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Blair still in state of denial

For some reason the Evening Standard made Blair guest editor yesterday — perhaps only a Russian oligarch-owned paper that attacked Ken Livingstone at every opportunity would offer Blair extensive publicity to broadcast his desire that he wants to re-enter British public life. Perhaps that indicates that they perceive Blair more as New Tory than New Labour, and for good reason – his lust for mega-money, his obsession with power for its own sake, his readiness to invade Iraq if that’s what the US wanted, his embrace of big business and the ultra-rich by squashing the unions as representatives of working people, his infatuation with markets and privatisation, to name but a few of his most prominent traits – all Tory to the hilt. But what stands out even more is his blind disregard of how his regime paved the way for Labour’s second biggest defeat in a century.

His inveterate narcissism wouldn’t matter – always wanting to be the centre of attention – were it not that this fantasy comeback covers up a real determination to try to hold the Labour Party in thrall to the tenets of neoliberal capitalism and the dominance of big business to which he is so passionately committed. The Blairite interregnum, following his hijack of the party in 1994, transposed Labour into an alternative Tory party that kep the country safe for the business elite until the real Tories returned – a complete antithesis to everything for which Labour was origninally founded. The Blairite creature, Progress, is now under attack and slowly losing power, and the real motive behind all his efforts to try to cash in on the Olympics is to try to consolidate his shrinking political base.

His interview in the Standard was laced with soft euphemisms which conceal this message. “You still have to have a strong allicance with business as well as the unions” (code for: pander to business and bash the unions). “You have got to be very much in the centre ground on things like public sector reform” (code for: keep privatising public services). “I understand that some people think the financial crisis has altered everything” (code for: despite the financial crash we should carry on as though nothing’s happened). “Iraq will end up with a happy ending” (code for: ignore that the war was illegal and over 100,000 innocent civilians were killed). Miliband “is going to keep the Labour party in the centre” (code for: my centre is far to the right of Labour voters and many Tory voters, but keep it there).

The Labour party couldn’t make up its mind whether to stay New Labour or not, so it didn’t really and then in my view defeat was inevitable after that”.

Blair is fixated on the idea that if, as himself says, Labour moves a millimetre from New Labour it will lose. That is risible: nothing could better illustrate how far he has lost touch with reality. The truth is the exact opposite: unless Labour utterly rejects Blairite neoloberalism, it will never win again because it will otherwise never recover the 4 million Labour votes that Blair lost and the further 1 million Labour votes that Brown lost. And the sheer arrogance of his saying he’d like to be the prime minister again takes one’s breath away.

8 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Well to be honest if Blair sees himself as the head of the New labour Mafia let him have another go, I will not really care one way of the other, Labour has moved a long way from what I remember as the socialist party I joined many years ago.

    We had Miliband telling us labour did not go far enough on welfare, then telling us a silly story about him knocking on a door and the disabled chap, now we have Miliband thinking maybe the party might have gone to far. Then we had Miliband telling Unite striking was wrong, then he crossed a picket line to prove he’s not in the Unions pocket.

    Blair Miliband who the hell cares.

  2. John P Reid says:

    of course the alternative to Blair taking over in 1994 whe the members demcratically elected them was to have had An old labour leader then the tories would have won the 97 election and we’d have had 33 years of thatcherism, and no workers rights via the EU.

    robert I think even Ed M regrets telling unite that striking was wrong.

  3. Ryszard Konietzka says:

    It does rather smack of desparation and the bitterness and resentment that Blair felt having to leave the stage when Gordon Brown took over – he obviously feels there is unfinished business. I, along with much of the left, would argue that Blair is free to do this, but not under the umbrella of the Labour Party. He alludes to the fact that Labour’s failure is concerned with a lack of New Labour rigour, when the truth is probably more that New Labour failed to adapt to the prevailing mood in the country that didn’t (and doesn’t) want a continutation of the subordination of the UK’s interests to American capital, more privatisation, selection in education, and an insurance-based Health service, all of which his erstwhile colleagues in Progress are working towards. A failure to progress and adopt to new realities is normally what the right of the party accuses the left of. How ironic.

  4. john p reid says:

    Ryszard Konietzka- is that why the pulbic voted tory at the last election then

  5. Robert says:

    They did not vote Tory John, hence we have a Coalition. Do not get angry because the left attacks the right wing of the labour party

  6. LabourBoy says:

    This is hypocrisy. Michael Meacher voted for these public sector reforms, he voted for the Iraq War, he voted for David Blunkett’s anti-terrorism legislation, he voted for the Budgets under the Labour Government, he voted for New Labour’s policies. He was a shadow cabinet minister under Tony Blair and was a Government Minister in New Labour attending the Cabinet. The idea that Labour should reject organizations that promote new ideas and debate within the party in order to keep on holding the centre ground (which Meacher saldy does not believe exists) is completely untrue. This is not surprising seen as Meacher was associated with Militant in the 1980s, and on that basis he should reconsider his position because he does not deserve to be the Father of the House come 2015.
    Tony Blair is not a Tory. He introduced reforms that were progressive and changed Labour and the country for the better.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Your accusation that Michael was “associated with Militant in the 1980s” is of course untrue, though he may well have though that they, like you, are entitled to their views, even if he disagrees with them.

  7. Peter Wicks says:

    Who gives a Donald Duck

    Who gives Donald about the war dead
    Does Bush or Blair or even Brown
    Give a tomtit if the whole of
    Iraqi just drowns….

    Blood and guts mean nothing to this lot
    Ten cents a bullet let them die
    Just as easy as swotting flies…

    Who gives a Donald about our lads?
    The ones some kids call their dads
    And who gives a Tommy Tit
    Their dads are maimed or blown to bits
    Not many I fear could give a dam
    About our lads in far off lands….

    Pass a law and make it fast
    That all the MPs who vote for war
    Are the first ones sent to foreign shores
    Let then fight with Senators from the States
    Be first to die for their blundering mistakes….

    The truth would be, there is not the slightest doubt
    They would run and run if someone fired a starting gun
    Wars would be a distant dream if MPs and Senators
    Were the first to be drafted to a conflict scene? …..

    Rectum wobble or bubbling bum would all you’d see
    From these elitist ones, but there again, they would
    Float to the top, like turds in cauldron when it got too hot….

    Peter Wicks 2007

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