As expected, Tony Blair blames left-wing policies for Labour’s loss

Image of Tony Blair, taken in 2012
Mohamed Elmaazi

Former prime minister Tony Blair has called for a ‘renewal’ of the Labour Party after blaming what he termed “the far left” for its election defeat on 12 December.

Blair oversaw the neoliberalisation of the Labour Party from the 1990s into the early 21st century. Perhaps unsuprisingly then, he’s now arguing that the socialist policies proposed by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour never have and never will appeal to “traditional” Labour voters.

Speaking in central London on 18 December, the New Labour politician, who oversaw the illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq, said “we don’t have the luxury of a slow march back”.

 

 

“Socialist polices” are in fact very popular

Labour Party activist Umaar Kazmi recently warned against buying into the inevitable argument from “the Labour right” that “common sense socialist policies” were not popular.

Kazmi, a law student at Nottingham University, argued that the 2017 general election results proved that Labour’s “socialist policy platform” was very popular.  He said this was evidenced by the fact that Labour “massively increased” its vote share and seats in parliament that year.

Analysis by the pro-capitalist Legatum Institute backs up Kazmi’s claim. It published a report in 2017 that showed 83% of the UK public supported nationalisation of water; 76% supported nationalisation of railways; 77% wanted public ownership of gas and electricity and 50% supported nationalisation of the banks. Increased public funding for the NHS also had overwhelming support.

Labour’s manifesto offered public ownership of such key industries and distinguished it from the policies of the Conservatives.

Numbers

Writing in Consortium News, Alexander Mercouris also pointed out that Labour’s vote share in this election was 32.2% compared with 30.4% in the 2015 general election, before Corbyn became leader. In addition, Mercouris says Corbyn:

won more votes and a bigger percentage of the vote than his two immediate predecessors, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

Mercouris, who largely ascribes Labour’s loss to its position on Brexit, also notes that, under Miliband, Labour lost 40 seats in Scotland – not to the Conservatives but to the pro-independence, left-wing SNP.

These were seats that Blair was able to take for granted when he was PM. It’s doubtful a neoliberal candidate could expect to regain them in the near future.

Brexit split the party

Blair also took aim at Labour’s position on Brexit saying:

we pursued a path of almost comic indecision – alienated both sides of the debate.

However, Kazmi – who was a delegate at the 2019 Labour conference – argued that:

The reality is we disregarded democracy, and democracy has now disregarded us. Whatever you think about the 2016 [Brexit] referendum, it took place, and people wanted that result implemented. That’s why they voted for the Conservatives, because they promised to ‘Get Brexit done’ while we sold out the Midlands and the North of England to satisfy remain fanatics in London.

Meanwhile, Blair actively sought to reverse the Brexit result. So it’s unlikely that his preferred leadership would have won votes for Labour in its heartlands.

Crossroads

There will be many reasons behind Labour’s electoral defeat: some within the Labour leadership’s control and others not. It is to be expected that people like Blair, who represent the legacy of neoliberalism and perpetual war, will seek to use the election result to regain control of the party once more. Whether the rank and file of the party will allow that to happen is another matter.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Chatham House

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  • Show Comments
    1. I’m not religious but I am spiritual (I think the pagans and Eastern philosophies are closest to the truth), and I think Blair has damned his soul for eternity. With a million dead it would take him many lifetimes to atone for all the death and pain he’s caused, and we might have got them, were it not for greedy people like himself who will kill off our species long before our time. How’s that for irony?

      His riches will be with him for this lifetime only, and if Karma is as real as it seems, he’s in for much sadness over his coming lifetimes until his kind make us extinct. And when we’re all dust, war criminals like him will have no way to rewrite what history says about him. He will be remembered as extremely bad news.

      1. Tony Blair: the most successful consecutive election winner in Labour’s history. Corbyn: loser of two consecutive elections and responsible for Labour’s worst defeat for 84 years. Blair may not know much about lots of things, but he knows a bit about winning elections: certainly more than Corbyn will ever know, and attacking him is meaningless. I don’t understand why Corbynistas are burying their heads in the sand, but, unless you change your way of thinking, the outcome will be the same. You lost disastrously, the Tories won bigtime, and it is you who need to change to alter the outcome. When will they ever learn…?

        1. Blair knows nothing of integrity, decency, prudence, and altruistic guiding principle. He surrounded himself with like-minded scoundrels. For them, ‘spin’ became the high point of political discourse. Closer to home than the millions whose lives Blair was complicit in wrecking is the appalling treatment of Dr Kelly; that is a matter Blair and his accomplices cannot lay blame for elsewhere.

          Johnson is in the same mould as Blair but not as bright. He too is opportunist and has gathered a coterie of knaves intent upon political and financial self-advancement. He too is capable of evil both by commission and omission.

          Obviously, Blair and Johnson share intuitive ability for gulling the masses; this unfortunately aided by the universal electoral franchise and a dismal educational system having being brought low by ‘Old’ Labour.

          1. You can slag people off as much as you like but it doesn’t change the price of fish.
            But as you mention “like-minded scoundrels” and “a coterie of knaves”, I wonder how you would describe folk like terrorist sympathiser McDonnell and racist Abbott and all the other London-centric metropolitans with whom Corbyn has surrounded himself, (thereby ignoring his original working-class base in the north)?
            Like I said, Blair knew how to win elections, and unless Labour do, they are simply impotent. Corbyn gifted Boris a massive majority: he just got his Brexit Bill through with a majority of 124! So he can do anything he wants for the next 5 years, and probably the 5 years after. Corbynistas can rail all they like, but they remain impotent unless they learn how to win an election again. All the rest is just sour grapes.

            1. Sounds like you’re one of the turkeys. Never fear, your Christmas will come, probably within five years as the other turkeys realise that they have been lied to and conned.
              Blaire may have known how to con the electorate but he has been sussed for the murderous warmonger that he is and his disapproval can only be good news for present Labour members.

            2. Tb665@live.co.uk: you still don’t get it and just slag people like me off for calling out inconvenient truths. So you and Corbyn continue with your virtue intact (in your own mind) and your firm belief that all those people who disagree with you must be “Turkeys”: you couldn’t possibly be wrong could you, not even a teensy-weensy bit? Meanwhile, people like you and Corbyn have gifted Boris a decade or two in power and reduced Labour to a laughing stock: congratulations.

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