.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tony Blair speaks out

Yesterday's Guardian reports on an intriguing intervention by Tony Blair in which he warns Ed Miliband that he must prevent Labour returning to a "comfort zone" in which it attacks all government cuts without providing a compelling alternative for Britain:

He wrote: "The guiding principle should be that we are the seekers after answers, not the repository for people's anger. In the first case, we have to be dispassionate even when the issues arouse great passion. In the second case, we are simple fellow-travellers in sympathy; we are not leaders. And in these times, above all, people want leadership."

Blair directly challenges Miliband's belief that the financial crash and the subsequent recession has created an appetite for a remodelling of capitalism from the left. The former prime minister writes: "The paradox of the financial crisis is that, despite being widely held to have been caused by under-regulated markets, it has not brought a decisive shift to the left. But what might happen is that the left believes such a shift has occurred and behaves accordingly."

Blair does not say Miliband believes this. But supporters of the former prime minister fear the Labour leader is in the process of making a mistake of historic proportions in believing that the financial crash, and a prolonged recession exacerbated by spending cuts, has created an appetite for a shift to the left. Some Blair supporters fear a repeat of 1987 when a reasonably united Labour party, which ran a slick election campaign, went down to a heavy defeat because it failed to tack to the centre.

Blair writes: "Having a modern vision … helps avoid the danger of tactical victories that lead to strategic defeats. It means, for example, that we don't tack right on immigration and Europe, and tack left on tax and spending. It keeps us out of our comfort zone but on a centre ground that is ultimately both more satisfying and more productive for party and country."

The former Prime Minister warns his party that they should not settle back into its old territory of defending the status quo and sets some challenging questions they need to answer if they are to convince voters that they can represent them in government.

This intervention does not appear to have been entirely welcomed by Ed Miliband and his entourage but they would do well to listen nevertheless.
We're now seeing the result of Blair's 'centre ground' and just how 'satisfying and more productive for party and country' it has been. He merely carried on the mantle of his recently deceased mentor.

We're in a prolonged era of austerity, having the highest combined debt in the western world, which is growing at an alarming rate, despite the savage cuts taking place, and hitting the poorest sections of our society, especially in Wales, hardest.

However, the underlying philosophy of the ConDem coalition remains essentially the same as that of Thatcher and Blair - unfettered capitalism, beggar my neighbour, greed, and selfishness.

My prediction is that it will not end well.

Btw, give my regards to your great leader, Mr Clegg, of whom you speak so highly and regularly on this blog. I hope he enjoyed his luxury skiing holiday in Davos.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?