Politics

Who Are The Blairites?

blair

I don’t know if you heard but on Friday morning an ex. Prime Minister gave a speech about the EU. You know the one: haunted look, manic smile, constantly on edge as if he’s seeing ghosts – oh and a bloody good orator. It’s a sad state of affairs when the only person in the Labour party speaking for the 63% of Labour voters who voted Remain is Tony Blair. Yep for just 10 minutes Blair was back although, listening to the bickering among Labour members over the last 18 months, it’s hard to believe he ever went away.

“The Blairites” are the reason Corbyn’s Labour Party won’t win a General Election. Corbyn’s approval ratings plummeting? It’s because of the Blarities briefing against him. An MP resigns from their seat? Blairite coup. Labour’s polling getting worse week after week? It was fine until the Blairites. It was the Blairites who elected Gareth Snell, the anti-Corbyn candidate, in attempt to lose Stoke. You see Blairites are both ruthless careerist politicians who will do anything to get Labour back in to power but are also masterminding plots to keep Labour out of power. They are completely toxic: clinging to the values of an ex. leader with lower approval ratings than Corbyn. The public hate Blairites, they’re the reason we lost so many members and why our share of the vote decreased during New Labour’s tenure, oh and at the same time they’re so revered that their opinion of Corbyn can sway voters.

So who are these apparent puppet masters? Who are The Blairites?

Well Blair obviously – he’s a massive Blairite. He loves all the Blair stuff: Iraq, PFI, tuition fees, academies etc… I think we can all agree on that. Technically the term “Blairite” refers to the most right-wing faction of the Labour Party which would include: Liz Kendall, a self-confessed “fan” of Blair, Jamie Reed, Tristam Hunt and David Miliband. Four of those people are no longer serving as MPs. Caroline Flint would often be classed as a Blarite but after condemning Blair’s speech on Friday, towing the party line on Marr this morning and voting in line with three-line whip on Article 50 people are not sure what to think.

And here’s the problem: some Corbyn supporters seem to use the term Blairite to describe ANYONE who has ever disagreed with Corbyn.

David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, is called a Blairite because he defied Corbyn on the Article 50 vote. However he is also one of the MPs who nominated Corbyn to be leader in 2015.

Catherine West, my local MP, is apparently now a Blairite for not following the three line whip on Article 50. She is one of the few MPs who didn’t vote “no confidence” in him last year and on the day he was elected leader in 2015 and attended the “Refugees Welcome” march immediately after the result was announced, appearing onstage next to Corbyn.

Corbyn’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner is a Blairite for her claiming, “Tony Blair’s tenure changed my life it gave my children a life that I could never have dreamt of having and I want us to get back to that.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is a Blairite, despite nominating Corbyn for the leadership election in 2015 because, well I don’t know why really but maybe it’s because he won an election and what could be more Blairite than that?

Yvette Cooper, famously a Brownite, is a Blairite because she, you know, was there… at that time…

When I’m having a down day I remind myself of the time I saw a tweet dismissing Gordon Brown as a Blairite…

The trouble I have with the term is that it’s lazy. It ignores the distinction between the “soft left” and the “right” of the party. A division that plagued New Labour: the Blairites vs. Brownites. It has become a term to describe anyone who disagrees with Corbyn on anything. It’s anyone who acknowledges that being in power means making compromises. It’s anyone who wants to win an election. It’s anyone who disagrees with this three line whip on the Article 50 vote. It’s anyone who believes we should be worried about the polls.

It is not the case that disagreeing with Corbyn makes you a Blairite.

Questioning the effectiveness of Corbyn’s opposition does not mean you want another Tony Blair – you can disagree with both. I have real problems with some of Blair’s decisions – Iraq being the main one. It would be an error to think we can just try and repeat the 1997 election. But I also have issues with Corbyn’s leadership. I voted for him in 2015 but Brexit completely changed my view of him. His complete disregard for the 63% of Labour voters who voted Remain is astonishing.

The threat to the Labour Party is not the man who hasn’t been leader, or even an MP for a decade. It’s too easy to blame him. For as long as we have the excuse of “The Blairites” we can ignore the real issues facing the Labour Party. Let’s be really honest most of the electorate don’t care if the Labour Party is run by the right, the soft left or the hard left. They just want an effective opposition and a competent leader.

 

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4 thoughts on “Who Are The Blairites?

  1. Tony Blair’s speech re the disastrous result of the referendum (I refuse to use the B word), was a mistake. Mistimed if you consider the upcoming bielections and delivered by the wrong man. The 48% who voted to remain in the EU and countless millions who did not have a vote need a representative but not one who cosies up to GW and took us into a war which indirectly has led the world into destabilisation and Trump! (not to mention the B word again!). So who is going to have the balls to represent us? The Labour MPs who voted for Article 50, while knowing it will be the wrong thing for this country should be sacked. So let me know who you think should represent us all? Despairing by the day! My partner is genuinely frightened about deportation after living and working here for 50 years! Help needed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great write up! Some of the name calling has been ridiculous.

    I just want to point out a slight factual error in the sentence below:

    “His complete disregard for the 48% of voters who voted Remain (63% of which are Labour voters) is astonishing.”

    I believe that 63% of labour voters voted remain (as you correctly say earlier in the article) – where as this implies that 63% of remain voters are also labour voters, which is not correct. The actual number is closer to 39% – http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2016/06/how-the-united-kingdom-voted-and-why/

    My apologies for being pedantic about what is a minor point, but I think it’s quite important to try statistics right when they are quoted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Politics is complicated. Having a simple distinction between Corbynites and Blairites boils down to: ‘for the Working Class or for the Ruling Class’. It’s simplification borne of necessity.

    I use the term Blairite loosely to mean someone who doesn’t value Labour’s core Socialist values that built the Welfare State.

    David Lammy voted for the Iraq War and to cover up an investigation into it. He’s also pushing for a 2nd EU Referendum, ridiculing the democratic process. It may be lazy, but I’d put him in the Blairite camp.

    When Parliamentary processes are made deliberately arcane and complex in order to obfuscate, the public should not be blamed for using simplistic ways of trying to understand the skulduggery.

    Like

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