Sunday, 20 March 2011

whither the Blair generation?

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


Anonymous said...

Well, Darren - you are very brave, Now you have put your name to the well-reasoned and founded criticism, don't EVER expect to be allowed to represent Labour or stand for the Party in any capacity whatsoever. You have 'gone public' -- they will google you and save up this post and present you with it at what is the equivalent of a war tribunal.

I know. The Big Brother tendency has got hold fo the Patry.

Anonymous said...

A lot of Labour party members value the new Labourproject. Last year the majority of party members, including both Reading East and West, voted for David Miliband.

If you are unhappy with your local Labour party, try your local Fabian Society, the democratic socialist wing, and joint founder, of the Labour Party. Its rules include not taking any political line, but allow for the free expression of different democratic socialist views.

If you prefer a Labour party group with a specific agenda, try Progress, the Blairite wing of the party. Its rival, Compass, has lost many members, by voting to include members of rival parties such as the Greens and Lib Dems.

Jonny said...

Yes of course there is a place for you, just as there is a place for me, who is out way to your left. I always found myself in the odd position of thinking that Blair's major achievements were in foreign policy, not domestic, where he missed the opportunity for real left change, but I never left the party. You stay, you fight for what you agree with, against what you don't, knowing that you win and lose arguments. If you throw your toys out of the pram, you just have fewer rattles.

Anonymous said...

To the person named JOnny: are you a commie? If the answer is yes, do you live in communal habitat? Do you share washing facilities on the landing? Do you queue up for your loaf of bread? Just like to know as it must be a very bleak way of life. No aspiration from cradle to grave, just big brother telling you what is best for you..And don't you dare question this or it is the gulag for you comrade! Or the "war tribunal" as anon 10.45 put it so eloquently. Is that right Mr Jonny?

Jonny said...

Hello Anon 15:24, always a pleasure to answer questions from a fellow democratic socialist.
1. In that lovely phrase, I am not, nor have ever been, a member of the Communist Party. They're not good at democracy, when you look at their record.
2. I live in a bungalow, but I do share washing facilities with my wife, and the bathroom is just off the hall.
3. I mainly get my bread from supermarkets, but when I get it from the baker, yes, there is sometimes a queue.
In summary, then, I suppose the answers are no; yes; yes.
If by "aspiration" you mean hopes, dreams and desires for a better world and better Britain; better humanity and better self, then I must confess to those heinous sins: mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Anything else?

Anonymous said...

Yes Mr Jonny, have you ever had the experience of the equivalent of the "war tribunal"? a few people do seem to have had the treatment..

pleased to see that you aspire to a better world and a better Britain. Like you I have a social conscience. Would you agree the first step is to give people responsability and ownership of their lives and actions? I grow plants. I like it when they produce flowers. I realise it is my fault if the plants die. Not enough water, not in the right spot etc..Good way to teach children responsability for their own actions. Starts at the cradle. Simplistic views but effective strategies for the future.

Jonny said...

Anonymous 13:22 (why not put your name, it only takes a moment?), I'm not sure where your metaphor/conceit is heading, or what your point is, or whether it matters.
Referring back to the original post, I would just say that, if you want to be horticultural, there is room in the Labour Party for a whole garden.
And it's "responsIbility". Cradle to grave! Pip pip!

WEED said...

It would be fab if there was room in the Labour Party for a whole garden. GREAT!!

However, unless you have conformed to the required wisdom at all times and never even sneezed out of line and JOLLY WELL KNOW YOUR PLACE ( unless you are a protected one, and therefore entitled to umpteen excuses and exemptions) then you had better be a standard marigold, or you will be classed as a weed and burnt at the stake. Speaking from experience,matey! And HEY!!! the reason that people prefer to post comments like this as 'Anon' is that if they wrote under their own name, they would have their membership suspended and be frog-marched to said tribunal. Not fanciful. FACT.The lovely caring sharign Laboru Patry in which a thousand flowers bloom, all adding to teh bunch or bouquet or whatever metaphor you please, is a figment fo your imagination, Johnny. Sorry.

from A WEED.