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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