27th September, 2010
Watching the conference delegates for the five minutes I could stand it on the box this morning, I noticed that Labour party members somehow look more comfortable in opposition. Back where they belong? In the complaints corner?
Well, in my humble opinion, for what it’s worth, they’re likely to remain there for many years, dancing like loons on the grave of their most successful period and leader, EVER. That’s ever, EVER.
And they say admirers of Tony Blair are deranged!
OLD LABOUR’S RESURRECTION
Yesterday, the Labour Party essentially hammered the nails into New Labour’s coffin. After over a decade in power and Tony Blair’s record breaking three election victories, Labour ultimately failed to embrace modern, progressive politics and withdrew into its comfortable, leftish home.
The party had the existential choice between going backwards to the tribal, reactionary, ideologically indoctrinated pre- Blair era or forward to a progressive, centre-oriented post-Blair era.
It was a close race. But eventually their leftist hearts won over their struggling minds and the party resumed its tradition of choosing the wrong leader at the wrong time.
Many within Labour believe Ed Miliband, the state educated son of a Marxist, is a safe pair of hands. But ‘Red Ed’, so his new nickname, will quickly turn into an electoral liability rather than an asset.
He’s now widely perceived as the unions’ King. He won because four of the biggest unions, GMB, UCATT, Unison, and UNITE, gave him their strong support. His decision to make Diane Holland, Assistant General Secretary of the Unite Union, Labour’s new Treasurer and his firm Brownite credentials will hardly weaken that assumption.
What is striking however is that it his older brother, David, had the majority among Labour MPs. He also scored considerably higher in the constituency- by- constituency results. The majority of CLPs throughout Scotland, Wales, and England gave him their votes. Additionally, he won every constituency in London and the support of the non-trade union affiliated organisations, such as the Fabians.
This paradox shows not only that the party’s electoral system is ridiculously grotesque but also that Labour is out of touch with the common people.
Ed Miliband may perfectly appeal to Labour’s traditional voting base. The middle class, the centre, the group of those who so easily identified with the likes of Tony Blair however inhabit a very different set of social circumstances.
Elections are no longer won on the left or the right, but in the centre. David Cameron’s Conservative Party had to learn that bitter truth the hard way, after three disastrous election defeats.
After over a decade in power, Labour is now where it started its journey thirteen years ago. Tony Blair’s New Labour, the movement that made Labour electable again after eighteen years in opposition, was apparently no more than a passing phase. It was buried by a party that after all refused to modernise.
During his election campaign, Ed Miliband tried in an absurd and pathetic way to distance himself from Blairism and New Labour’s legacy, the most successful social political creation of peace time Europe.
Labour will pay a high price for its ignorance and ingratitude. One can only hope that the upcoming long and painful years in opposition will heal the party from its toxic Blair Displacement Syndrome.
David Miliband spoke to conference today for only around 15 minutes. Seems he is still considering his future. This is from Andrew Sparrow’s rolling update:
10.44am: David Miliband is addressing the conference now. He says he will only be saying a few words. On his computer there is a file marked Saturday version 7, and another for Tuesday, he says. So he has some material to draw upon. But he will not be giving those speeches.
Miliband says Labour has a “great new leader” and that the party has to get behind him. He is “incredibly proud of his brother”, he says. Ed is “special person” to him. Now he is a “special person” to the Labour party. The party has to make him a “special person” to the British people.
Miliband says you do not enter a contest unless you want to win. But, equally, you should not enter unless you are reconciled to the prospect of losing. So, don’t worry, he says. “I will be fine.”
A couple of quotes from Sparrow’s reports on the conference yesterday:
• John Prescott has failed in his bid to become Labour’s treasurer, the party confirmed. Like David Miliband, he was beaten by the votes of union members. They voted overwhelmingly for Diana Holland, a senior Unite official. Prescott beat Holland in the members’ section of the electoral college, but Holland won overall because she got virtually all the votes in the union section.
• Paul Kenny, the GMB general secretary, said New Labour should be “stuck in a museum for the future”. He was welcoming Ed Miliband’s declaration that the era of New Labour is over. (See 2.45pm)
So there we have it. Even Prescott is not seen as left enough for the wallies.
- Ed Miliband: New Labour is dead (telegraph.co.uk)
- John Prescott loses Labour treasurer vote (guardian.co.uk)
- Michael White’s political briefing: Bye bye Blairism as the Labour party moves on (guardian.co.uk)
- Union votes crucial in narrowest of wins for Ed Miliband (independent.co.uk)
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“Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the priviledge of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – ““I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is a honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: Conservative, David Cameron, David Miliband, Diana Holland, Ed Miliband, GMB, in political wilderness, John Prescott, labour, Marxist, new labour, Old Labour, Red Ed, RIP New Labour, stcuk in a museaum, tombstone image, Tony Blair, UCATT, Unison, UNITE