Thursday, May 15, 2008


Don't Worry Gordon, New Labour has won the Crucial Battles

Jonathan Freedland yesterday expressed astonishment at how Labour spinners are seeking to interpret defeat as victory; for example claiming Boris's win as the expression of New Labour's success in reducing class resntment. But likely to bring more comfort to Gordon's beleagured psyche, is the piece by Bagehot in the Economist(yes, I know, I 've nicked their picture). He argues:

1. Wheras Tories in the 80s merely dismissed poverty as the fault of the poor and the price society paid for overall economic success, Cameron has focused on the 10p tax issue in the Crewe byelection. It is New Labour's success in changing the political weather which has caused this.

2. On the NHS Labour has 'entrenched a consensus in favour of a universal, taxpayer funded heatlh service.'

3. On diversity and tolerance Labour has hauled the Conservatives into the 21st century on matters such a homosexuality and the promotion of female and ethnic candidates.

4. Like his political hero, Tony Blair, Cameron has learned to 'emote, to act, to do politics in his shirtsleeves'. [he columnist adds 'One of Mr Brown's problems is he can't, not really'.]

Bagehot quotes a senior Tory who says 'The next election will be won by whoever is most New Labour' So, that settles it, Labour have won hands down over the last decade. The problem is, why doesn't it feel at all like it as the next decade of their rule gets under way. Oh, perhaps I shouldn't mention it, but Freedland also suggested in the article linked above, that it would be better for Labour to lose in 2010, than win another term and then be wiped out for a generation in 2014-5.

Tha antipodean snarth is a long way from being the looser in this struggle.
The closer it gets, the further away it becomes, and although that may seem a very mundane assessment of the long fought out wrangle, the opposite has never been more fundamental.
Joseph Schattswitz always maintained that the pride was never worth the fall but how did he have that insight without have reason to.
I agree entirely with the last sentence.How many Tories now wish Major had lost in 1992? As a Labour supporter it is obvious to me the party has run out of steam in government, it needs the sort of reflection that can only be achieved in opposition.I suspect a Cameron government would quickly unravel as the old guard reassert their subdued authority...
Interesting post, and yes indeed, the Blair years have left the Tories feeling that they have to turn themselves into New Labour to be elected. Hence Cameron, and the wishy-washy policies rendolent of the 'third way'.

Equally, however, you could say that the Thatcher/Major years obliterated the Labour party, which has become if anything much more removed from its 1970s counterpart than the Tories, certainly economically.
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