Tony Blair says he wants to re-engage with British politics, which presumably means he wants to get back in with the Labour Party members. The problem is that you can’t get in with the members of a political party by sitting on the fence, you have to have an axe to grind on behalf of that party.
So far, Tony hasn’t ground an axe on our behalf. He has attacked a government policy, Brexit, but even then he has managed to do it without directly attacking the government.
Former prime ministers tend not to attack their successors, with Ted Heath being the exception. I don’t know whether this is a convention, or if it is fear of missing out on the few privileges accorded to a former leader, such as influence over the incumbent, or invitations to official functions. Maybe it’s both.
If Tony Blair wants to be important to the Labour Party membership, then he has to stop acting like a former leader, and start behaving like a Labour member. That means he must stop being above us, and start being a part of us. He has to start directly attacking the Tories. With his high media profile, his reach into the electorate is far greater than any other Labour politician, even including Jeremy Corbyn.
What I find so frustrating is that Theresa May gets away with it. My mum is similar to Kate Bush, in that she has been a leftie her whole life, but now instinctively admires May. We need to take down May’s reputation, but I don’t see anyone in the Labour Party currently doing that. According to some accounts Blair privately said May is a lightweight – a report denied – but he has not said it publicly.
In my view the current PM is more than a lightweight. She is a persistent hypocrite. She introduced the Modern Slavery Act while at the same time introduced laws to further erode the trade unions who ensure the minimum wage is enforced. She introduced the Immigration Act 2016, which make it a crime for an immigrant to work in this country (section 34), in order that the authorities can forfeit an immigrant’s money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
I recently defended a Chinese woman at a London police station. She slept in the storeroom of the restaurant she worked in. Under the bed was £50,000 in cash, stacked in envelopes of £400. She said she earned £400 per week, and that was her savings from five years. So the immigration officers forfeited her money as the proceeds of crime. China doesn’t take immigrants back, so she was turned out on the street, destitute and penniless.
Now whatever your view on this business, it makes a hypocrite of May, who claims that her mission in life is to end modern day slavery. I would say that this is as close to creating increased slavery as you could get.
May is a fake. I admit she has gravitas, but then so did David Cameron and Zac Goldsmith and they were both destroyed by their own hubris, not by Labour. When it comes to Theresa, it must be the Labour Party who takes her down, or else what is our point?
I find it difficult to imagine today’s Labour Party voting Tony Blair back as leader, and as a leftie I’d prefer not to see the right become more powerful, but I’d rather have blazing rows with Blair about policy, than continue this wandering sense of despondency that is pushing the party into electoral irrelevance.
If Tony Blair can attack the Tories as well as he attacks Brexit, and have an impact on a wide section of the British people, then I say we would be lucky to have him.