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An extended silence from Mr. Blair would now be welcome

Tony Blair obviously cannot get over being ousted from the premiership and ejected from British public life. First he attacks his successor Gordon Brown and boasts immodestly that he would have done better at the 2010 election (a very open question, though Labour would certainly have done better in 2010 with neither of them).

Then he announces he will attend Thatcher’s funeral (only to be expected, as a loyal Thatcherite), and then he offers unsolicited advice to Ed Miliband with bizarre suggestions about the financial crash. We have always known he cannot bear not to be the centre of attention, but having lost 4 million Labour votes between 1997 and 2005 he has a confounded cheek in thinking his advice is worth being listened to by anybody.

His latest comments anyway seem to be increasingly muddled, not to say delusional.   What is one to make (apart from the verbose waffle) of: “The ease with which Labour can settle back into its old territory of defending the status quo, allying itself, even anchoring itself, to the interests that will passionately and often unjustly oppose what the government is doing, is so apparently rewarding that the exercise of political will lies not in going there, but in resisting the temptation to go there”?

He apparently thinks that despite the whole world believing that the worst ever financial crisis was due to deregulated finance, bankers’ recklessness and out-of-control markets, we should act as though nothing much has happened, there’s no problem with the banks (he doesn’t even mention them in his New Statesman article), and capitalism is ticking along fine. He is obsessed with Labour “keeping out of its comfort zone”, by which he means it should stick with his own comfort zone which is Thatcherite free-wheeling capitalism even though that is now wholly discredited – a fact he seems strangely not to notice.

His other obsession is that Labour should always keep to the middle ground. No attempt to give leadership, no analysis of what went wrong and how it should be put right, no sense of conviction or principle.   Just huddle around the middle, and pirouette round the findings of the latest focus group.

Plumbing a new depth of unmeaning he alleges that the financial crisis “has not brought about a decisive shift to the left, but what might happen is that the left believes such a shift has occurred and behaves accordingly”! The idea that such sententious nonsense is worth attention takes one’s breath away – as the boy noted when watching the the king’s new finery being acclaimed, “But he isn’t wearing anything”.


  1. Gerry says:

    What a muddled article!

    What Tony Blair says should always be taken seriously, and I say this as a Labour voting leftie…

    He did lead the party to three election victories, and – much as you may hate it – he was very very appealing especially to voters in the South, London and the Midlands. He and the party also did many really good things during his tenure, from the minimum wage to equality to devolution to Sure Start to Northern Ireland, although yes he did buy into the neoliberal Thatcherite consensus which left the City deregulated, and he also backed horrific things like PFI and the Iraq war…but as a Labour voter I understood his analysis, rooted in the reasons why we lost in 1979,1983,1987 and especially 1992, though I did not share it..he did prove to be right about many things.

    So dont go the other extreme and paint Blair as a mini-me-Thatcher…he clearly was not: and dont forget: he did shift the political centre in that after him Tories were forced to broadcast their commitment to “fairness” in order to have a chance of power in 2010(even though in power they are the same old Thatcherites!)

  2. John p Reid says:

    The idea that labour would have done better in 2010 without brown, as compared to what ,mean her being leader! Hardly

    Yes labours vote fell by 4 million under his time ,it also fell by 5.6 million between 1951-1983 and rose by 5.2 million between 83-97

  3. Geraint says:

    Tony Blair might have been the right man in1997, but don’t forget the last general election we won was in 2005. Politics has moved on, and Tony Blair doesn’t seem to get this. The old New Labour idealogy will not work in 2015, and Ed is right to recongise this and he is right to try and move the party forward with the times.

  4. John p Reid says:

    The last election Blair won was 2005′ but if a. Blairite like David miliband had been leader in 2010 instead of Brown, We would have won in 2010

    Blair is suggesting we offer real alternatives to dealing with the financial situation, no suggesting like Ed is tat the way we get out of debt is to borrow more

  5. David Ellis says:

    Blair was never the right man. Blair should challenge Clegg for leadership of the Lib Dems and really finish them off.

  6. Tom Blackburn says:

    The Blairite zombies are happy to pose lots of ominous-sounding questions, but they’ve been rather coy about providing answers to any of them. Blair and his acolytes seem quite content to let the Tory party set the terms of the debate and then have Labour accommodate itself to that. That would simply allow the centre of gravity to continue sliding ever further to the right, and would be utterly self-defeating for Labour.

    If anyone’s stuck in a comfort zone, it’s Tony Blair. He’s still peddling the same guff he was 20 years ago, as if 2008 had never happened. Blair, Blunkett, Reid and co would happily drag Labour down the PASOK route to oblivion given half a chance. If Miliband has any sense, he’ll tell them where they can stick their ‘advice’.

  7. John p Reid says:

    I don’t see how Blairs solutions for now are the same as 97′ and tht he’s not remembering 2008′ he was a supporter of Alistair darlings cuts, not Balls borrow more to get out of debt, which is not a solution the way the coalition is copying Darlings plan is,

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