Hat-tip John Rentoul for this. I am a baby boomer and the same age as Tony Blair, so that is the generation I am part of, but this article says what I fervently believe. While Egypt votes (don't forget) and the war goes on in Libya, let's think about this too.
I received an email the other day from Darren Canning, which I reproduce with his permission. I think it speaks for itself:
I joined the Labour Party in 2005 to help fight an election where I feared Tony Blair’s New Labour could be defeated on the basis of the Iraq war. I had been a supporter of the party all my voting life but that was the moment I felt the need to get more involved. It wasn’t on the swell of general popularity or during easy times. I chose my side in the argument of the day and fought that corner.
I was more than unhappy when Gordon Brown took unelected control of the party but despite misgivings I held on as while there were things I didn’t agree with, broadly speaking, it was a development of the standpoint I shared. I believed in then and believe in now the principle of tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, I believe in not setting a limit to success, I believe in liberal interventionism, the reform of services focusing on the service provided and not the historic means of provision, I believe in the cooperation of the private and public sectors, equality of opportunity and access, and ensuring that the rising tide lifts all. I have argued for these things, campaigned for them , with friends, family, neighbours and now my own party is trashing the record I am so proud of, distancing itself from not only one of its best leaders but one of the truly great prime ministers our country has ever had. I can’t tell you what we stand for any more, what our position is on anything, all I can tell you is we seem certain that we got it wrong while in power and that the principles that changed this country for the better and forever were something best to have a line drawn under and be forgotten about.
I keep hearing how a new generation is in charge of Labour now and keep wondering if there is any place left in it for me. I have been involved in the local elections campaign here and all we have had to say is vote for us we’re not Tories. It isn’t enough to get excited about and I can’t bring myself to knock on doors and have the words of my own leadership thrown at me to trash the things in politics I think are important. I am pulling out of active campaigning and am seriously thinking of leaving the party all together. At least then I will be free to defend the last 13 years without constantly being accused of being ‘disloyal’. I am writing to you asking for counsel, is there a place for those who still value the New Labour project in this new Labour party or is it time to take a break?
I wish I knew the answer.
Tagged in: New Labour