Labour veteran Dennis Skinner has a few choice words for Tony Blair. The former prime minister recently called for people to vote for parties other than Labour in the European elections, which take place on 23 May.
“He has to be exposed”
I do come across people who cannot vote for Labour, in which case I say ‘don’t stay at home – vote for any of the other parties’.
At the end of this there’s going to be a totting up and… it’s important that the Remain side comes out because MPs will be making decisions based on that.
Speaking to the Morning Star, Skinner responded:
What do you expect from Tony Blair? Don’t play the man’s game. He has to be exposed.
Branding Blair a “destructive force”, the MP for Bolsover continued:
He had a massive majority and he destroyed it — it all started in that shack in America with George [W] Bush. He went into Iraq and destroyed himself. He helped David Cameron and Theresa May into power. You’re talking about a man who made a mess of it.
After Blair’s initial victory in 1997, Labour lost five million votes and its membership slumped to under 180,000. That was after Blair flipped on the electorate and continued Margaret Thatcher’s legacy, such as privatising services like air traffic control. By contrast, under Corbyn, membership has soared to around 540,000 and the party increased its general election vote share by more than at any point since 1945.
Trying to “destroy” Labour
The former Labour leader also recently praised Change UK, the new party of defected Tory and Labour MPs. Blair called the new centrist group part of a “fightback”, despite its line up of MPs like Anna Soubry – who was a cabinet minister under David Cameron.
In his comments to the Morning Star, Skinner also said Blair is trying to “destroy the Labour Party” under its new direction. In fact, it looks like Blair may have breached Labour Party membership rules with his comments supporting other parties. The rules state:
A member of the Party who joins and / or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a Party member
It’s a scandal that Blair, who presided over a million Iraq war deaths, is still in Labour. Not to mention it’s terrible PR for a party trying to shore up its anti-war credentials under Corbyn. Skinner is right to shut the former leader down. In fact, the party should kick him out immediately.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?