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Tony Blair has once again criticised the Labour Party under Corbyn, saying it is now a ‘fringe protest movement’ and describes the current state of the Labour Party as a’ tragedy’.
In some ways, Blair is right. In some respects, you could agree with him entirely, but from the opposite side of the coin.
When you look at the current state of the Labour Party, you see division, you see dissent, and you see a leader being bullied by the people within the Party that are supposed to support him. The tragedy does not come from the fact that Corbyn is at the helm, the tragedy comes from the fact that Corbyn is the leader and his party are stopping him from leading.
With the likes of Simon Danczuk using traditional Tory ‘newspapers’, such as The S*n, as a medium to ridicule and undermine his leader, there is no doubt that there is a tragedy abound within the Labour Party. What we see now is Blairites going against, not only their leader, but a leader with a huge democratic mandate; essentially going against the Labour supporters and voters.
Unity and solidarity is what makes a party electable, so why can’t the Blairites stomach Corbyn?
Corbyn represents something new in politics, something Tony Blair suppressed and silenced. In 1997, Blair symbolised the change. Now, it’s Corbyn who represents a new kind of politics.
Essentially, Tony Blair got into power by emulating the Tories. It was successful, yes, but what it failed to do was provide a real opposition to the Conservative consensus left behind by Thatcher and Major. Instead he complied with this consensus, creating a Labour Party that abandoned its core beliefs, its heritage and its objectives. Blair, in his recent article, calls this compliance with the consensus, ‘pragmatism’, but many others would call it disregard.
He says that Labour is now a ‘fringe protest movement’ that has no aspiration to govern. What Blair means by this is that Corbyn’s Labour no longer complies with the agenda, left behind by Blair, of bowing to the Tory consensus. Instead, despite derisory remarks to the contrary, Labour is now truly opposing the government; it is no longer this ‘pragmatic’ party that will disregard its values for an inch of power.
What Labour should be doing is looking at what has really proven to be unelectable. They need to look at the 2015 election and see that Labour was still complying with the Tory agenda; with austerity, with cuts, and with a coordinated destruction of our public services. A real alternative to this is now being formed and presented to the public, a real opposition to the Tory rule. But Corbyn is still being constantly undermined by his own MPs.
Labour needs to assess its role within modern politics. With a Conservative government sucking wealth, growth and prosperity out of the most vulnerable sections in our society, should we really be trying to be more like them? Or should we instead give the people of Britain a real choice? What would really be the point in the Party Tony wants Labour to be? If we stand with the same policies under a different name, are we not depriving Britain of a real opposition to the malice with which the Conservatives are using against this country?
What Blair now represents is a tried and tested governmental ideology, that worked in it’s time, but has ultimately ceased to work. Blairism did win three elections, but since 2010, it has been defeated. These Blairites are called moderates in the party, but are they?
Blairism is now an indefensible ideology within Labour. Too long, it seems, have Labour consistently refrained from representing their traditional voters. Under Blair they ceased to be a party who stood for the working people, eagerly discarding Labour’s long-held socialist values and principles.
Blair needs to realise that gone are the days of ‘New Labour’. They did some brilliant things, but their legacy will not be remembered for those good things if they present themselves as a constant hindrance to the new ‘new’ Labour party and a thorn in Corbyn’s side. Labour realised that their party needed a change in the early 90s, now the Blairites need to realise that again, Labour needs to evolve. The members have decided this evolution will be catalysed by Corbyn, so, let him do his job.
Blair’s words are unnecessary, they are wrong, and they represent a failed wing of the party in our current society.
Labour now has a chance to distance itself from Blair and the legacy he has left on the Labour party. They have an opportunity to form a principled opposition that does what it says on the tin – stands up for the working people. It seems Labour has to take this chance, or face another election defeat.
Blair is right, the Labour party is a tragedy, but the blame is not on Corbyn.