The likes of Alistair Darling are keen to step-up to the plate and sling mud over our record in government but rather less willing to discuss a real issue, like our record on conducting and assisting torture and ‘rendition flights’. This shows the complete moral bankruptcy of the politics of Blairism in this Party. It spoke with such compelling moral force in its prime, but now it’s a sad whimper of that, exposed like the Emperor of legend, completely naked, bereft of clothes and any moral authority. Over the weekend, we have been subjected to a barrage of revelations about Mr Blair’s links to the Gaddafi dictatorship which should make all decent members of this Party, at least those who have any moral fiber to call their own, blush with shame.
Given all this, its unsurprising that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government are now seeking to make the humiliation worse by allowing the Gibson inquiry to expand it’s remit to investigate fully the relationship between the Gaddafi regime and the UK government. It’s an obviously political move aimed at damaging Labour. However, in this instance, I feel no compulsion to defend the Party, as Francis Urquhart declared in To Play the King, for muck to be raked, muck must exist in the first place. It is right that the full extent of these relations be brought into public view, no matter the damage that may do to this Party. Some things matter more than Party politics, and sometimes we have to accept that the things our Party does are simply inexcusable and indefensible. Slavish devotion is not the right response – we must always be critically minded and be prepared to accept we got things wrong.
In that sense, I would like to see Ed Miliband stand-up and admit we got this wrong. I would like him to mark a complete break from the ancien régime. He was willing to do this over Iraq, so, I don’t see any reason why he should not be prepared to do it over this. Sure, it will annoy the hell out of the acolytes of the Cult of Blair but Ed needs to show these people quite firmly that they are the past, they are the people who lost the trust of the electorate and who alienated swathes of core and periphery Labour supporters with their double-dealing and speaking with a forked tounge. Ed is at his best with issues like this, coming clean over rendition, condemning the past governments failures and involvment would be an excellant way to show lessons had been learnt and that we will never again have to squirm with shame over the antics of Labour in government with him at the helm.