Tom Watson on “Lazy Labour”, the romanticisation of New Labour and segmentation

March 13, 2013 5:14 pm

Last week Jim Murphy talked about Lazy Labour – which as we noted, was spun to be something it wasn’t. In the New Statesman (to whom Murphy gave the Lazy Labour line), Labour’s campaign co-ordinator has responded. Some of the key quotes are below, but the whole piece will be worth reading when the magazine his newsstands tomorrow:

“Fair bit of ribbing wherever I’ve been about “Lazy Labour”, a nickname mentioned last week in an interview with Jim Murphy in this magazine…The current “controversy” is almost equally amusing, and typically lazy. A classic media-driven fuss over nothing in which a Labour frontbencher making a perfectly reasonable point has his words twisted to resemble an attack on (of all people) me.”

“In the brouhaha over Murphy, some central points – on which we all agree – have been entirely overlooked. On one level, the “debate” has been couched in terms that have romanticised the New Labour era. And yet sentimental attachment to old dictums is the very antithesis of everything that Tony Blair and New Labour were about . . .”

“The interpretation that media critics have been putting on the word “segmentation”, as though it were a divisive strategy, is dis­ingenuous. Unless you have either a single voter, or 60 million unrelated individual voters, somewhere in the middle you always have groups of voters. To talk to them is hardly to abandon the middle ground.”

“What the media pundits really mean is that Ed is too left-wing. The Daily Mail and the Sun won’t be happy until Ed fights the election on a right-wing agenda, which goes further right than Blair, and probably in some cases than the Tories.”

“The one thing Tony taught us is not to be sentimental about the past. We can’t just repeat what happened in the Nineties and expect the old magic to work again.”

Watson also reveals that he was in both Keswick and Easington last weekend – which doesn’t sound very lazy to us…

  • John Reid

    The Appeal of New Labour ,was Tony managed to convince people who believed that Fringe groups within our party and the Unions wouldn’t dictate policy if He was elected, the people he managed to convince were sawing voters and the Skilled working class who’d bought their council homes, at teh 2010 eelction it was the first one ever where More middle class peopel voted laobur than working class, Now as far back as 1992, Laobur had bigger swings to them in Middle calss areas than working class one (all be ony 1 or so precent),Ed’s appeal apart from getting back those who left over Iraq or sleaze, has been that he’s got back those who felt Labour was to Westminster Village based, so i half agree, But ,the Blair era is over yet appealing to those lost working class votes overlooks that Several working class people who left us in 2010, Only came back in 1997, having voted Tory for the 4 times they won,

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    “…you always have groups of voters. To talk to them…”

    To talk with them, not to them. There is a difference.

    Any politician (or indeed advertiser, or anyone else) talking to me is going to cause me to reject their message. As free individuals, voters should not be spoken to, but spoken with.

    I’m quite sure that Tom Watson has the intelligence to know this difference, but he appears to lack empathy.

    • Brumanuensis

      “To talk with them, not to them. There is a difference”.

      I think this is more syntax than some sort of revealing phrasing. I know Americans often say ‘talk with’, whilst I was taught to say ‘talk to’. ‘Talk with’ sounds a bit strange to my ears, but I know there is a lively debate over which is more grammatically sound, with enthusiastic partisans on either side.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        It is not syntax, although you say it is, and you are incorrect to do so. It may be common usage, but common usage does not have to pass the test of being correct, merely being unchallenged.

        (I have to blame for this a “martinet” of a father who supplemented my formal education at school with additional home-schooling in English, British history, mathematics, Aristotelian logic, and the basic elements of medicine. I still have a shelf of A4 lever arch files filled with my notes on these subjects, with which I can still terrify my own children when they complain about doing school homework (terrify in a joking sense, if actually with an additional aim of showing them that the world is difficult and complex). My mother taught me to play the guitar, love and empathy, and how to laugh and enjoy the riches of the life that God has given us)

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    “…you always have groups of voters. To talk to them…”

    To talk with them, not to them. There is a difference.

    Any politician (or indeed advertiser, or anyone else) talking to me is going to cause me to reject their message. As free individuals, voters should not be spoken to, but spoken with.

    I’m quite sure that Tom Watson has the intelligence to know this difference, but he appears to lack empathy.

  • http://twitter.com/jackjoh01219520 jack johnson

    Two Ed,s good yesterday,Ed Ms ‘piss-up in a brewery’ was lol and Ed Bs quote saying
    Gidiot fullfilling criteria for insanity also lol.Will Ed’s regional banks do the work of the
    Labour Regional Development Funds? I hope so,we must limit the North/South divide.

  • AlanGiles

    It’s official – Blair has become God! (“if He was elected”)
    Well done, John, you’ll be sitting at His right hand. Amen

Latest

  • Comment We want to build relationships with Labour – but they need to take some bold steps

    We want to build relationships with Labour – but they need to take some bold steps

    First my credentials. I have supported Labour at every election since I was old enough to vote. I am a party member of some 30 years standing. Why then, as the General Secretary of the trade union for staff in further and higher education am I in such utter despair at the timidity of the policy offer made by Labour to the members I represent and their students? Let’s be clear, I believe the coalition’s policies have been a disaster […]

    Read more →
  • News I was “never ever complicit” in illegal rendition or torture, says Jack Straw

    I was “never ever complicit” in illegal rendition or torture, says Jack Straw

    Jack Straw has condemned the use of torture and denied being complicit in the torture of suspected terrorists, following the publication of a report in America concerning the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs). Straw was Labour’s Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006, during the foremost years of the “War on Terror” and the UK’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Questions have been raised concerning what members of the British government knew about the use of EITs, but […]

    Read more →
  • Comment How not to change the constitution

    How not to change the constitution

    In this Parliament AV was rejected, Lords reform stumbled and even the Tories attempt to ‘equalise’ constituencies fell. ‘The Implications of Devolution for England’ already looks unhealthily like these other failed constitutional reforms. Nonetheless, the issue holds real dangers for Labour. Hague’s partisan and divisive Commons statement showed the Tories’ more concerned to maximise difference than to bring people together for the good of England. Yet even this couldn’t disguise Conservative divisions. In three months his Cabinet Committee failed to […]

    Read more →
  • News “Our choice is the country’s choice” – Lisa Nandy’s LabourList Christmas Lecture

    “Our choice is the country’s choice” – Lisa Nandy’s LabourList Christmas Lecture

    On Monday evening Lisa Nandy MP gave the LabourList Christmas Lecture to launch her pamphlet “Our Labour Our Communities” – you can download the pamphlet here. Here’s the text of that lecture: We’ve got five months to go until the most important General Election in a generation. And over the last year, as I’ve spent time with Labour candidates meeting and listening to people in communities as diverse as Brighton, Norwich and Calder Valley it seems to me the overwhelming […]

    Read more →
  • News Polling New Ashcroft polls shows the point where the Labour gains stop coming

    New Ashcroft polls shows the point where the Labour gains stop coming

    The latest batch of marginals polling carried out by Lord Ashcroft has been published today, and it does not bring many glad tidings for Labour. The polling covers four Labour seats: Dudley North, Great Grimsby, Plymouth Moor View and Rother Valley; eight Conservative seats: Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Ealing Central & Acton, Elmet & Rothwell, Harrow East, Pendle, South Swindon, Stevenage, and Warwick & Leamington; and one Green Party seat: Brighton Pavilion. All of the Conservative held seats, bar Warwick & […]

    Read more →