20 reasons why Keir Starmer shouldn’t ’embrace’ Tony Blair’s ‘legacy’

Keir Starmer looking right with Tony Blair both black and white

Keir Starmer is once again preparing to rebrand the Labour Party. This time, people are in uproar over his comments about ’embracing Tony Blair’s legacy’. So, thanks to a journalist for the Independent, here’s a helpful rundown of why Starmer shouldn’t embrace anything about his most notorious predecessor.

Starmer: hug a war criminal

Starmer gave an interview to the Financial Times (FT):

He didn’t actually say “embrace Blair’s legacy”. But Starmer did tell the FT that:

Read on...

We have to be proud of that record in government and not be arm’s length or distant about it.

He also noted that, much like Blair and Gordon Brown:

among my first tasks is rebuilding the relationship between the Labour party and business


“Proudly remind” people of the Blair years

The FT wrote that:

Starmer said “Labour only ever wins if it glimpses the future” but for the party to convince voters it can transform their lives, it must “proudly remind” people of what it did the last time it was in office.

Hmm. You would be forgiven for thinking this all seems a bit rose-tinted. But luckily, a journalist for the Independent was on hand to help refresh Starmer’s memory over the Blair/Brown years.

Making the Tories blush

Back in 2020, Jon Stone began a helpful thread on Twitter. It detailed many of the previous Labour government’s not so good moves:

You can read Stone’s full thread here. Below is a run-down of the Blair/Brown years’ worst moments:

  • In 2000, Labourstripped refugees of benefits and made them use vouchers to buy food”. Blair’s government backtracked a few years later.
  • The party cut social security for lone parents to “help them back to work”.
  • A Labour minister wanted to make having a job a condition of being entitled to a council house. Or, as Stone put it, “strip unemployed council tenants of their homes”.
  • Blair, as Stone described it, “boasted that he would leave Britain with the most restrictive anti-trade union laws in the western world”.
  • Labour introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). Part of this policy included ‘naming and shaming’ people in the media and in leaflets and included children under 10.
  • It also introduced a points-based immigration system for migrants from outside the EU.
  • A Labour health secretary wanted to introduce a “for-profit ‘NHS Plus’ paid-for health insurance top-up system”.
  • As Stone noted, Blair “wanted to sell off more social housing by extending Right To Buy to housing associations, with the explicit political aim of reducing the difference between Labour and Tory policies”.
  • The former PM alsowelcomed 11 private healthcare firms into the ‘NHS family’ and promised them a stronger foothold in the health service”.
  • Labour tried to, as Stone put it, “cut benefits for asylum seekers and then take their children away into care once they become destitute”.
Right-wing Labourites

And there’s more:

  • Blair agreed with a shopping centre that banned people wearing hoodies and baseball caps.
  • Labourtold councils to stop translating things into other languages to make life more difficult for immigrants who didn’t speak English, as an ‘incentive’”.
  • Blair set a target to halve the number of people claiming asylum in the UK.
  • Former home secretary David Blunkett told British Asians that they should speak English even in their own homes.
  • Labour increased the the use of stop and search, introducing a new power where people could be stopped without suspicion. This power was later found to be unlawful.
  • Blair also brought in “indiscriminate” 9pm police curfew powers for under-16s. The policy was unlawful, and Labour had to scrap it.
  • It was Labour which introduced controversial welfare reforms that forced lone parents – as well as chronically ill and disabled people – to look for work or lose their social security.
  • Back to Blunkett, and Stone noted that he “said he had ‘no sympathy’ with asylum seekers from Kosovo and Afghanistan arriving in Britain and said they should ‘go home’”.
  • Stone wrote that Blair said “Muslim women who wore the veil make people ‘feel uncomfortable’, that their clothes are a ‘mark of separation’, and that he wasn’t sure whether they could make a full contribution to British society”.
  • Oh, and of course there was the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath; increasing Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) in the NHS; the UK’s role in US rendition flights and torture, and the war in Afghanistan.
Labour: dead in the water?

So, all this has led to Blair being deeply unpopular. As one Twitter user summed up:

Yet Starmer wants us to be “proud” of  all this, according to the FT.  The whitewashing of the Blair/Brown legacy (and the fact it paved the way for the successive Tory governments’ catastrophic management of the UK) is a stain on the current Labour leader. And this latest rebranding back to a Blairite MO also shows the desperation setting in at the heart of the Labour Party machinery.

Featured image via LADbible TV – YouTube and ITV News – YouTube

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?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The Neo-Con deregulated “Free Market” was the final nail in the coffin for democracy.
      Ever since then, Big Business, Big Banks and other unaccountable plutocrats have controlled the world with their lobbyists ensuring that only willing lackey placemen perpetuate their cesspit of corruption. Labour/Tory or Democrat/Republican – they’re mostly rotten to the core.
      There has always been corruption in the world but I now believe it has reached stratospheric proportions.

    2. An article I agree with. Jesus.
      The traditional left (and harder left) need to split from Labour. The centrists have taken over both parties and are pushing personalities rather than politics. Corbyn, Boris, Blair etc are big characters and distract from policy, and create division rather than discussion (I’ll admit Starmer doesn’t quite fit the mould with his cardboard personality).
      If you ignore the guff about GB News and watch Farage interviewing Ken Livingstone it’s a breath of fresh air. Both men speaking openly, without interruption, and showing respect for each other and their views. The Media, and the political parties have tried to stifle this kind of engagement for too long. We need to remove this globalist, centrist rot and return to, dare I say it, honest politics.
      Blair is a vile creature that needs to slither back under whatever rock he’s been living. He was toxic for the Labour Party, toxic for the UK and murderous in relation to interventionist foreign policy.

      1. Comparing Corbyn to a centrist liar such as Blair and bourgeoisie liar such as De Pfeffel Johnson, shows just how ideolically myopic one is…
        Farage was beaten by a candidate dress in a dolphin suit yet you speak of him as relevant..
        More quality insights please, yawn…… TTFN Boomer

    3. Once again the establishment Zionist puppet Kier Starmer demonstrates he is entirely without gorm. Kier Hardie must be spinning in his grave at how Starmer is trashing the Labour Party. Tony B’liar was a traitor to the Labour movement and Starmer is as bad.

    4. Yes, it is desperation, but worse: it’s an attempt to airbrush Corbyn and his supporters. In 2017 Corbyn scored 40% of the votes cast, five per cent more than Blair in 2005, eleven per cent more than Brown in 2010. And that while the Labour bureaucracy and almost the entire PLP was working for his defeat. The Right simply can’t adjust to what happened and their denial has sent them literally insane. Labour is now out of touch with reality. It has long been social democratic at best, but that wasn’t unhinged, just misjudged. Labour is now truly unhinged. Its leadership genuinely believes Corbyn is a racist. Like all forms of madness, it is clinging to what can never return. Attempting to re-run the Blair years is as crazed as digging up the skeleton of Harold Wilson (who, by the way, would have agreed with nine tenths of Corbyn’s agenda). Just when climate change is revealing the dreadful cost of capitalism, Labour sides wholeheartedly with capital. It couldn’t be more dismal and less inspiring. Starmer has no chance of winning. Can Labour elect a radical leader when he fails? The Right will make sure no radical can every again be on the ballot. There is no choice but the creation of a new movement left of Labour which by constitution will be committed to reforming capitalism out of existence. MIllions will rally to that. It will inspire, especially the young. It needs a big union or two to get behind it and put up some money. Labour is now funded by arms dealers and followers of Herzl. Out of Labour’s ashes let’s build a new force for real democracy and equality, workers’ control, thoroughly democratic local communities. Let’s revive the vision of a society in which people do things for themselves, both capitalism and the State elbowed aside.

      1. “Its leadership genuinely believes Corbyn is a racist.” Who told you that lie?
        ” Like all forms of madness, it is clinging to what can never return.” So why are you clinging to the dead past?
        “There is no choice but the creation of a new movement left of Labour which ” will be a total failure.

    5. “Yet Starmer wants us to be “proud” of all this, according to the FT.” Er, no, that is not what was said or implied ,was it. But never let the truth get in the way of good old Trot bigotry, eh?
      So go ahead and guarantee there will never, ever be a Labour government.
      The Tories are sitting pretty and they know it, no matter what they do. Congratulations.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.