Blair warns Miliband against a move to the left
In an article published this morning, Tony Blair warned Ed Miliband against reverting Labour into a mouthpiece for protest against Tory policy.
Writing for the New Statesman’s 100th anniversary issue, along with comments on government policy and the financial crisis, the former Prime Minister issued a strong critique of Miliband’s Labour, highlighting particular concerns about the party’s shift towards a more conventional left.
Key to Blair’s article is identifying a change in the political landscape, that party politics has once again become a battle between the archetypal beliefs of the left and the right.
While the Conservatives have readopted “the mantle of fiscal responsibility, buttressed by moves against ‘benefit scroungers’, immigrants squeezing out British workers and Labour profligacy,” Labour has regressed to the party “opposing ‘Tory Cuts,’ highlighting the cruel consequences of the Conservative policies on welfare and representing the disadvantaged and vulnerable.
The former Labour leader is well known for opposing the ideological nature of party politics. Blair noted in the foreword to the paperback edition of his memoirs: “What comes out [of the party battle] is a form of transactional politics in which the risk is that, even if you start with the right answer, it’s slowly whittled away into mush.”
Highlighting the “menacing” nature behind the recent political shift in the New Statesman, Blair wrote that Labour are set to bear the greater brunt of consequence if Miliband continues to drive the party to a position whereupon they serve little more than a “repository for people’s anger.”
A spokesperson for the Labour party has since said that while “it is always important to listen to Tony Blair” there are lessons to be learned “about the mistakes in office and crafting an immigration policy that will make Britain’s diversity work for all not just a few”.
The spokesperson concluded: “It is by challenging old ways of doing things, showing we have understood what we did right and wrong during our time in office that One Nation Labour will win back people’s trust.”