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Blairite considers defection to Lib Dems…. should he stay or should he go?

I’d never heard of Tristan Pithers before I’d read of his impending defection. But the fact that he’s only 21 and still a student diminishes his importance not a jot. Young activists are worth many more years than former ministers after all. And reading about his dilemma, I knew exactly how he felt: “I no longer feel that the Labour Party represents me, represents the values I hold or the ideas I believe in,” he says. How many of us on the Left have not felt that?

The trouble is, he explained:

The Labour Party I joined, the Labour Party I worked tirelessly for and the politicians I sought to elect were Blairites. They were modern, forward thinking and inclusive. New Labour won three General Elections. New Labour, as proclaimed proudly by the new leadership, is dead.

OK, we may not agree with his perspective, but surely someone who grew up knowing only a Labour government from the age of six must share our values. Mustn’t they?

I’m pro-business, pro-wealth, pro-private sector investment, pro-individual responsibility. I’m in favour of a benefits cap because I don’t believe the State should subsidise someone’s lifestyle, merely enable them to continue with their life. I want to see lower taxes for people in general. I don’t think the tax system should be punitive to the rich and aggressive towards wealth creators.

Or must feel some affinity with the Labour movement:

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the word ‘Comrade’ being used to greet me on entering a constituency office or reading a local party email. I’m not a massive fan of the word ‘socialist’ being used to describe the party on the back of its membership cards.

Perhaps not.

It’s saying something though when, after “eighteen-months of soul searching“, this young man considers defecting to the Lib Dems, who’ve abandoned most of the key planks on which they fought the last election and have forsaken most of their support as a result.

Tristan Pithers may well be a principled chap who’s kind to children and animals. Should he stay or should he go?

Do we want him off our backs?

Should he cool it or should he blow?

(hat tip: David Alexander Hough of Labour Left)

UPDATE: And for the sad conclusion to this tale, see here.


  1. B.Stock says:

    “I’m pro-business, pro-wealth, pro-private sector investment, pro-individual responsibility. I’m in favour of a benefits cap”

    Sorry Tristan you were in the wrong party all along, you are better off elsewhere. Go!

  2. Richard says:

    Go! Please, go! But why stop at the Orange-book lib dems? Surely Cameron’s party is the one for you.

  3. Tristan Pithers says:

    I’ve been linked to this by a friend and I’m pleased that there are those on the Labour left who still understand politics is about values not insults.

    I’m pleased to tell you that I have indeed gone. I became a Lib Dem member this morning.

    I wish you all the best of luck in building your party up as you want it. Keep fighting the good fight for what you believe because that, after all, is why we do this.


    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Hey Tristan. We’re real sorry. Well, some of us… but it’s time to change the avatar mate!

  4. Simon says:

    Just checked the date, it’s not April Fool’s day but this has to be a joke, Right?

  5. john P reid says:

    My parent’s were fans of gaitskell, respected crossman and crossland, and admired Callaghan, they disliked Wilson but thought muchael Foot was a man of principle yet disagreed with most of the 83 manifesto, they were big fans of Blair, it could be said the party of 1980-1988 wasn’t the party they joined, had they and others left for the SDP, it would be questionable had we ver got back in, in 97

    i’m sad if this fella wants to leave, but like luke bozier, he didn’t have the years of 85-97 when we fouht to make us electable by getting rid of scargill, militant

  6. Calum Sherwood says:

    Until 2010, I’d only ever known a Labour government from when I was six. I’m 21 now. I’ve written a blog about why that has meant my values will always be Labour, and why I want a left-wing Labour Party rooted in equality and taking on business:

  7. Robert says:

    Nappy rash can cause this mind you.

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