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Never thought I would say it: Blair tells it like it is. Labour needs to go back to the 90s

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Never thought I would say it: Blair tells it like it is. Labour needs to go back to the 90s

30 replies 785 views
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/20/tony-blair-only-a-complete-renewal-of-labour-will-do

Corbynism is in tatters. The worst defeat imaginable. Labour locked out of power for a decade or more, and what are the leadership hopefuls discussing? The same issues that the electorate hated before Christmas, but with even less direction or clarity. Rebecca Long Bailey and Lisa Nandy are coming to blows over trans-rights. An issue that would win literally dozens of votes in most of the country, and turns off 99% of conservative Britain. 

Over on the leftwing Facebook groups I am a member of,  feathers are flying over whether Keir Starmer is a bigger traitor to the Palestinian people than Emily Thornberry might have been or Lisa Nandy will be. Because as last December showed, there is nothing that gets you votes like hating Israel. Let's make sure that issue never goes away - as if the UK can influence what happens in the Middle East one iota.

What Blair understood, that many of the Labour membership do not, is that English people (above Scots and Welsh) are small 'c' conservative. They are right of centre. They like the Royal Family, they like tradition. They don't like rapid change. They aren't especially keen on taxes or blanket welfare, or unions really. The US is a much clearer indication of where English people are politically, than the hastily erected British post war Socialist icons. 

Look, I love the NHS. I believe in the welfare state. But it would never have happened outside of the crucible of the aftermath of WW2. The Tories voted against it, and at most other points in history before and since, most English voters would have agreed with them.

What Blair understood, is that we have to keep making the case for these things, rather than viewing them as sacred cows that are fundamental to English culture. Shrieking with rage whenever the Right criticises them - or we will lose them altogether. Labour needs to appeal to the electorate there is, rather than the one they think should exist. There is limited space on the page, and that needs to be filled with jobs, helping rather than handing out, and guarding tradition. Not antisemitism, national projects that English people don't want to pay for, and hand wringing over gender signs on public toilets. 

So let's have a pragmatic, progressive Labour Party that listens to what people want, rather than telling them what they want.

And for the love of God and all that's holy, stop going on about Israel. Just stop.

What I wouldn't give to wake up to this and find Boris Johnson never existed

Tony Blair has warned the next Labour leader against becoming trapped in a “cul-de-sac of identity politics” over issues such as transgender rights, as he used an event in London to reiterate his belief that the party must focus on making itself electable again.

“You’ve got to distinguish between the advocacy of certain things that are right, whether it’s about gay rights, transgender rights, whatever it is,” he said in a Q&A session after a speech to mark the 120th anniversary of the founding of the party.

Transgender rights has become an increasingly significant issue in the leadership contest, with Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy both signing a controversial 12-point pledge that includes the promise to expel “transphobic” members.

Blair said he would not have signed the pledge, arguing there were “all sorts of difficult issues that have got to be resolved” first.
In his speech opening the event, Blair said Labour should examine trying to “correct the defect from our birth” that separated Liberal and Labour traditions on the left.
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Replies

  • phillwphillw Forumite
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    I don't like Tony Blair for various reasons, but I'd rather give the 90's another go than what Boris is going to turn the country into.
  • shaggydooshaggydoo Forumite
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    I watched the LP leadership candidates debating on Newsnight. Israel, Trans rights and making a positive case for freedom of movement.... I thought, well, you'll appeal to the voters in the red wall that's exactly what they care about ;)

    What do we do when we fall? We get up, dust ourselves off and start walking in the right direction again. Perhaps when we fall, it is easy to forget there are people along the way who help us stand and walk with us as we get back on track.
  • edited 20 February at 4:01PM
    shaggydooshaggydoo Forumite
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    edited 20 February at 4:01PM
    QUOTE ARKLIGHT
    "Over on the leftwing Facebook groups I am a member of,  feathers are flying over whether Keir Starmer is a bigger traitor to the Palestinian people than Emily Thornberry might have been or Lisa Nandy will be. Because as last December showed, there is nothing that gets you votes like hating Israel. Let's make sure that issue never goes away - as if the UK can influence what happens in the Middle East one iota."

    That is anti semitism right there. There is so much injustice in the world but Labour supporters like to focus on Palestine. Why? Some might say because that gives them a reason to hate on Jews....Clearly, they haven't listened to any of the critism if they are still banging on about it.
    What do we do when we fall? We get up, dust ourselves off and start walking in the right direction again. Perhaps when we fall, it is easy to forget there are people along the way who help us stand and walk with us as we get back on track.
  • Mickey666Mickey666 Forumite
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    I don't much like Blair but he's completely right.  Old Labour hasn't been elected to government for almost 50 years yet its supported tend to hate Blair with a passion - and for what?  He's been the only Labour PM in the last 50 years so he must have got something right - at least when it comes to winning general elections.  As for whether he did good/bad things, well take your pick and choose a reason to support it - because that's the thing with politics.  It's mostly based on opinons (and largely uninformed ones at that) and over the long term the parties/governments chop and change and make little significant difference, they just react to prevailing circumstances and muddle through.  I liken it to the stock market - it flits up and down in the short terms but always rises over the long terms (and thank goodness for our pensions' sakes!).  So just ingore it all and concentrate on actively making a better/happier life rather than passively waiting (in vain) for some government to do it for you.
  • Martin_the_UnjustMartin_the_Unjust Forumite
    188 posts
    100 Posts
    shaggydoo said:
    QUOTE ARKLIGHT
    "Over on the leftwing Facebook groups I am a member of,  feathers are flying over whether Keir Starmer is a bigger traitor to the Palestinian people than Emily Thornberry might have been or Lisa Nandy will be. Because as last December showed, there is nothing that gets you votes like hating Israel. Let's make sure that issue never goes away - as if the UK can influence what happens in the Middle East one iota."

    That is anti semitism right there. There is so much injustice in the world but Labour supporters like to focus on Palestine. Why? Some might say because that gives them a reason to hate on Jews....Clearly, they haven't listened to any of the critism if they are still banging on about it.
    The reason is obvious unfortunately, one particular religion has more voters in the UK than the one being picked on.
  • LungboyLungboy Forumite
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    So Blair crossed a picket line to tell Labour to throw the marginalised and helpless under a bus? Great guy.
  • shaggydooshaggydoo Forumite
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    Lungboy said:
    So Blair crossed a picket line to tell Labour to throw the marginalised and helpless under a bus? Great guy.

    Blair did more for the marginalised and helpless than any other PM. You wouldn't know it when you listen to the Corbynites though.

    What do we do when we fall? We get up, dust ourselves off and start walking in the right direction again. Perhaps when we fall, it is easy to forget there are people along the way who help us stand and walk with us as we get back on track.
  • shaggydooshaggydoo Forumite
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    TB's government's achievements.

    1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
    2. Low mortgage rates.
    3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52 per hour.
    4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
    5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
    6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
    7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
    8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
    9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
    10. 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens. 
    11. 85,000 more nurses.
    12. 32,000 more doctors.
    13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
    14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
    15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
    16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
    17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
    18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.
    19. Restored city-wide government to London.
    20. Record number of students in higher education.
    21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.
    22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
    23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
    24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
    25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
    27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
    28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.
    29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
    30. The Child Poverty Act – 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
    31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
    32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
    33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
    34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997: the shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
    35. Banned fox hunting.
    36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
    37. Free TV licences for over-75s.
    38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
    39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
    40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s and disabled people.
    41. New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
    42. Over 3 million child trust funds started.
    43. Free eye test for over 60s.
    44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.
    45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.
    46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
    47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
    48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.
    49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.
    50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school. 
    51. Gender Recognition Act 2004/5
    52. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
    53. Walk-in Health Centres and GP out of hours Service.
    54. Digital hearing aids, through the NHS.
    55. Children’s Act 2004, 2008 – Every Child Matters.
    56. Introduced Smoke–Free legislation, 2007 – child health improving continually since.
    57. Retail Distribution Review – ending commission for financial advisers
    58. Introduced legislation to make company ‘blacklisting’ unlawful.
    59. The Equality Act.
    60. Established the Disability Rights Commission in 1999.
    61. The Human Rights Act.
    62. Signed the European Social Chapter.
    63. Launched £1.5 billion Housing Pledge of new affordable housing.
    64. The Autism Act 2009.
    65. New Deal for Communities Regeneration Programme.
    66. All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer.
    67. Introduced vaccination to be offered to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer.
    68. Rough sleeping dropped by two thirds and homelessness at its lowest level since the early 1980s
    69. 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act.
    70. Increased Britain’s offshore wind capacity than any country in the world, to provide enough electricity to power 2 million homes.
    71. Led the campaign to win the 2012 Olympics for London.
    72. Introduced the first ever British Armed Forces and Veterans Day to honour past and present achievements of our armed forces.
    73. Created a new right of pedestrian access, so that every family has equal opportunity to access the national coastline.
    74. Led the campaign to agree a new international convention banning all cluster munitions.
    75. Launched the Swimming Challenge Fund to support free swimming for over 60s and under 16s.
    76. Sustainable Communities Actcreated community safety partnerships.
    77. Set up a dedicated Department for International Development.
    78. Cancelled approximately 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
    79. Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year, globally.
    80. Helped to get 40 million more children into school, globally.
    81. Worked to ensure polio is on the verge of being eradicated, globally.
    82. Ensured 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
    83. Improved water/sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
    84. Launched a Governance and Transparency Fund to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries.
    85. The Neighbourhood Renewal programme – introduced funding for neighbourhood improvements.
    86. The Extending Schools Program – included Breakfast and Homework clubs to improved levels of educational achievement and the longer term life chances of disadvantaged children.
    87. Launched the Connexions  Service – provided valuable careers advice and support to young people seeking employment.
    88. Introduced Working Family Tax credits to support low paid parents in work and to pay for childcare.
    89. Introduced the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
    90. Established The Future Jobs Fund to provide all young people access to a job, training or education.
    91. Introduced Warm Front –  helped 2.3 million vulnerable households, those in fuel poverty, with energy efficiency improvements.
    92. Guaranteed paid holidays – introduced a law to ensure that everyone who works is entitled to a minimum paid holiday of 5.6 weeks,
    93. Introduced the right to request flexible working.
    94. Introduced improved work hours – introduced a law so employers cannot force employees to work more than 48 hours a week.
    95. Protection against unfair dismissal – introduced protections for workers and increased the maximum compensation from £12,000 to around £63,000.
    96. Introduced Rights for Part-time workers – the right to equal pay rates, pension rights, pro-rata holidays and sick pay.
    97. Introduced the Right to breaks at work
    98. Introduced the Right to representation  – every worker can be a member of a trade union and be represented in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
    99. Rights for parents and carers – introduced the right to time off to deal with unexpected problems for their dependants, such as illness.
    100. Introduced literacy and numeracy hours in schools and extended diversity to the curriculum.
    101. Reduced class sizes to 30 for 5-7 year old children.
    102. Introduced a public interest test, allowing governments to block international business takeovers on three specific grounds: media plurality, national security or financial stability.
    103. Introduced the (anti-)Bribery Act 2010
    104. Established the Standards Board for England under Labour’s Local Government Act 2000 for promoting and ensuring high ethical standards and code of conduct in local government.
    105. Introduced the first ever Climate Change Act 2008.


    What do we do when we fall? We get up, dust ourselves off and start walking in the right direction again. Perhaps when we fall, it is easy to forget there are people along the way who help us stand and walk with us as we get back on track.
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