Labour’s next disruption – Blair and Chilcot

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This last ten days have been traumatic and exhausting for any member of the Labour Party.   We are deeply divided amongst ourselves and calls for party unity can be dismissed. We must determine what sort of Party we want to become and the message we wish to present to the electorate. Whatever the outcome, somewhere between a third and a quarter of the existing membership will leave.

As a member for over 50 years I should be disappointed but I am not. Of course I am devastated by the overall political climate. The Referendum was won by dishonest politicians and we have seen the worst side of modern Britain emerge – with ignorance and racism driving the change. I can only apologise to my foreign readers: I am ashamed of my country. Such a situation demands an effective opposition and a change of direction under a new leader is essential if the Labour Party is to rise to this challenge. All credit therefore the Parliamentary Labour Party for forcing a leadership election with an uncertain result ahead.

There is no prospect of calm before the election. On 6th July we will see the long-awaited publication of the Chilcot enquiry report set up to examine the UK’s involvement in Iraq and ‘identify lessons that can be learned’. It can be expected to castigate former Prime Minister Tony Blair and give impetus to those to who support Jeremy Corbyn.

More than any other organisation, the Labour Party now defines itself by what it is against – certainly this has been the case at our local North Norfolk meetings. ‘Blairite’ is used as a term of abuse for anyone who questions the direction of travel – ignoring the fact that Tony Blair ceased to be leader of the Labour Party in June 2007, nine years ago.  Sadly Blair’s legacy will be defined by his mistakes on Iraq; this has prevented any balanced appraisal of his achievements in office, not least the ease with which the UK found its place in Europe. At no time did I view myself as a Blairite but we have done ourselves immense harm as a Party by denigrating his achievements in office.   Corbyn supporters at their demonstration in Parliament Square take comfort in chanting ‘Blairites out’ – this is so much easier than facing the harsh reality of the mess we are in today.

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8 thoughts on “Labour’s next disruption – Blair and Chilcot

  1. 1. I don’t think they have forced a leadership contest yet. So no credit there. And no credit for forcing a crisis at this point in time. And no credit for not laying out what they will offer that is different to before.

    2. Blairites out gives comfort? After years of being called dinosaurs perhaps it is just payback. Years of not taking notice of the changes needed has led to where we are now.

    3. Blair’s achievements? Yes. From the low base of conservative neglect that was not difficult. But I still remember Labour denigrating single mothers and so adopting that sneery attitude to others. Until the right wing acknowledge there was a lot wrong with the Blair years we will make no progress.

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    • Thank you John for these comments. I am happy to reproduce them since, although we disagree, they are expressed in a moderate tone.

      More to come on the substance in future blogs

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      • Hi leftyoldman
        I am not so much disagreeing with you as reminding you there is a different perspective and a different take on this. Just polarising back into the same old old will not see any improvement in the situation. It is quite clear the right wants Corbyn to resign. The left want a leadership election because they think they will win it. It seems to me the latter is more democratic and may force the right to actually say what they are proposing and standing for. They can work to change the rules if they want but they have to do it under the rules and at least make a pretence at being keen on democracy.

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  2. I see today that the Labour right are offering some concessions and a rudimentary plan so JC can resign with “dignity”.

    This is of course the sort of thing they should have been doing behind the scenes instead of causing such chaos and conflict. Now the wrong time as well as too little, too late.

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  3. Yours is not the only party in trouble. We watch from across the ocean to see how things will play out in the UK. However, I am sure you are watching us to see our issues in the US, as well.

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  4. given how long the rest of the party have had to plan the removal of jeremy corbyn they don’t seem to have a plan. poorly executed, all momentum will now be lost over the coming days.

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  5. The opposition to Corbyn in the Parliamentary Labour Party is now so broad
    that it cannot be regarded as a Blairite plot — as Clem Attlee might have
    put it, he is just not up to the job. Those that argue he should stay
    because he has a mandate should remember that democracy is not an objective
    and the version the Labour Party has for election of Leader is not going to
    resolve any tensions.

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    • The only way to resolve this “to resolve tensions” is for the PLP to lay out their case, propose a new leader and have them elected under the rules. Trying to bypass those rules because they do not like them is the undemocratic bit. As a fortunate side result they would have to actually state what they stand for and how it will be different from the New Labour years.

      The reality is it is a power struggle and the PLP wants to snatch the leadership and change the rules to favour themselves.

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