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Blair's last stand « Previous | |Next »
September 26, 2006

As the tensions in No 10 Downing Street spill over into the public sphere the battered Labour government looks to be in a mess. New Labour is struggling to find a new policy vision, which will energize the party at a time when the government is faced with a 'its time for a change mood' in the electorate and the long shadow of Murdoch's Daily Mail with its roots in the old Tory working and lower middle class.

Rowson1.jpg
Martin Rowson

Does New Labour have any policy substance? Or is all style? Blair did have the ability to win over and hold middle-ground voters, but then the middle is progressive now.

New Labour faces some tough policy decisions in domestic policy: reforming the National Health Service and public schooling. More privatisation?What happens to social democracy and Old Labour's defence of the welfare state?

Ross McKibbin, writing in the London Review of Books, says that:

...the overwhelming influence of America on New Labour is inescapable: Blair’s foreign policies are merely their most dramatic manifestation. To Blair, and even more to Gordon Brown and his kitchen cabinet, America stands for ingenuity, dynamism, wealth and power. It is the model to which we should aspire. This view has always trumped Blair’s Europeanism and has effectively eliminated ‘Europe’ as a model for this country.But Blair’s attitudes to America differ little from those of the Conservatives....The Conservative Party, like Blair, clearly thinks that America alone has the strength and desire to shape the world, and that if you too want to shape the world you have to do it by America’s side. Standing literally by America’s side also suits Blair’s seemingly obsessive wish to be the centre of attention. What better way to do that than to stand shoulder to shoulder with the president of the United States?

It's not quite shoulder to shoulder is it.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:22 PM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

I watched Blairs last speech(is it?)with the hope he would drop down dead with a heart attack, nothin doin still the Gods may yet be good to me, he may be already dieing of cancer as I type.?What a smarmy prick this man is, and I use the term man loosely.There they were the party faithful in a trance they love the prick.I love his style"I am not a conservative" he tells the faihful,of course this is the guilt trip coming out of this fucker he's a conservative of that I am more sure of anything in this life.To a lefty like me this man is an affront to everything I believe in,Goodbye and good riddence to you Mr Blair.

LPhil,
I've been caught up in work in Canberra so the best that I could do was watch a video of Gordon Brown watching Tony Blair giving his speech. I understand that it was a triumphant speech despite the 'I'm right, you are wrong and the punters are with me. ' The man is a skilful political performer --akin to Bill Clinton's wizardry and he had a talent for winning elections.

It is a rather long goodbye isn't it.

Blair runs an interesting argument. The ruptures from Labour tradition - eg., the involvement of the private sector in health and education - actually represent the fulfilment of Labour ideals. Clearly many Labour people are not persuaded---that it is a case of either bringing the private sector in or allow public services to wither, with no middle way between the two. Gordon Brown will continue with this kind of New Labor domestic reform run from, and controlled by Whitehall (Treasury) even though Brown is left of centre to Blair's centre.

Blair's spell --New Labour is aspiration and compassion reconciled----came undone because of Iraq. He had to go because of Iraq.