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The Blairite formula is no longer working

Tony Blair and rupert murdochIn 1994 Blair took over the Labour party and made it safe for British capitalism. Which is why so many top companies and banks were content to contribute large sums to the party in order to hedge their bets – they gained whichever party won the elections. Up till now they have dominated the Labour party for the last 20 years. Blair’s abiding legacy, apart from the Iraq war, was to abandon the fundamental principles of the party and to assimilate it instead to the Thatcherite ideology of ‘let the markets rule and the State get out of the way’. When Mrs. Thatcher was later asked what was her greatest achievement, she replied without hesitation: ‘New Labour’. And the Daily Telegraph six months into Blair’s premiership published a half-page photo of Blair standing in front of a large picture of Thatcher in No.10 with the inscription underneath: ‘To Thatcher, a son’. By accommodating the ruling corporate class the Blairites used the Labour party as their avenue to power, and it’s hardly surprising now that they are in such a state of denial and disbelief at their abrupt fall from power over the last month.

Of course the Blairite faction is sincere in believing that they alone know how things should best be run and that, as Blair himself has constantly reminded us, any millimetre departure from his prescribed course will bring chaos and disaster. Not only does that show their unwillingness to listen (the party was virtually disbanded under Blair into a press release and door-knocking organisation), but it also exposes a deep arrogance about their own invincibility and their contempt for any radicalism from the Left. The writing was already on the wall in Greece, Spain, and Scotland, but still they thought they could muffle dissent and ignore it. It is a lesson in political nemesis.

Of course the Blairites will protest that they, and they alone, won three elections in a row. The truth however is that the Tories threw away the 1997 election rather than that Labour distinctively won it, the second election was marked by stasis after an undistinguished 4 years, and the third saw the loss of 4 million votes after Iraq. They will also appeal to the huge investment in health and education. But a large part of the former was spent on building (fine for the construction industry rather than the essentials of health) and on outsourcing and privatisation (again good for the corporates rather than patients), whilst in the case of the latter there were huge building programmes inaugurating academies and free schools which have never proved their worth and have never been popular.

16 Comments

  1. Mervyn Hyde says:

    When Blair first became the prime minister of a Labour Government we were so full of hope that we had the country behind us and that he would start to reverse everything the Tories had done.

    Instead he squandered that opportunity and little did we know then what his real Neo-Liberal objective was.

    Interestingly some time within 6 months of him becoming prime minister, the BBC televised an uncomplimentary biography of him and specifically quoted friends of his describing his belief system, unsurprisingly they all said he had none and were shocked that he was elected as a Labour MP.

    I thought at the time that they were just being unkind and the BBC were just doing their usual hatchet job on a Labour politician, unfortunately their depiction of him could not have been more accurate.

    In my view Blair has all the characteristics of a politician that has no sense of real values and is guided more by power structures than any reasoned thought processes.

    1. Robert says:

      Money is very powerful, and when you have it you will always need more. Blair used the labour party to make himself rich he then asked for the backing of the Pope and forgiveness, handy tool

  2. James Martin says:

    Blair on a personal level is utterly nauseating, all the false casualness, the assassin smiles, the handshakes and wads of cash from nasty human rights abusing regimes.

    But what he represented, and still attempts to represent, is far bigger than himself. It is the aims of ‘The Project’ to remove socialism from the Party and break with organised Labour in the shape of the unions. To replace the party of labour with a UK version of the US Democrats, or to simply turn the clock back to the time before Labour was created and the working class was expected to uncritically support the Liberals (and even get a few workers elected to parliament, if their masters agreed of course). The Project was also ideologically Atlantacist, pro-NATO, pro-nukes, pro-US domination, and it brought with it plenty of entryists in the shape of Progress (funded by ex-SDP/ex-Lib-Dem Adonis) and hostile alien forces like the Henry Jackson Society.

    The mistake of the Blairites was after first fooling many of the grassroots and then neutering them with the targeted destruction of internal democracy they believed that they could ignore them, something highlighted recently when John McTeirnan was discussing a possible anti-Corbyn coup and simply said ‘who cares about the grassroots’. What they didn’t understand and can’t now deal with is the grassroots was never dead and is now reinvigorated by tens of thousands of new members and so we have a chance to take OUR Party back from the entryists and alien forces – but there is a long struggle ahead if we are to make that happen, and a great many MPs that need to be de-selected along the way (Mann, Danzcuk et. etc.).

  3. mark hogson says:

    The Blair formula never worked. The British public tired of the Conservatives and their cult of personality (after Thatcher, if the Labour Party hadn’t adopted a similar practice, it would have won an election sooner).
    Instead of showing the horrors being stored up by privatization, selling public assets (it was a Conservative Peer who used the phrase ‘selling off the family silver’), Labour adopted the same policies, thus making it impossible for anyone to see a reason to vote for them.
    The Labour Party needs to ask some questions:
    1. Should be push for power at any price or represent a set of values regardless, using public protest, meetings, engagement, passive resistance etc when grossly vindictive legislation is threatended?
    2. Why are there more active people in the Labour Party now than during the last election? How can the party use this new enthusiasm?
    3. Should it be giving high profile publicity to old party members that are now unpopular both nationally and internationally?

    1. John P Reid says:

      McMillan described selling the family silver relating to council homes he built in the first place in 1959,it was originally a labour policy to sell council homes in the first place, suggested in 59′ then again in 74′ based on the idea that the working class could get up the ladder by ,letting people have their homes,so we could get the revenue to build more, but we ignored it thatcher saw it and it was a vote winner

      As for the article about Blair losing 4m votes, yes but Kinnock and then Blair increased labours vote by 5.2m between 1987 and 1997 and labour list 5.6m votes between 1951 and 1983

      Popularity isn’t important it’s respect, Blair was never popular but for a while he was respected enough to get votes, which all that matters

      1. Gerald Allen says:

        Some poetic licencing there John; McMillan built all those houses from 1953 as Housing Minister in Churchill’s 1951 government, although ’53 had the greatest number of houses built in a year up to that time, all in response to the greatest housing crisis at that time after the damage from the 2nd WW which the Atlee government had started to alleviate towards the end of the 1945-51 government.
        I can’t say with any conviction (because I was too young) that selling council homes was in Labour’s 1959 manifesto; but I can state with certainty that Labour vigourously opposed the sale of council housing that the 1970-74 Heath governments had passed into legislation(although in my area three Labour councillors were at or near the top of the list to buy their council homes, an act I’m almost certain that was against Labour Party,as they had opposed the legislation tooth and nail on its passage through parliament)
        If I am not mistaken Labours 1974 manifesto had a commitment, if not to repeal the act allowing council house sales, then there was a commitment to prevent any further council house sales, which they enacted on entering government in February 1974. It was re-introduced by Thatcher on achieving power in 1979, with the disastrous effect on social housing policy which we are now seeing in over 5 million people on council waiting list for social housing. Sorry if I seem pedantic John but I thought a few facts needed adding to your post.

        1. mark hogson says:

          Whilst there has often been talk of selling off council homes, it was to sell them at market value, using the proceeds to replenish housing stock, not just to give away houses at a fraction of their value. A serious problem in the 1960s was that there was a lot of housing that needed replacing and this is still a problem because of the lack of strategic investment (the free market looks for profit, not strategy)
          http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/resources/GraysonHistory.doc

          1. John P Reid says:

            Quite,labour did by 1974 think of selling council homes Wilson and Cllgahan being extratic about it at the time, Benn rejected it at the 76 conference

          2. Robert says:

            The 1959 manifesto says sod all about selling council houses and in 1973/74

            Housing was a major policy area under the first Wilson government. During Wilson’s time in office from 1964 to 1970, more new houses were built than in the last six years of the previous Conservative government. The proportion of council housing rose from 42% to 50% of the total,[29] while the number of council homes built increased steadily, from 119,000 in 1964 to 133,000 in 1965 and to 142,000 in 1966. Allowing for demolitions, 1.3 million new homes were built between 1965 and 1970,[25] To encourage home ownership, the government introduced the Option Mortgage Scheme (1968), which made low-income housebuyers eligible for subsidies (equivalent to tax relief on mortgage interest payments).[30] This scheme had the effect of reducing housing costs for buyers on low incomes[31] and enabling more people to become owner occupiers.[32] In addition, house owners were exempted from capital gains tax. Together with the Option Mortgage Scheme, this measure stimulated the private housing market.[33]

            Significant emphasis was also placed on town planning, with new conservation areas introduced and a new generation of new towns built, notably Milton Keynes. The New Towns Acts of 1965 and 1968 together gave the government the authority (through its ministries) to designate any area of land as a site for a New Town

          3. Mervyn Hyde says:

            John P Reid:

            Without trying to ridicule this video explains why people like yourself either do not know how the economy really works, or are deliberately trying to deceive; that is even the Bank of England has produced a bulletin explaining most of which this little video has done, because students at our best universities are not taught the actual way our Banks operate.

            http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=you+tube+mmt+economics+for+dummies&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=DB03AB9359271CF67FDEDB03AB9359271CF67FDE

          4. John P Reid says:

            When did I. Comment on the economy?

  4. David Ellis says:

    It was the dithering, clueless, right wing labour governments of the 70s that kept Labour out of power in the 80s not Foot’s programme. And it is New Labour that has returned the tories to power once again on their most vicious programme ever having made Labour completely unelectable. Turns out the longest suicide note in history was New Labour.

    1. John P Reid says:

      Apart from unilateralism and leaving the EU,and reversing the things Thatcher brought in like buying back the council homes we sold off,there wasn’t much difference between the 74 manifesto and the 83 one,blaming the 79’s government for labour losing in 83 as labour wasn’t left wing enough in 74 so even less people voted labour 8 years later is silly,

    2. John P Reid says:

      The longest auicide not was new labour, Foots manifesto 8.4m votes Gordon Browns manifesto 8.65m votes

    3. Rod says:

      Callaghan was useless, more dithering even than Miliband.

      Of course, Miliband’s mistake was to cosy-up to New Labour “party of business” nonsense, Falkirk ‘crisis’ and Sun-loving antics.

      Miliband offered nothing to no one and therefore did worse than was anticipated.

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