxy, such as it is.

      You may not have noticed but the neoliberal experiment has failed. The economic assumptions that have driven policy for the last thirty or so years are no longer viable. This new reality has achieved wide acknowledgement from many significant figures (Nobel Laureate economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz to name but two) and a significant section of the public.

      If you think the Labour Party should mimic the failed policies of Blair’s heir, Cameron, then you, and other Tory cuckoos in the Labour nest, would be better off joining the Tories. And let the rest of us, with Ed Mili as leader, get on with the urgent business of addressing the threat posed to social justice by the dysfunctional form of capitalism now laying waste to a generation.

  • Anonymous

    “Why is it that a man who led Labour to three election successes is so hated?”

    Because he was apparantly a liar, a fraud and a charlatan who prostituted the party via New Labour and compromised it to such a degree that it became poison as a brand? ID cards, DNA database, Iraq, Afghanistan, all the other smaller wars while slashing the military budget which led directly to deaths, crackdown on civil liberties, Formula 1 scandal, first PM to be questionned by police while in office, cash for honours,  the massive stacks of cash he has made since leaving office, his tawdry and sordid, deal with Brown to essentially subvert democracy, his personal, political and moral cowardice……

    I mean, yes he was good at power. Yes, by being in power the party managed to bring in things that would have been impossible if they were in opposition. Yes, he did some good. But all the other things overshadow him more often than not and the word IRAQ will be engraved on his head forever.

  • Anonymous

    The advert above this box as I type is for “The Darkest Hour”. Targeted advertising, clearly.

    As for the article:  “Why is it that a man who led Labour to three election successes is so hated?” can be answered with another question – how can anyone who doesn’t understand people’s dislike of Tony Blair presume to comment on politics and the Labour Party?

    You might as well ask why Margaret Thatcher continues to be so hated, despite current attempts to skew historical perceptions. Who knows, maybe Blair will be rehabilitated in a few years with the help of a Hollywood blockbuster

    P.S. If talking about successful Labour leaders, we should not forget the one who won FOUR general elections.

    • Daniel Speight

      Blair’s already had his Hollywood blockbuster. It was called The Ghost Writer.

      • Anonymous

        in which the former PM’s wife is a CIA agent … filmed in Germany and produced by Polanski … not quite the Hollywood treatment that Maggie is getting  ;-)

  • Duncan

    We are talking ourselves into a bad position.  It’s ridiculous.  The “cancer” at the heart of the party is this sort of poison coming from the Blairite right who can’t bear not to be 100% in charge (even though they are still pretty dominant, if truth be told). 

    We are ahead in the polls.  This sort of comment is a self-fulfilling prophesy.  If we keep saying “why will we lose?” we will lose.  Nothing else is pointing in that direction: get a grip.

    • Anonymous

      New labour rules, to keep Luke on side give him a safe seat, he will then follow you to the ends of the earth, so long as you not not destroy what New labour built.

      new labour rocks.

    • Anonymous

      On the whole I agree Duncan; it’s a total distraction from the tasks ahead.

      If this was a business or other organizational setting, team working
      would be a necessity, not an option.

      Unity of the party is incredibly important; I think Ed M
      has had an enormous task on that front, considering dynamics
      previously played out and it seems still are.

      This is not what we should be focusing on.

      Jo
       

      • Duncan

        I appreciate that I could be accused of dreadful hypocrisy for appealing for unity – I strongly criticised Blair and Brown and have not been silent on Miliband either – but I do find the approach coming from certain quarters at the moment terribly problematic. I accept that some members of the party might support the coalition’s economic analysis; I grudgingly accept their right to hold that view within the Labour Party.  But to be so exercised by rubbishing any alternative is not just disunity (that I can’t credibly condemn!) but is straightforward succour to a repulsive right-wing government.

        I don’t think people SHOULD be talking about different leaders, etc, etc, but these things happen of course.  But creating a “there is no alternative” mantra in support of the coalition is inexcusable.

        • Anonymous

          Thankyou Duncan, I think intelligent analysis and fair views.

          It’s certainly been an eye opener over the Xmas period from many quarters, which gives the impression of something organized?

          I seem to remember a whole raft of ex ministers and allies in the media around the time of Ed winning the leadership contest too.

          It’s just counterproductive and weakens our position as a party I feel.

          Of course there should be ongoing critique, but a much wider
          discussion and along constructive lines.

          David M, for example, insisted he wanted to see an end to all this infighting and sniping culture; time to move on.

          There are ways to influence change over time- and this ain’t it.

          Cheers, Jo.

        • Anonymous

          For god sake now Miliband comes out saying the old labour ways is no good follow me for the New labour, he has said the old ways are out so follow me, then you see him and my god I see Gordon Brown

          You need to explain to me  how the cuts are going to come who will suffer from this, yesterday he said I will be a new labour and we will have to struggle, but labour is the party of the hard working.

          Ah OK so if your hard working middle class your labour, sadly  so are the Tories mate, if your not the party of the working class then your the party of the Tories.

  • Kernow Castellan

    A very good article.

    This is a debate between the “purity of opposition” and the “compromises required for power”.

    On the one hand, one can preserve one’s principles, and have no power or authority to implement (or even influence) change.

    Or one can move to where the electorate is, get into power, and lead them slowly in the direction you wish.

    • Anonymous

      God know if you try that the Tories will become socialist

      • Anonymous

        To get elected?

        lol. I doubt it.

  • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

    Why the bleating over the demise of Blair’s reputation? The New Labour torch has now been taken up by Cameron and co and so is alive and well. Blair would be fully justified in claiming Cameron as his successor, just as Maggie did of Blair.

    If it’s New Labour that you like, join the Tories.

    Simples.

    • John Reid

      Good popint when Ken was expleed and then Won the MAyoralty he anted to rejoin, Blair said no (for 4 years) and One way of Ken trying to get Blair to allow him to rejoin was that he said he might vote tory in 2001 (if they went along with his plans for mayor) I have no problem with people leaving labour to join the tories,It’s not as if when the SDP folded that it resulted in us losing the 1992 elecion or anything….

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000623749669 Giles Bradshaw

      he just has :)

  • http://twitter.com/matt_j_little Matthew Little

    At this stage in 13 of the last 15 parliaments, an opposition if it is to form the government has required to be 7% ahead in the polls. Labour is not. The two exceptions? Margaret Thatcher and Harold Wilson. Ed Miliband isn’t half the politician either of them were.

    In Scotland we talked ourselves into the worst defeat in our history by telling ourselves “but we’re ahead in the polls, it doesn’t matter if Alex Salmond is miles ahead of Iain Gray in leader ratings”. We went from being miles ahead to losing an election where the SNP formed a majority under a PR system designed to prevent majorities. The SNP won because the Labour party had become a small “c” conservative party. Under Ed Miliband the UK party is going the same way. He needs a plan B now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      However, the next election cannot be compared as the high third party vote is very likely to dissipate

    • Plato

      Some great points, but I’d disagree with the small c  bit – SLAB were lazy, hadn’t canvassed in some areas for years and the SNP took advantage of it. It was Glasgow East all over again.

      Salmond is the sharpest political operator in the UK right now – the SNP is a mile wide with him in charge, but an inch deep without him.

      Iain Gray didn’t even register. Salmond is Standing Up For Scotland, what was Gray saying? And Lamont now? No wonder voters chose the charismatic jolly fat bloke who seems to be fighting their corner than Mr Wothisname.

      SLAB looks like the vote cash cow for Westminster Labour. All their serious Scottish players like Murphy or Alexander are MPs not MSPs.

      The Tories have bugger all to lose in Scotland, yet polled about the same number of votes as the SNP at the GE. Their vote is very badly distributed – lots of Tories also voted SNP to get rid of Labour and will continue to do so until an alternative comes along.

      If it doesn’t pull its finger out, Labour can’t possibly win a UK GE in the medium term without Scotland.

  • EdmundN

    Why is Blair hated? He forfeited trust by fighting an illegal war, and by becoming obsessed with money. Remember that Labour lost traditional voters in 2010 as well as middle class ones: it needs to win both back, that’s the challenge.

    The New Labour model of promising the city that we’ll keep out of their hair as long as there is growth with which we (might) do some vague distribution won’t do any more. Nor will simply caving into the Daily Mail’s agenda on immigrants and (lack of) civil liberties. Hence the need for a more fundamental rethink: harking back to the mid-1990s is not going to work. Ed M’s approach isn’t fully formed, but it’s a start.

    Conflating all periods of Labour history together and trying to argue that there’s a common thread is also deeply simplistic: Labour’s history pre-1945 (at the earliest) has little relevance to this conversation. There’s certainly a danger of just becoming leftwing headbangers, as in the early 1980s – but I’d say most desperately want to win the next election. The challenge is to start explaining why Labour ‘overspend’ is not to blame, and not to cave in spinelessly to a coalition agenda on welfare cuts (which, I’m afraid, some Blairites are all too keen to do).

    Finally, it takes some brass neck to accuse people of intolerance towards Blairism, given Blair’s own approach to keeping the party ‘on message’.

  • Pingback: Visitors from Mars demand fair play | Left Futures

  • Anonymous

    Ed’s poll ratings – MORI and YouGov get different answers because they ask different questions (includes analysis by party) - http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/4605

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641612572 Janet Mears

     It dose not matter what you call it Red Blue Black or New, there is no such thing as the Labour Party anymore.

    • http://www.figurewizard.com Joe Jonkler

      The Labour party ceased to be in 2007 when Gordon Brown in his last budget as Chancellor abolished the 10% tax band for millions of working poor (most of these being young people) and pensioners, while going on to hand the better off a 2P cut in their basic rate.

      With the honourable exception of Frank Field, this measure was nodded though by the rest of the party in government; a threatened rebellion by some forty other MPs coming to nothing after having been dissuaded by Yvette Cooper Cooper acting as Brown’s advocate.

  • Daniel Speight

    Blair when asked what he thought was the biggest mistake he made while in power, replied it was the ban on foxhunting.

    To those he still worship him, you had better hang on tight to his coattails as he is moving so fast and far to right you may find yourself somewhere you may not have been expecting.

    • happy.fish

      I am waiting for him to take his seat as a Tory Lord in the not too distant future, unless of course the coalition actually reforms them completely which I do not see happening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

    You ask ”
    Why is it that a man who led Labour to three election successes is so hated?”

    I’m surprised you don’t know.

    Here are three reasons:

    1. He took the UK, and Labour into a pointless war based on lies.

    2. He lost much of the core Labour vote – people simply stopped voting – as “liberals” became aghast at the continual mangerialism and even worse anti-civil liberties agenda of Labour ministers (huge increases in the prison popuulation; mass surveillance; and ID cards_.  Meanwhile, working class people simply ceased to be represented as New Labour sucked up to the City.

    3. He now seems to be engaging in all the tax avoidance practice by his rich friends.   See yesterdays Sunday Telegraphy, about the way Tony Blair has refused to pay his taxeshttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/8999890/Tony-Blair-and-the-8million-tax-mystery.html 

    Blair might as well change his name to Ramsey MacDonald for all the good he did Labour.

  • BenM_Kent

    This ignores the problems the Tories have. The next election looks to be hung too, perhaps with a switch in the largest Party. This followes a trend that seems to be accelerating – both larger Parties are losing support.

    And Blair is rightly distrusted thanks to the shenanigans surrounding the idiotic Iraq War.

    • Anonymous

      If Labour have only a slender lead in great economic difficulties, it’s not hard to imagine an improvement in the economy – with possible tax cuts – leading to the Tories gaining a respectable lead based on economic success.

      But if the economy does not improve,  yes the next election could be close.

      Thanks to Ed Miliband though, it is unlikely to be so..

  • http://nhsvault.blogspot.com Richard Blogger

    “Why is it that a man who led Labour to three election successes is so hated”

    One word: Iraq. Regardless of whether he thought he was right, where he was wrong was doing exactly what you criticise the left of the party doing: ignoring public opinion. When he saw the public opposition, Blair should have acted. He had done so before – when he capitulated over the fuel protest – so he could have changed his support for Bush. If he could not withdraw completely from the Iraq project, he should have scaled back – offer the RN, perhaps, but not the RAF and army; or offer to take over some of the US’s “global policeman” responsibilities elsewhere so that they could free up personnel for Iraq. In fact, *anything* but put British personnel in Iraq. And, frankly, he should have been more reticent about putting troops in Afghanistan.

    Labour did not lose in 2010 because of Brown – the decline had happened well before then. Labour lost the election in 2010 because it had haemorrhaged voters since 1997, and Iraq was the main reason for this; the Tories did not win in 2010 because the voters Labour lost simply did not vote. We need to get those voters back, and that is a matter of trust.

    I think you are unduly critical of Ed Miliband (for the record, he was not my first choice and I still have issues over his leadership). What is clear is that the party is more united than it has been for many years, and it has accepted that there must be changes. The majority of the party are pulling in the same direction, and people are invigorated. This is quite remarkable, and I suggest that this is due more to Ed’s leadership than anything else.

    • Anonymous

      Well said Richard.

      My estimation of Ed M is actually going up, considering
      what he appears up against.He has so many factors to be dealing with;
      he deserves our support- this should be a whole team effort.

      Jo

  • Anonymous

    John Smith would have won 3 elections and social democracy would have survived.

    The Conservatives were unelectable prior to Cameron and he only sneaked in.

    This “Blair won us three elections” nonsense bears no scrutiny.

    • Anonymous


      John Smith would have won 3 elections and social democracy would have survived.”

      Unprovable forecast.

      “The Conservatives were unelectable prior to Cameron and he only sneaked in”

      True : for 13 years.

      “This “Blair won us three elections” nonsense bears no scrutiny.!”

      Well it’s true so it cannot be denied except by those who will not see reality..

      • Anonymous

        Silly pedantry, if you agree with “The Conservatives were unelectable prior to Cameron and he only sneaked in”.

      • Anonymous

        But see that’s the problem with Blairism, he did not win three elections labour did….

    • John Reid

      Had smith been labour and Had he won (Blair felt he wouldn’t of, But that’s not the point) the point is had Smith won with a much smaller majority then Portillo wouldn’t have lost his seat would have bencome leader, Look at Iain Dale’s book P.M portillo he predicted the tories winning with him in 2001, the other point is that the Tories were fit to rule with Michael howard in 2005, Just not  in 2001 with Hague, Luke I agree with what you said Excpet Abbotts comment were traicst just very daft, But Luke Face facts Ed miliband is here to stay and Blair would hav sacked Abbott stragiht away, A sign of strength and that he would have reformed labour to make it electable now, Whatever reforms laobur need to make to get us back intop power now aren’t going to happen becuase of Your blog or Ed miliband’s youthfulness, What you say is right, but it’ll have to be when oyur critics on here accpet someothings wrong, Unfortunatley this won’t be until after the Election (If we lose)

  • Anonymous

    Expect Cameron and Clegg to remain very quiet about Ed Miliband. The last thing they would want is that electoral gift to be knifed in the back.
    They can have a little bit of fun and toy with him at PMQs given how hard it is to unseat a Labour leader, especially one of the left, but it would be a huge miscalculation if they were to push too hard and see Labour unseat him.

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/781/2012_the_continuity_coalition_/page/1#article_content_top 

    • Duncan

      “one of the left”.

      What?

  • Anonymous

    Considering most MP’s and party members voted Dave Miliband I’m not so sure that the issue is as deep as suggested. Perhaps the Blair haters are simply more vocal and the conference hecklers a small minority. Recently Labour have failed to expose the coalitions incompetency and produce a clear counter alternative. This is just as much around communication than it is policy. A part of the communication problem is the leader delivering the message. Cameron’s two recent interviews with Marr and Evan Davis were poor, lacking detail and a consistent message. Yet he comes accross like a statesman both looking and sounding the part. Ed doesn’t and according to some analysts the electorate have given up on him. Labour may need to get rid of him soon. Personally I’m quite left wing , more left wing than Blair. However I also realise that any Labour government is significantly better than the Conservatives. Tories love nothing more than going on a public sector wrecking spree and promoting short term economic luncay. If in 2015 the Tories get a majority, which looks likely, Labour will have failed the people it serves to protect.

    • John Reid

      Sad but true

    • Anonymous

      Who are the people it serves to protect, see again words with no meaning, to protect who, all labour did was take from the poor and give to the middle class

      • Anonymous

        Child and elderley poverty went down although inequality rose. Labour certainly did not take from the poor to give to the middle class. Their legacy wasn’t perfect but was overall positive. That is why, with the right communication and policy they should be performing better.

        • Anonymous

          |For god sake every time labour gave something to the poor it was because they had messed up big time, you lot think Winter fuel allowance came because Blair and Brown gave a toss, in fact it was given because the pensioners rose up after a 75p pension and benefit rise.

          Tax credits came  in part to labour taking from the poor and giving to the well off, the 10p tax fiasco except of course it was planned.

          Blair and brown no more Boom and bust yes , it was nearly no more Banks no more world.

          Labour did a lot more for the well off and rich then it did for the poor.

          The biggest rise in benefits came this year and it’s the biggest rise since major lot.

  • Pingback: Perpetual opposition? – A reply to Luke Boizer «

  • Peter Barnard

    @ Luke Bozier,
     
    It may be a fact that Labour, under Tony Blair, won three general elections but Labour could have been led by Coco the Clown in the first two, and still won. Although some may say that the electorate would not have voted Labour in 1997 if the policies had been to the “left” of what was presented, we’ll never know the answer to that.
     
    The general election in 2005 was a sign that Labour was in danger of losing the next general election and by the time that Mr Blair left office in 2007, he was seriously damaged goods – if I remember correctly, public trust in him was very low. He would have found it very difficult to have led Labour to a fourth election victory.
     
    You criticise Labour Party members who “live in the past.” Well, at heart they know there are three factors of production – land, labour and capital and if the point of the Labour Party isn’t to improve the economic and social conditions of those providing their labour for modest, if not poor, reward, I don’t know what it is.
     
    Certainly, Labour 1997-2010 was much too close to capital (as represented by the FTSE-100 boards, especially the banks) and, as I have mentioned before, much too close to land, as represented by private sector landlords from owning 10.3 per cent of the housing stock in England in 1997 to 17.4 per cent in 2010. It was financial irony that Labour then had to bail out the Bradford & Bingley, which was the main “player” in buy-to-let.
     
    And certainly, Labour did nothing to disturb the fundamental and gross inequalities of income that it inherited from the Conservatives in 1997. It fiddle-faddled around at the edges (National Minimum Wage, Working Families Tax Credits) but challenge the status quo? Not by a long chalk, given that the Gini Coefficient was higher in 2010 than it was in 1997 (Crikey! Even John major managed a small decrease in the GC).
     
    Luke, you write, “Labour politics is meant to be the politics of care and attention to those in the world who need it, it’s about finding a vision of a better Britain and spreading opportunity as far and wide as possible.” I have never seen an article from you discussing the first two of these, but I have seen plenty about “spreading opportunity,” ie about creating more “entrepreneurs” and “business friendly” stuff.
     
    Labour – as led by “New Labour” – lost its soul post-1994. It also forgot Harold Wilson’s words : “The Labour party is a moral crusade, or it is nothing.”

    • Anonymous

      Eloquently written Peter, if I may say so.

      You always manage to encapsulate Labour values and vision,
      which I’ve heard so little of for some time; sometimes I wonder
      if it’s worth staying in the party, we seem to have drifted so far
      away…I still hold out a glimmer of hope though.
      What option do we have?

      Radical action is needed.

      Jo

      • Peter Barnard

        Thanks, Hazico.
         
        Although he put it rather clumsily, Ed M showed in his “producer and predator capitalism” remark last year that he appreciated what was fundamentally wrong.
         
        As it happens, the FT is running a series this week (articles every day) on “Capitalism in crisis,” so you could say that (tongue in cheek), “Where Ed leads, the FT follows.”
         
        I don’t think that there’s any doubt that most people feel that the model is somewhat flawed presently ; Ed M needs to be taking the pulse of the nation on this.
         
        Like your long comment above beginning, “Strong wording …” and will be adding my “tick” in a minute.

        • Anonymous

          Hi Peter, yes, I thought- Ed M shows sound values
          and good ideas expressed in his speeches.

          As I recall, he seemed to put the other parties on the backfoot
          ever since that conference speech, and Dave C constantly
          trying to adopt and take credit? It seems the name of the game
          is to encroach on other people’s ideas and party’s “territory”
          in order to look modern and progressive!

          All a little bit obvious though…and so much being pushed through,
          it becomes too diluted and unconvincing.

          I saw the FT headlines via email; I’m no economic expert-
          but as you say, Ed would do no better than reading!

          He’s clearly got an enormous task at hand, and it will be a long road.

          But surely that has to be a whole team approach,
          and some kind of faith and respect in people?

          I don’t see any vitriole coming from him;
          if anything, he appears very open to different views
          and shows great tolerance for dissent.

          But I think this is going too far now, and out of hand.
          It’s beginning to resemble the beginnings of a coup?

          Must go- but have a good week Peter,

          Jo

  • Anonymous

    “But as tempting as it is to hang all the blame for Labour’s woes around Ed Miliband’s neck, I’ve been wondering lately if our problems run deeper.”
     
    For sure. Not helped by people like you, so upset that you have the “wrong” Miliband, that you childishly keep alive the non-story of mis-spelling the title of a long-defunct TV show.
     
    If the worst you can say about a man is that he makes trivial mistakes, like that one,  that is not the greatest sin in the world and is much more forgiveable than a man who was responsible for leading our country into five wars, and is now frewarded by being described as a “peace” envoy, and whom, it was alleged yesterday has been very succcesful in not paying high taxes for the company which runs his “business interests”. That’s right – your great chum Blair

    • Anonymous

      Problem is trivial mistakes damage reputation and credibility. Some people take the view if you can’t get trivial things correct then what about important issues. Especially with the media like it is, mistakes get scrutinised and blown out of proportion.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly Pete – out of proportion – and in the main those who are keeping that ludicrous “story” – if it can be so dignified alive  - are people like Luke, who would like to see an even more right-wing Labour party.

        Each week Richards on this site bangs on about the old days but Blair is finished. Labour can’t have him back, even if they wantged him – the small amount you get out of being PM probably wouldn’t even tempt greedy Tone out of bed. And to all the dreamers who think Yvette Cooper would do better, the majority of the public would say “Yvette who?” and as for David Miliband – in three words – have a banana.

        • Anonymous

          Yes but many in the electorate respond to perception over policy. Constant gaffs, awkward moments and poor performances reduce credibility. Leaders can afford to have a few but too many can be irreversibly damaging.

          • Anonymous

            Pete this would have been forgotten by now if people like Bozier didn’t keep bringing it up. It is interesting the number of “Labour” suppoerters who are going on about this a lot more than the gaffe Cameron made in the Telegraph.

            I am afraid I don’t believe they are just doing this to get a dialogue going: I think there are rather more mischevious, even  sinister,  motives and if you don’t believe me, just look at the oleaginous muck that John Rentoul spreads of his “Eagle Eye” Independent blog.

          • Anonymous

            I can’t see John Rentoul or Luke Bozier being able to influence polls regarding Ed’s leadership credentials. Although polling isn’t perfect it gives us insight into the electorates opinion of Ed.

          • Anonymous

            You yourself said (about errors) that it was all to do with perception, Pete, and if people perceive that “Labour”  (?) supporters like Rentoul (or Bozier or Richards on this site)   constantly undfermine their leader, people will perceive a divided party.

            This is EXACTLY what happened to John Major in 1995 – and look what happened to them less than 2 years later, and what continued to happen until 2005.

            If that is what Bozier wants – fine – go ahead, but whichever Blair Mini-Me is propped up as a panic leader it will do them no good at the ballot box whatsoever.

      • Plato

        I’d say its worse than than that – its a metaphor for his leadership.

        People are laughing at/pitying him. Kinnock fell in the sea and most saw it as a funny could-have-been-me incident. If it happened to EdM – it’d be crushing now.

        Blackbusters was the perfect storm after a week of context free announcements that dribbled away, the 90 sec Rubik’s cube,  Abbott’s racism about whites and taxi drivers – oh and Glasman saying he had no strategy.

        Why did his PR team send a tweet about blinking Bob Holness in the first place?  I thought that was a spoof tweet, and then I saw the Freudian typo. Then I realised it was legit…

        When a leader is under siege and trying to do Zen-like superiority, he doesn’t tweet about a children’s game show host. Ever.

      • happy.fish

        More importantly, the trivial is where most people spend their lives, and mistakes in this area can lead to a disconnect between leader and people.

  • derek

    Luke, you missed one of the most vital points about Blair’s failed premiership. In 2003 many political correspondents said that the most damning thing Blair would be responsible for would be the break up of the UK, he handed the SNP the mandate they always wanted.

    For fifty years labour was the peoples party in Scotland, it isn’t today. 

    • Anonymous

      derek
      For fifty years labour was the peoples party in Scotland, it isn’t today.

      Even the Scots eventually recognised Labour in Scotland had achieved little (except continue with the lowest average lifespan for men in Europe in parts of Glasgow)   so it was time for a change.

      • derek

        No, what the Scots recognised was that labour wasn’t labour, if you go back to 1999, there wasn’t a great deal of enthusiasm for the Scottish parliament, until the questioned was popped! “what do we do when a conservative government is returned” the parliament becomes the centre to fight against the worst effects of conservatism.

  • http://twitter.com/Krupesh4Brent Krupesh J. Hirani

    I’m not so sure about the analogy of it being an extension of the period culminating in the 2010 election defeat.

    The experience on the Doorstep is very different. In 2010, can remember real anger on the doorstep, people slamming the door shut as soon as you mention you’re from the Labour Party. Doesn’t happen anymore

  • Anonymous

    Strong wording Luke, – but so much to challenge
    in underlying assumptions/attitude;
    it does come across a bit like “shooting from the hip.”

    Is this a level playing field for range of opinion, or do we have to accept
    this premise by one section of the party that is being constantly touted
    by vociferous commentators and ex ministers?

    I’m sorry to say memory seems to be short amongst some of the
    more “die hard” opinion in the party.

    The reality is, public attitudes changed dramatically
    towards TB following the decision to go to Iraq,
    and how that played out. Significant trust and faith was lost.

    Many of us felt deeply angry and let down, after high expectations.
    No one is suggesting this could have been an easy decision though,
    but public opinion/dissent was ignored.

    Following those events, from observation- I think
    the public were becoming increasingly disenchanted
    with the “New Lab” project and approach; there seemed
    to be a perception about authoritarian top down government
    and overbearing “political correctness” for example.

    I have my own views, positives and negatives.
    Surestart for example- brilliant.

    The early years of NL were hopeful and exciting,
    but in retrospect aspects like little challenge to regulation
    in the financial sector, politicians becoming like celebrities,
    and a professionalized class of distant people.
    So much PR and spin etc….
    Much else besides; social policy could have gone much further.

    I also have a great problem with seeing ex politicians and public figures
    swanning around the world, cultivating fame and enormous wealth,
    especially in the Labour party. It looks hypocritical.

    That’s not to say one doesn’t respect was was acheived,
    but that era is well and truly over.

    The GB years seemed to me the tail end of problems that had built up;
    he wasn’t a good leader, but had been an excellent chancellor,
    and I feel he got an unfair amount of flack compared to TB-
    it was a shared responsibility for project.

    That whole business of sniping from both “sides”
    was known to be toxic; do we want that all now?
    I thought the party was reforming itself and moving on
    from culture of division?

    As for the media bias then and now….well it’s often a parody.

    I am actually dismayed by the level of aggression voiced
    towards Ed M, despite room for constructive criticism
    from one faction of the party and possibly allies in the media;
    how is any of this in the public interest, or even involving them
    in debate?

    It comes across far more like resentment and ultimately a power struggle
    rather than a genuine attempt to work together to find common consensus
    or ways forward.

    This is more of a general comment and reflection of what
    seems to be emanating out, yet again; and in some ways closing down
    chance for wider discussion within the party about ways forward.

    This approach will not endear our party to the public,
    or motivate members to be more involved in my view.

    I hope you will respect and allow room for other views Luke.

    Thanks, Jo.

  • Andy

    Of the 5 million votes we lost between 1997 and 2010, 4 million of those had already gone by 2005. The Blairite myth is that everything was rosy under Tony, and it was dour, nasty old Gordon who ruined everything by failing to be a Blair clone, though those of us outside the fanatical Blair fan club didn’t notice much difference. Anyway, this is a fiction. Blair was the problem then and he, or at least his disciples, are the problem now. New Labour is dead, even if it won’t lie down. Why don’t you Blairites do something constructive like go out campaigning for the party or coming up with original policy ideas, rather than sniping against the leader in your blogs and flouncing about on your Bell Pottinger-funded “political weekends?”

    • Anonymous

      Exactly Andy, the Blair lovers always conveniently forget the little matter of losing 99 seats at the 2005 election – a 166 majority reduced to 67. GTell a lie – 68 – Bill Rennell manajed to scrape home at Harlow by about 10 votes on the following Saturday after numerous recounts

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing surprising about Thatcher’s children electing a ‘Tory lite’ party 3 times in a row…

    Since the 80s we have failed to challenge neo-liberal, ‘profit  first’ culture of the right and with Tony Blair created our own version that aimed to bribe as many people as there was enough money for… Tories will always be trusted more when it comes to making the afluent, richer…

    Absence of centre-left alternative is not a reaason to go back to being watered down Tories..

  • http://www.futureeconomics.org Diarmid Weir

    I would have thought that disillusion with New Labour was the result of the modest improvements of that time proving to have been based on the shifting sands of an over-financialised economy and without any proper articulation of an over-arching philosophy. As such, the financial crisis leaves us rapidly sliding back to square minus one.

    Luke Bozier is pointing the way not to some more electable ‘…vision of a better Britain…spreading opportunity as far and wide as possible’ but to the same economic and social wasteland to which Cameron, Osborne and Clegg are steering us. Put simply, he doesn’t have a clue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shellyasquith Shelly Asquith

     “Why is it that a man who led Labour to three election successes is so hated?”Because between 1997 and 2005 he lost us 4 million votes, most of which were part of our ‘core’ working class demographic: http://www.smith-institute.org.uk/file/Winning%20back%20the%205%20million.pdfAnd it’s not just the ‘left’ of the Labour Party who ‘hated’ the Blair years: a quarter of the electorate want to see him tried for war crimes: http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=2761

    • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

      …is the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard.  He won us enough votes to get elected three times in a row – something Labour had never achieved before.  Of course votes later disappeared, it always happens with Governments  have been in power for a long time.

      And I wonder whether the ‘quarter of the electorate’ who wanted to see him tried for war crimes were, in any way, experts in the field of international law?

      Nonetheless, Blair is gone – he said himself that he didn’t want to be THE leader who won three successive terms, he wanted to be the FIRST Labour leader to win three successive terms.  The question now is how we can build a coalition of working and middle class voters fit for the 21st century to help the country move forward. And until someone does come up with a model to that end that is better than New Labour, it will always be the best model for electoral success.

      • http://www.futureeconomics.org Diarmid Weir

        ‘…how we can build a coalition of working and middle class voters fit for the 21st century to help the country move forward…’

        The right question, but the second part is as important as the first. Otherwise, what’s the point for those who aren’t salaried politicians or hangers-on?

        The Daily Mail has done a great job of building a ‘coalition of working and middle class voters’, so why are we not just adopting its agenda…? Because we stand for something else…but what?

        • Anonymous


           Because we stand for something else…but what?

          Easy:
          The unions
          Overpaid public servants.
          People on benefits
          Immigrants – legal and illegal.

          And if your read LL, those – with the exception of immigrants – are the people supported by posters..

          • http://www.futureeconomics.org Diarmid Weir

            It’s all too obvious on what part of the political spectrum someone who cannot distinguish between abstract concepts and human beings belongs! (Not perhaps that you would regard these people as human beings?)

          • Anonymous

            No, social justice, tackling inequalities, child poverty,
            addressing the very real needs of the population- health, educational, welfare.

            Decent and high quality public services; training skilled professional staff in frontline roles; dignity and fairness
            in the workplace.

            What does need a great deal of attention in my view is
            the scale of unemployment, especially amongst the young;
            also access to decent housing.

            Countries like Denmark, Finland, Holland, Norway and Sweden seem to have managed these priorities very well over the years, especially high quality education, services, protection of the most vulnerable, and low crime rates; happier societies.

            It is these we should be looking to for inspiration, not a failed right wing model of economics and “welfare” in USA.
            (Much as I’m a supporter of Obama.)

            Also you refer to “immigrants” as if they are some sort of
            non person?

            Lets also not forget the role of the banking sector and financial services in the 2008 crash; vested interests
            in huge co orporations; excessive pay in the boardrooms etc.

            We can’t live our lives by cliches or believing all we read in the right wing tabloids!

            Cheers, Jo.

      • derek

        Jonathan, then explain why a die hard Blairite (Tom Harris) could only  garnish 7% of the electoral vote in the Scottish leadership election?

        • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

          Derek I’m not plugged into scottish politics so I haven’t a clue.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t worry, Derek. Jon doesn’t cope well with facts

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            that’s nice.  Well at least I tend to avoid personal attacks Alan.  Thanks for talking about my Mum earlier by the way. That was classy.

          • Anonymous

            Well there has to be some reason why uou are so frightend by people on the left Jon.

            If you are that sensitive you really shouldn’t be on a forum like this, taking people to task because they are not right-wing thinkers like yourself

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            If I was ‘frightened by people on the left’ Alan I wouldn’t be here debating.  So your argument doesn’t really hold tight.

            Water off a duck’s back mate – but are you suggesting that if I come on to a Labour discussion website I should expect people to talk about my Mum?  Is a civil debate among people who disagree really too much to ask?

            It’s a valid point though. I’ve had many, many political discussions in my life with people I disagree with. I do have to say that I’ve never had anyone on the right-wing resort to name-calling and personal attack.  That’s only something I’ve ever received from those to the left of me.  It saddens me, because they are the ones who tell me they are the ones that care most.

            Nonetheless, I’m sure you’ll find something to disagree with and you’ll enjoy telling me off.  I’m not going to respond – I just don’t think we will ever understand each other.  If we do talk again, please try and not to mention my Mum.  If I am wrong, I’m happy to be convinced through civil and rational argument based on facts – not strongly held views masquerading as facts.

          • Anonymous

            Jon Congratulations! You have just had your “purer than pure” moment a la’ Blair.

            YOu take the moral high ground because I made a jocular reference to your mum (I don’t know the lady but I am sure she is fragrant).

            Yet you speak of wanting “civil debate”.

            Cast your mind back to last Thursday, Jopn, when you told us, at length and more than once about when you were pressing the flesh in 2010 and happened upopn a factory unable to fill 30 vacancies.

            You told me I was being guilty of a “wind up” and several other personal attacks when I suggested to you that, in my experience (and I started work in 1961) a company that had problems holding on to, or even obtaining staff, was frequently a poor company to work for.

            I suggested instead of immefdiately suggesting people were “workshy” which is too simple a generalisation you should at least consider the possibility that it was a company which had personell problems.

            Now I was speaking with nearly 50 years experience behind me working in both the public and private sectors.

            You dismissed that.

            Yet you I doubt have excperience of work going back 50 years – the comment about “my mum” and getting het-up about an old joke rather proves that.

            We will never agree so why not just stop going on about it. But please stop pretending you are so much “better” (sorry, ” nicer”  is your favourite word, isn’t it?)  than the rest of us

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I have many and varied faults. But don’t dare take the moral highground. Asking if you were winding me up is not a personal attack.  And I note you didn’t quote any others that you viewed to be personal.

            I have not ever on this site used the word ‘workshy’ and you know it. And I said 20 vacancies not 30.  You say I ‘don’t cope well with facts’ – but you seem to be extremely liberal with their usage in your own posts.

            I really don’t want to carry this debate on, I’m so bored Alan. So please just end this, stop misquoting me and stop being so unpleasant.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t intend dragging through that long boring thread, but you did say that the factory manager said he had 30 vacancies, however, even 20 unfilled vacancies should set alarm bells ringing. The gravamen was thlough that you suggested the man who you so kindly offered to run down to the factory in your car had never worked and therefore one of those 20 or 30 vacancies was being ignored by somebody who was lazy. Perhaps – perhaps not, but you seemed unwilling to entertain the suggestion that the company might not have a good record

            You’re “so bored” yet you keep coming back Jon, like a dog to it’s own vomit.

            If you want to dish it out you have to be prepared to take it, but so many of the Blair persausion you just like to pretend that your view has to be the correct one, and if you take aim at an individual it is somehow less “personal” less “unpleasant” than when they pay you back in your own coin.

            You never did tell us, BTW if you won your political fight in 2010.

          • Anonymous

            Wow what a load of nonsense. Why can’t the left just debate the facts rather than turning into snarling yobs as soon as someone disagrees with them?

            The fact is the reason that the labour party is such a mess is that rather than tryin to actually get elected again they are trying to appeal to the likes of you Alan! You get the party and the leader you deserve and at themoment both are completely hopeless.

            Well done.

          • Anonymous

            You are entitled to your opinion. If you had bothered to read what I have written, you would perhaps follow the arguments I was making but plainly you just felt like giving your little opinion without giving any specific examples of what you mean by “people like me”

        • Anonymous

          Scots don’t live in the real world.. they depend on subsidies so Harris    - who tells it as he sees it – is hardly popular. Plus he comments on the welfare culture- which most Scots are wedded to – again hardly popular.

          • derek

            Hmmm! thou shall not hook up to a stray line? Just to throw one back, on monetary issue, have you heard of the term ”
            Dividend arbitrage” It’s a city thing?

          • derek
          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “Scots don’t live in the real world..”

            Do you mean in the same way Norwegians don’t live in the real world?

            Don’t worry, Cameron’s ‘diplomacy’ will gift the SNP the vote they want.

      • Anonymous

        But Jon, you don’t want to “build a coalition”. What you want – just like Blair, is for everyone to agree, without question to your natrrow view of what Labour is and should be – Tories, but “nicer”.

        People on the right of the Labour party always complain about how nasty the left are to castigate them, but don’t seem to think it matters if the right castigates the left. In other words, do as I say, not as I do: That was very much Blair and Mandy’s attitude.

      • Anonymous

        We will see if New labour or even labour are the success it believes it should be, in the end it’s not you me or Blair who will decide it will be the voters, so far it’s been a no thank you. With Scotland saying no thanks, I suspect  it will take a very very long time before labour in any guise gets back in.

      • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

        You can be assured that a significant part of the electorate who would like to see Blair stand trial for war crimes are not experts in international law, simply because most of the electorate are not experts in international law.

        Most, just like myself, are motivated by the unnecessary death and suffering caused to countless civilians and the disgraceful and needless sacrifice of British servicemen and women on account of Blair’s vanity.

        There are numerous legal experts who do share this opinion though. Just to name one: Willibrord Davids, Dutch Supreme Court Judge who, in a report concluded: ” The military action had no sound mandate in international law.”

        If you want more examples of legal experts who share this opinion, just ask.

  • http://twitter.com/botzarelli AB

    If Blair somehow managed to get selected to fight a winnable seat for Labour and was allowed to lead the party again I suspect that he’d win you another General Election. He’s only hated by the same ineffectual and vacuous people Luke Bozier writes of and their deluded brethren who supported the Lib Dems in 2010 thinking that they were a left wing party. The majority of the country is just not that bothered about the stuff that makes Blair so hated by the Left. You’d never have won in 2005 if they were.

    The worst aspect of Blair’s leadership was not any of the things like Iraq or id cards (bad though they were) or even really that he didn’t groom a realistic successor. It was that he didn’t deal with the real impediment to his time in office. Gordon Brown and his acolytes. No sane external observer can see a good reason for Blair keeping him in 2005 – it is hardly as if a Brooding Broon would have been willing to push for a Labour defeat in that year’s General Election.

    The country may have ended up in a similar place (or not – Blair’s disinterest in the details of domestic policy would probably have had him let his new Chancellor, Darling again perhaps, get on with things more decisively and without the interference of Brown). But you would still have been able to see a future for Labour.

    I guess the problem is that Labour has only actually been in government for 17 out of its 110 years in the eyes of its current supporters. Possibly even less as it is arguable that there hasn’t been a “proper” Labour PM since Wilson.

    • Anonymous

      “If Blair somehow managed to get selected to fight a winnable seat for Labour and was allowed to lead the party again I suspect that he’d win you another General Election”

      You seriously think that Blair would be interested in the pin money he’d get for being an MP and possibly party leader?. All Blair cares about is money.

      I don’t know what happy pills you are taking, but perhaps we all need them in dismal January.

      Seriously, Blair split the Labour before. I doubt very much whether a majority of the party would allow him to have another go at it.

  • Anonymous

    Gordon and his motley crew? Thats the very reason I cancelled my membership of Labour…all you Blairites are what is destroying the party.   Gordon is neither nasty nor dour, its funny how the majority of folk who have never met my MP decide by what the tory and the Blairites say about him as being gospel.  My vote is now for SNP. The Labour I first voted for back in the 70s is no longer there and as long as the blairites are nipping at the heels of anyone that is connected to Gordon then I’ll never vote for them again.  Blair is a closet Tory and a greedy scumbag, look at the recent hidden millions.  Gordon lives a humble life compared to the celebrity style Blairs but then that was the working class background instilled in Gordon who with his family helped many of our stricken miners and their families during the dark days.  Thats something folk don’t know about the real Gordon, only what fiction you read about him.

    • Anonymous


      Gordon is neither nasty nor dour..

      Nor did he call anyone a “bigot”.
      Nor did he conspire to remove Tony Blair.
      Nor did he say “no more boom and bust”

      Cloud cuckoo land.

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      Excellent points Elainesk.

      My guess is that following the independence referendum your government will be inundated by applications for entry visas from those wanting to escape from the Cameron/Continuity New Labour disaster now occurring in the south. 

    • Anonymous

      Well seems the stricken miners were not stricken enough, because it was Blair and Brown which attacked the miners with welfare reforms.

      I’ve met Brown a number of times through my days in labour and through the Union, and I have to say we all knew he was on the ladder to success, because if anyone  got in his way then the stab wounds  would  so let you know he wanted to pass you.

      But for a bloke who wanted to help all those Miners he made a bloody bad job of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    Here we go again…

    1. Being in power is not enough when there is so little lasting legacy and where so much more could have been done

    2. When that legacy is largely a foreign policy which was illegal and flawed, it is hard to be optimistic

    3. The election wins in 01 and 05 reflected Tory abstentionism more than our strength

    4. The New Labour approach was more style than substance and was largely based on a sunny American-style optimism which doesn’t ring true in today’s political world. It worked in the mid-nineties, it would sound peculiar at best now

    5. The actual politics of New Labour never really took a hold in the party – members were prepared to go along with it whilst it brought electoral success, but there were few ‘true believers’

    Hopefully the lesson learned from last week is to keep away from Twitter (Cameron was right on that one) , but the Diane Abbott storm-in-a-teacup (not racist comment) was dealt with in the right way. No doubt you’d have sacked her.

    What you need to recognise is that NL was a blip. It was never something which had any depth within the party – it was a right wing attempt to take over the party and establish two neo-liberal, pro-finance parties, and it would not surprise me at all if there was ‘outside’ influence involved. In many ways Britain is quite a conservative country, but the answer to that is to make the most of the times when we can win power – not to make winning power pointless by changing the outlook of our party to something which is simply Not Labour

    New Labour is finished, Luke. Decide whether you want to stay with us and start supporting Labour instead. But don’t expect a return of that which is past its sell-by

    • Anonymous

      Lets be honest and I agree with what you say, sadly Parties never ever  give up a winning way, even when it turns into a losing way.

      It’s going to take a very very ,long time and it could end up with a new party being formed either inside of labour or out side in which New labour will seek to gain a foot hold.

      New labours not dead not by a long way and the longer it takes to get back into power the more people will say, we must return,

      The same way as the Tories  have been since Thatcher and even today we hear that Thatcehrism is the only way

    • happy.fish

      I’d disagree with point 3 in  01 , yep the tories were a spent force, but there was still quite a lot of positivity and belief in whaty was a vague ’3rd way’ which we could have turned in any direction really. I think people remained hopeful of change, unfortunately it never happened. Many became dissillusioned and did not bother voting, or moved to the Lib Dems, and many voted tory because they felt we just needed a change of gvt (Labour tired out) as with our system, many voters are not ideological, but see their vote as a way of favouring one group over another.

      I’d also say there are legacies but many will not be realised, and there were also missed opportunities, which I fear will be the most remembered legacy, aside from IRAQ.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        The turnout was really appalling in 01, though – Labour simply didn’t inspire enough to pull out large numbers of our voters, even though the Tory vote sat on its hands

        • happy.fish

          That is the real point, the way for Labour to return to power will be to givethe millions of people who don’t vote, a reason to return to the polling stations.

  • http://www.figurewizard.com Joe Jonkler

    Blair won three elections on the back of what was seen to be an expanding economy. It was Gordon Brown who took the credit for this though and if the press are to be believed, did so by a series of budget measures that were often not revealed to Blair prior to their announcement in the budget. The abolition of the 10% tax band has been widely reported as one example of this.

    By mid 2007however the writing began to appear on the wall for those who had the nous to read it. An almost ten year boom in consumer spending had been funded by ever increasing personal debt. This tripled from 1997 to 2007, most of it coming from increased mortgage lending.

    Meanwhile as average gross disposable income had risen by 29%, the Treasury take in respect of income tax had risen by more than 90% and NI by 104%, while public sector expenditure rose by 85%.

    This was all on the back of the longest house price boom in living memory. The problem was; as the figures above show that this was ultimately unsustainable. Poor regulation of banks who often had no idea as to the true value of the securities backed by this boom simply added to the problems.

    Blair did have the nous to read the writing on the (Treasury) wall and got out. Brown the true architect of the colossal imbalance the figures above demonstrate stayed with it. Today Labour has a leadership and a front bench who were either up to their necks in all this or who expressed avid support for it at the time. That does not bode well for the future.

  • Plato

    Well said, Luke. I voted Blair 3x – I liked the message of fiscal responsibility with a social conscious. I still do – so I voted Tory this time. That’s what happens when a party ruins the economy and commits a host of other crimes against integrity like Cash for Honours, Iraq, faux school standards, benefits for those on £50k et al.

    There is something very noticeable happening to Labour – more and more voices talk like extras from Billy Elliott. They need to stop, and think about what they’re trying to achieve.

    This isn’t the 1980s. Thatcher isn’t PM [and don't forget she won 3 elections with a big C1/2 vote share]. Hell, even Major beat Kinnock in ’92.

    Where is this all Militant-lite talk coming from? Labour were spectacularly unelectable during that decade and most of the next one.  Do the same people or their followers want to repeat this?

    A future only for the ideologically pure and powerless – destined to get all angry on Twitter over Jeremy Clarkson, and why its all the fault of News Int?

    It’s like the Young Ones in real-life starring Owen Jones and Laurie Penny.

    Do these Labour supporters actually want more votes? Perhaps one’s like mine again? It doesn’t seem like it. I finding it hard to believe that I actually backed a Party that booed its most successful leader ever.

    I simply voted for Blair and feel a twinge of anxiety about confessing to it – I feel truly sorry for those party activists now purged or denounced by their own side for helping their party win.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

      This seems very confused. You supported Blair and yet blame Labour for the economic crisis? Certainly I hold New Labour at least partially responsible, but the Tory legacy of Thatcher was the root cause.

      The Tory line that this was a crisis of public spending is very convenient, but you ignore the global causes: The US economy, Eurozone crisis and the vast implications of what happens in China. Have you forgotten the credit crunch? In light of this, I hardly think it is fair to accuse the left of attacking the previous government given that the Blairites have gone over to the coaltion side and in effect are now ‘dumping on’ Labour’s record to a greater extent than the left…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      Actually, no, we can do without your vote, because you clearly support the ideas of the coalition, and our role is to provide an alternative. We don’t need a huge majority made up of people whose views are closer to those of our opponents

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

    What a load of garbage from a fifth columnist Blairite. Labour is still ahead in the polls (though not by much), and it is still under 2 years since we lost the general election.  That’s not to say that everything is perfect – it isn’t. But to talk of perpetual opposition is utter defeatism designed to cause disunity and damage the party in the eyes of the electorate, making it easier for the coalition to attack.

    Austerity is Tory territory. The idea that we can outflank them by being right wing whilst still maintaining credibility with our supporters is lunacy. Labour are in a tough position, but there is no alternative in moving right.

    The only cancer at the heart of the Labour Party are the Blairites with their pro-coalition policies that will alienate Labour supporters, and their centralist concept of party organisation which even now scuppers what hope there was in Refounding Labour. It’s time they went.

    • Anonymous

      Time for a SDLP -like  split?

      Sounds like it.

      19 years in Opposition is what you want?

      I do so love political purges … emotion takes over and babies and bathwater are tossed out…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

        The SDP is a poor analogy. Blairites are more like Militant, but more malign and much more powerful.

  • Sam

    This is pretty much nonsense, essentially arguing for a New Labour model which was just as bad as the Tories for working people (which, if you’ve been outside of Labour during these years, you would have felt), which ruthlessly privatised and succumbed to competative tendering. The ‘good old days’ of Tory-lite is not what the grassroots in this party want, nor is the majority of working people in this country.

    As for Dianne Abbot’s uspposedly “racist” comments you allude to, you’d probably need to rmeind me as a) the Twitter post was spot-on, and b) white people do not suffer from racism as per privilege structures. I would have thought this obvious, but then i’ve just seen this article as a whole and doubt you’d understand.

  • Johndclare

    My reply, for what it’s worth: http://bit.ly/zal4om

  • http://twitter.com/tommilleruk Tom Miller

    “Would-be future reformists, Blairites, New Labourists, visitors from
    Mars, right-wing Labourites, whatever you want to call them, are not
    encouraged or supported in their endeavour up the party hierarchy.”

    Seriously?

    I’m roughly party centre, maybe marginally to the left. We put up with this for thirteen years. Now he has the nerve to tell people from Labour’s non-Blairite traditions, shut out, rigged against and stitched up for over a decade that  Ed isn’t a pluralist?

    Ignorance of perspective, failure of empathy. And more to the point, Ed actually is. Refounding Labour and a whole range of other initiatives indicate this.

    Secondly, personal attacks over ‘delusion’ (translation – people seeing the world differently to me) in just the second sentence?

    Luke, this is why you’re finding it difficult to persuade people.

    • Anonymous

      Very well argued Tom.

      One of the problems I have with the Blairites is how they can dismiss the views and opinions of people who have been around for quite some time as somehow outdated or irrelevant or even mendacious or stupid.

      They can’t even seem to see that they are copying what John Major’s detractors did in the 90s and how constant paltry complaints against the leader (especially in unsympathetic sections of the press), was seen, rightly by the public, as a sign of deep division and disunity,  and what happened after they got him out of office. Three leaders in six years didn’t do them any favours, and it won’t do Labour any good either if they continue doing what they are doing

  • Mike Murray

    We had thirteen years of Labour government and I’m certainly not going to rubbish its notable achievements, chief amongst which was the normalising of political engagement in Northern Ireland and the bringing of a tangible measure of peace to that realm. Also the introduction of  a range of social legislation which changed attitudes to race and sexuality for the good. One mustn’t forget that however much a pale imitation of  Labour values New Labour governments were there were still plenty of principled Labour MPs who sat  in those Labour parliaments and rebelled at the worst excesses of New Labour. No, what sticks in the craw is that within months of grabbing  office in 2010 without any significant mandate The Tories and their Liberal Democrat stoodges started  rolling back every vestige of the state and those institutions which represented socialist and Labour values including the welfare state and the NHS.  Back in 1997 what did we do when we entered office and for the next thirteen years?  We embraced the Tories’ spending priorities and Thatcherism,  engaged in public sector “reform” ( i.e. the creation of internal markets, privatisation, and Public Finance Initiatives)  and most provocatively of all, invited Margaret Thatcher into Downing Street.  People on my wing of the party don’t hate Blair or our comrades: we are socialists.  We simply want to ensure that that kind of thing never happens again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

    The more depressing thing than this article is reading the comments below it. What a deluded bunch.

    • Anonymous

      You enjoy being enigmatic Matthew.
      Instead of that rather sniffy response, why not let us know your opinions?. After all the matters discussed in both the articles and the replies are not minor ones. You must have some ideas and opinons yourself, why not let us have them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599376817 Richard Tamerighi

    Ordinarily I would not bother responding to nonsense like this but it
    does so annoy me when self important Blairite commentators witter on
    about the left and the policies we prefer -those with a social
    conscience attached – and are derided and vilified as  dinosaurs of a
    long gone era and responsible for  potentially plunging the Labour Party
    into perpetual opposition,yet expected to read and listen to endless garbage about how good New Labour were and how wonderful Mr Blair was.

    I have followed Labour wither it has taken us since the Wilson years and
    dissension and criticism is part of the Labour Party,ever it was
    thus;In fact if there were little or no criticism I should worry
    considerably,it proves we are a democratic organization and have many broad
    and varied views and not afraid to air them amongst ourselves,even if in
    a vitriolic way at times.

    What matters is that we stick together when we
    know things to be right.
    Expect vocal criticism when we are not

    It seems the Blairites were quite cosy with the paranoid control they exerted
    over its membership for more than a decade, silencing or ignoring
    opinion and with the self deluded surface pretense that all smelled of roses when
    clearly the opposite was  the case.
    Systematically and cynically  disassembling all that the Labour movement stood for and  we so apparently hungry for power as a membership ashamedly allowed it to happen.

    Now you and your fellow Blairites squeal with indignation and throw  faux coup theories into the wind at the slightest provocation when the membership talks of reclaiming its party.

    If you as a Blairite can not understand why he -Blair- is so hated then
    where have you been for the preceding 13 years of Labour Government,the years
    preceding this insidious bunch?
    It seems heads in sand and seats on
    hands was the order of the day while all around basked in the sea of 
    folly,the cirque du  celebrite’ that surrounded them and you!

    Whilst the Blair government may have had some success in some areas of
    policy he undoubtedly squandered the first few years afraid to do anything radical
    for fear of offending the Tory Little Englander vote who got him to
    power.

    Worse though was to come, fatally attaching himself and his government to the Bush
    crusade against Islam and terrorism,he will forever go down in history
    as the person who waged two illegal wars and condemned many people to
    suffering and death both in our own military services and to a greater
    extent in the populace of countries he invaded,which  far from making our
    world safer has considerably worsened it…do not for a moment kid yourself the
    Afghanistan issue is over,nor indeed the Iraq one,many will have died
    needlessly and nothing will have been gained….we already see signs of unraveling! 

    Blair and indeed Bush too have both been found guilty of  crimes against
    humanity at the Kuala Lumpur war crimes tribunal yet both glibly laugh
    this off,Blair currently enjoying his new found Christian self and
    playing peace emissary in the middle east…how ironic is that! 

    He and his government could have achieved great things with this country
    rebuilding its Tory neglected infrastructure and communities,its
    manufacturing base and our nation and all with the billions frittered away on
    two illegal foreign wars.

    People will not forget that, nor of the relentless support of the runaway
    finance industry that has so crippled this country and the wider world,
    the opening up of this countries treasured institutions for the
    exploitation by the big corporates and the endless feathering of
    personal nests at the expense of the ordinary electorate.

    If you truly believe in the Blair policies -which as we know are not
    Labour policy at all just repackaged Tory ones- then why do not you go
    and join the Tory’s? I hear they are in government! maybe you will get a
    job? the LibDems seem to have acquired some!
    You could all try your
    luck and leave the rest of us in the Labour movement with some
    principles, the room to work.

    I confess I am no fan of Ed Miliband,he does not appear to share his fathers views-sadly,  but he is
    our leader of our younger generation, I hope that he shares his fathers commitment and at least some of his values and has some winning policies up his
    sleeve.
    Above all else I hope they are ones with integrity and honour
    that will appeal to any decent person with an ounce (or gram)of
    compassion for his/her fellow UK citizen.
    I may be uneasy about him but I
    do believe he has a sincerity to old Labour values that seems to have
    become lost within the leadership to now,only time will tell.

    Thatcher taught an entire generation of this country the art of supreme
    selfishness and greed,the art of grabbing all one can for oneself and to
    hell with those unable to do or care for themselves….its plain that
    many of that generation with those materialistic ideals reside as much within the
    Labour Party ranks as they do the Tory ranks.Here as members their money  may be welcome -to
    bolster funds- but their values are not.

    As I said before, if you and  the Blair worship brigade are so fond of Tory policy why do you not join
    the party that expounds those values,where you would be warmly
    welcomed, instead of malingering in and maligning  our party, to taint
    our own long held values?to deride our attachment to principles.To brainwash us here into accepting an alien ideology of greed and  selfishness.

    I may be of the left and therefore a dinosaur to your eyes but I am a pragmatist,I accept that true socialism is neither popular nor
    wanted in the UK by the majority of the electorate,the days I remember
    when almost all was owned and run by the Government are long
    gone-sadly.
    We are now at the mercy of a runaway dog- eat -dog capitalist
    system similar to that that existed prior to WW2 and it seems the same
    selfish materialistic greed is awash in society and the same
    instability, disillusion,prejudice and hate is resurfacing, as it did
    then,stoked by both the Tory party and its media, it is only to be hoped
    we are not once more plunged into a catastrophic situation as arose 70
    years ago.

    What is not dead amongst most of us in Labour are the core values of fairness and
    tolerance,of compassion and equality,a desire to see an aspirational
    society open to all.

    What is not dead is the motivation and drive to right wrongs,learn by mistakes  and rebuild on our core values.

     

    It is sad to see  elements of the Labour Party-the Blairites and their
    ilk not only remain silent at the attacks on the less well off and
    unable in society-the so labeled ‘dole scroungers’ and disabled
    ‘liability’-  but eagerly join in and pander to the media mob  hysteria.

    They remain muted to the idea of seriously bringing the finance industry
    under control for fear of it deserting us;Like the feral predatory
    beast it is, it will surely do that when pickings are better elsewhere,
    regardless of how well we as a nation protect it, nurture it and give it
    a home,when rightly we  should have the bravery to sever its head and do so
    now.(Watch it run away to Bonn or Geneva when its had its fill of London).

    They still continue to plan and scheme with the same old New Labour agenda as though nothing has happened,still  expecting to make a  Mandelesque return to normality  and all will be right with the world…..think again ! we have been had by that joke too many times.

    We are at an important juncture where if we make the right choices we
    can return to power at some realistic point in the future, to rebuilding a manufacturing base in place of the Banking behemoth and
    placing the principles and morals that built our party at the forefront
    of policy, not hide them away as though ashamed and embarrassed.

    We have an opportunity to appeal to the disgracefully betrayed LibDem
    voters and membership -who, left of  the New Labour, now have  seemingly
    nowhere to go.
    If we move to consolidate on the centre left ground and
    principles on which we were once so proud  we will surely pick up their
    support which will mutually benefit them, our party, the electorate and
    our country.
    If we move to the right where do they go? they have a party
    awaiting a funeral, why would they join a centre right  Labour party
    when they could just as easily join the Tory’s? -as some have already.

     It is quite clear from the last General Election the electorate is no
    more in love with Tory policy as it is with socialism but there is clearly a huge number largely left of centre and where we as a party should have been and should be now.

    What we should not do though, is desert our founding principles for
    power-any power- at any cost- as the LibDems leadership has-nor try to
    get Labour elected on Tory policy again.

    We should return to our core
    principles, reaffirm them and stick to them.

    It has been said before  and well worth saying again,it far better and
    honourable that we fight for years or decades in opposition doing what we believe
    in and is democratically right, than spend one week in Government doing
    what is wrong and alien to our founding principles,there is nothing dishonourable with being in opposition…I think there is
    much wisdom in that,if we have no principles of our own or for
    expedience  sake we have thrown ours away and what we stand for is actually
    what our opponents believe -those that we have usurped for our own
    benefit- then who are we? what DO we actually stand for?

    We are either a Labour Party for Labour people with Labour principles and Labour policy or we are nothing……

    It is time well overdue that we stood as a party on the  principles this movement  was founded and the Blairite Tory’s can either like it or join the Tory party- where I am sure they will get a warm welcome.

    I for one am tired of listening to the praise of those who deserve non.

      y Party. 

  • Anonymous
  • Franwhi

    Don’t kid yourself – this ‘problem’ is about political values – democratic values which transcend the left/right dichotomy although it may suit you to cast the issue in these manichean ideological terms. The truth is that the New Labour model could only ever have had  a short shelf life because so much of it was grand illusion fuelled by political spin, snake charm and sharp practice. The emperor’s clothes were beginning to come undone even before the ‘discovery’  of WMD’s – remember the briefing to party aides to get bad news out the way at the time of 9/11. By the time of the Iraq war the game was a bogey as we say in Scotland and all the unprincipled, slippery, self-seeking narcissism at the top was starting to be revealed.  As a force Blairism sowed the seeds of its own destruction not because of any threat from stronger opposing ideologies but much more simply and obviously because the voting public lost trust  - lost faith in the ‘special’  one and his undemocratic, messianic mission.       

  • Anonymous

    The replies to this article are proof that Mr Bozier is right, if anyone seriously thinks that the Labour party in it’s current form is representative of the country at large then they need their heads examining. 

    • Anonymous

      At the very least Bozier looks very hypocritical writing and publishing his article on here last week when he must have already decided to leave the party.

      Mr Bozier might be “Right” but that doesn’t make him right

Latest

  • Comment Why rural areas need free buses

    Why rural areas need free buses

    To have a fully functioning society, bus services in rural areas should be free of charge. For young people seeking employment, education or entertainment, the unwell needing to visit and be visited in hospitals or the elderly wanting to break the loneliness of isolation, public transport is essential. If governments don’t want to spend money on services in rural areas, they should at least provide the means for people who live there to get to them in urban areas. Regular […]

    Read more →
  • News Austin Mitchell rubbishes claims that Labour MPs could join UKIP

    Austin Mitchell rubbishes claims that Labour MPs could join UKIP

    The idea that any Labour MPs could follow Douglas Carswell’s lead by joining UKIP is merely “wishful thinking” on their part, according to a prominent Eurosceptic Labour MP. Yesterday, Nigel Farage claimed that he has “spoken to many” Labour MPs this year who “support everything UKIP is trying to do”, while a UKIP source today told the BBC that as many as ten “deeply unhappy” Labour MPs who are “fed up with being patronised by the Labour glitterati” and would […]

    Read more →
  • Featured David Cameron only has himself to blame for his problems with UKIP

    David Cameron only has himself to blame for his problems with UKIP

    This week’s defection by Douglas Carswell to UKIP was a hammer blow for the Prime Minister’s authority.  David Cameron and the Tories are running scared of UKIP and are more divided than ever before. With Stuart Wheeler, the former Tory donor and now UKIP treasurer, declaring that at least two more MPs are “seriously considering” defecting, we know that the introspection and turmoil is set to continue. As the Tories’ identity crisis deepens, it becomes clearer and clearer that they cannot provide […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Rather than focusing on free schools, Labour should consider supporting home education

    Rather than focusing on free schools, Labour should consider supporting home education

    The Labour Party, since at least 2010 have gradually begun to present a coherent, cohesive education programme, to present to the electorate in time for the General Election in 2015. We’ve rightly focused on Michael Gove’s profligate waste of money on free schools. We’ve rightly focused on the Liberal Democrats’ breaking their pledge to vote against raising tuition fees. We’ve rightly focused on the other 50% of people who decide to not go to University and we’re now right to […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Attracting the anti-UKIP vote – why Clacton matters for Labour

    Attracting the anti-UKIP vote – why Clacton matters for Labour

    Make yourself a cuppa, pull up a comfy chair, and watch. Since Douglas Carswell’s surprise/no-surprise defection to UKIP yesterday and the forcing of a by-election in Clacton, there will be some in the party tempted to adopt this attitude. And not without good reason. Consider the previous by-election outings over the last year or so. In Eastleigh, a Liberal Democrat/Tory marginal, from nowhere, became a LD/UKIP marginal. The Conservatives were dumped into third place and our vote stagnated at just […]

    Read more →