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

13th March, 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…

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  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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

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