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Sat May 28, 2016, 06:17 AM

Tony Blair: Corbyn in power would be a 'dangerous experiment'

It would be a "very dangerous experiment" for the UK to give Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn power, Tony Blair has told the BBC's This Week's World.

The former Labour prime minister said the centre ground needed to work out how to recover and get "its mojo back".

He also said he had "real humility" about the decisions he took on Iraq.

Mr Blair said the dislike many felt for him was less to do with the Iraq War and more to do with him winning three general elections for Labour.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36401105



I can't imagine Blair having humility about anything. And no doubt the Tories didn't like him winning three general elections for Labour; but that's not why people on the left distrust him.

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Reply Tony Blair: Corbyn in power would be a 'dangerous experiment' (Original post)
LeftishBrit May 2016 OP
T_i_B May 2016 #1
Bad Dog May 2016 #2
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #6
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #8
non sociopath skin Jun 2016 #9
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #10
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #13
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #15
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #19
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #22
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #23
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #24
LeftishBrit Jun 2016 #20
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #21
JawJaw May 2016 #3
non sociopath skin May 2016 #4
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #5
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #7
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #11
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #12
Bad Dog Jun 2016 #14
T_i_B Jun 2016 #16
Ken Burch Jun 2016 #17
T_i_B Jun 2016 #18

Response to LeftishBrit (Original post)

Sat May 28, 2016, 07:50 AM

1. Winning elections didn't make me dislike Blair

Bad policies when in office and a short sighted "power at any cost" approach to politics on the other hand did turn me off Blair and Labour in a big way.

Whilst I strongly agree that the moderate left needs to get itself sorted out and adapted to the world around us, I don't think the Blairite approach will achieve that. The world has moved on since 1996.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #1)

Sat May 28, 2016, 01:10 PM

2. I voted for Blair as Labour leader.

And pretty much supported everything he did right up until Dubya became president. I think he's rattled by Corbyn's remarks about standing trial for war crimes, of which he most assuredly is guilty.

You never know, it might become an effective campaign slogan, "Vote Labour, Jail War Criminals." It's got quite a ring to it.

This part of the BBC report, hidden towards the end says a lot about Blair's motivation.

Sir John Chilcot's long-awaited report into how UK forces came to participate in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its aftermath, is to be published on 6 July.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 03:44 AM

6. If they go with that slogan, I might fly to the UK and campaign for Labour myself. n/t.

 

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 04:27 AM

8. It would set a nice precedent.

Seeing someone who's not African go on trial.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 05:11 AM

9. Living in the North East, I heard Blair speak on numerous occasions before he was Leader ...

... so never trusted him as far as I could throw him and would never have voted for him under any circumstances.

A snake oil salesman if there ever was one. Though, sadly, the British seem quite partial to snake oil these days ...

The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #9)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 05:18 AM

10. Neither Foot nor Kinnock made any impact on the electorate.

Principled opposition gave us anti Trade Union laws, the selling off of Britain's assets, the poll tax, income disparity and a very divided society.

Blair did a lot of good at the beginning, in work benefits and peace in NI. Unfortunately he put the "special relationship" ahead of what was right.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 06:36 AM

13. It's not as though any Labour leader could have ousted Thatcher.

 

And what would have been the point of beating her (even if it was possible to do so) on a "we can do it better" program?

It's not as though the people of the UK would have been better off having Callaghan and Healey, rather than Thatcher, selling off the family silver.

After all, it was Callaghan and Healey(the last of who had the decency to admit he was wrong on the matter shortly before he died) who largely caused Thatcher's victory by implementing proto-Thatcherite budget policies virtually the moment Callaghan entered Number 10?

If you spend three years brutally slashing the welfare state(the construction of which was the primary achievement of the previous Labour governments), you're not going to be able to credibly rally the faithful when you get forced into a snap election.

It needs to be asked:

1) If Labour can't even be the party that says "there will be no lost ground", what reason is there for the party to exist?

2) If Labour truly can't, at an absolute minimum hold the line on preserving the tiny pathetic remnants of the social wage, what else can it do that is of any value?

It's the absolute failure of the Labour Right to respond to those last two questions that created the Corbyn phenomenon. Sine it's now clear that Corbyn can't be forced out of the leadership before the next election, the Labour Right has an obligation, if for no other reason than to preserve its own relevance, to come up with some better

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #13)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:23 AM

15. Sounds like you don't want a Labour government of any complexion.

Callaghan's government was hampered by economic chaos inherited from Heath and a budget set by the IMF. Thatcher was incredibly unpopular when she was first in power, it took the Falklands to get her elected. Michael Foot spent all his time going on about CND and alienating a lot of working class voters instead of pointing out what damage she was doing.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #15)

Sun Jun 19, 2016, 02:44 AM

19. I want a Labour government that doesn't treat Labour values as an embarrassment.

 

And that doesn't treat workers and activists as the enemy. It would also be nice for a Labour government NOT to be to the right of the Tories on crime and defense.

Jeremy Corbyn could lead that kind of a Labour government, and it is time for all anti-Corbyn MPs and "party insiders" to STOP trying to force Jeremy out as leader. He has the confidence of the rank-and-file, he is rising in stature among and popularity among the voters, and there is too little time between now and the next election for anyone who replaced Corbyn, if he were ousted by a Blairite coup, to unify the party behind her or him and come anywhere close to crafting a winning message.

The Blairites have got to stop acting as if they and they alone are entitled to lead Labour. They had their chance-now their era is over.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #19)

Sun Jun 19, 2016, 06:51 AM

22. I didn't vote for Corbyn.

but I believe in democracy and that he should be given a fair crack at the whip. Having said that I've not been too impressed thus far. Up 'til now he's taken a back seat on Europe and spent too much time talking about Trident which is a vote loser.

I thought he was OK on the Last Leg, but other than that he's been quite mediocre.

We can only have a Labour Government if people who aren't in the Labour party vote for one. Principled opposition just allows the Tories in.

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #22)

Sun Jun 19, 2016, 08:03 AM

23. I'm glad you're willing to give Corbyn a chance now. And I don't TOTALLY disagree with you.

 

Obviously people outside of Labour have to vote for the party if it's to win an election.

But that doesn't mean there's no way to get the votes of such people other than by getting as close to the Tories as possible on most issues(i.e., the Blairite approach).

It's also possible to win non-Labour voters over to Labour by actually making a convincing argument for real change. If Thatcher was able to do that in an era when the vast majority of the electorate were well to her left, Labour can do so now.

It's also possible to expand Labour support WITHOUT pandering to right-wing voters-by reaching out to voters outside of it who are close to Labour on the issues.

This would mean cutting into the votes currently taken by the Greens, by the SNP(many of the voters who swung from Labour to SNP in 2015 could be won back if Labour in Scotland finally disassociates itself with Blairite ideas, as it refused to do in the last Holyrood election)from Plaid Cymru in Wales and from those who vote UKIP primarily on "anti-establishment-shake things up" grounds) and by making a concerted and highly-organized effort to turn current non-voters into voters.

You talk of "principled opposition" with seeming disdain. Is there any reason to think Labour would have been more successful against Thatcher herself if the party had had FEWER principles? If they'd said "we don't care deeply about anything, we just want to elect a government that CALLS itself 'Labour'"? And if it had what good would that have done? If a Blair-like figure had led Labour in the Eighties, that person would have just privatized and cut services SLIGHTLY less, would still have crushed the miners, would still have passed the anti-worker laws, would still probably have brought in Section 28(the Labour right wasn't against homophobia in the Eighties).

I can say this because that is pretty much what the Australian Labor Party government, the government that inspired Blairism did in that era.

Yes, it would have been a Labour government IN NAME. But would it in any sense have been worth the trouble of electing?

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #23)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 05:50 AM

24. I was prepared to give Corbyn a chance from the off.

Anything would have been better than the dark days of Thatcher. We might still have had some of our heavy industry.Blair may have toadied up to Bush, but he spent on the NHS, schools and introduced working benefits. The NHS now is in a terrible state, and the Tories hate tax credits.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #13)

Sun Jun 19, 2016, 05:00 AM

20. I have no sympathy for Blairism, but you may not realize quite how much damage Thatcherism did

Thatcher did truly exceptional damage to the country - absolute disaster to some parts; extensive damage to the social fabric in all. (In fact, I think that some of the Referendum problem is due to many people blaming the EU for social and economic changes that were really due to Thatcherism plus some global issues.)

Callaghan wasn't perfect; Healey was better but still not perfect, but both were miles better than Thatcher. Even Heath and Macmillan were miles better than Thatcher. Even John Major was IMO miles better than Thatcher, though as his MPs and Ministers were pretty much the same, and he wasn't much of a leader, it didn't make much difference. Indeed, this is one of the crucial issues: whatever the leaders are like, Labour generally has much better MPs and even Ministers than the Tories. Blair was better than Thatcher (yes, really - she was that bad!); perhaps not so much better as an individual than Major - but his MPs and even Ministers were much better than the Tory ones. And so some important policies were better: perhaps not on warmongering, or giving too much power to the banking industry, or keeping Chris Woodhead in charge of the schools inspectorate; but on the minimum wage, and social services spending, and not actively using unemployment as a club, and reduction of homophobia, and several others.

I didn't vote for Blair, by the way.

'If Labour truly can't, at an absolute minimum hold the line on preserving the tiny pathetic remnants of the social wage, what else can it do that is of any value?'


It WILL avoid destroying the social services as much as the Tories would!

I think it's important to remember that if there is a snap election, it may NOT be Cameron who leads the Tories into it, and even if he does, no one expects that he'd be leader for very long. The people who take power if there's a Leave vote are likely to be people very, very much worse than Cameron. Yes, it's quite possible to be even worse than Cameron; and some key Tories are; and their pressures and desire for power largely drove the referendum in the first place.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #20)

Sun Jun 19, 2016, 05:51 AM

21. Thatcher was horrific. Absolutely.

 

And If I had lived in the UK in 1979 I'd have joined those campaigning to keep Labour in power with Callaghan as leader(and would have worked for Labour in '83 if Healey had been leader).

Virtually everyone on the Labour Left did the first of those things in '79, and would have done the second if the situation had arisen.

Which is why I can't forgive those who kept trying to undermine or remove Michael Foot(and also refused to accept Neil Kinnock until he abolished internal democracy, demonized everyone in the party's left wing and became totally subservient to NATO and the State Department on defense policy) as leader while nominally staying in the party or, worse, went off to join the SDP even though everyone who ever supported that party KNEW its existence could never lead to anything but landslide Tory majorities in any election Thatcher fought. THOSE are the people responsible for the Thatcherite Ascendancy, not the left.

And yes, Blair's government did some good things. But Blair never had to declare war against socialism and socialists(and even small-d social democrats at times) to get the Tories out. The electorate wasn't demanding that Labour become a leftist-free zone.
The voters were sick of Tories AND Toryism by the mid-Nineties.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 04:47 AM

3. Teflon Tony

It's quite incredible to think that Labour Party members are being suspended for "bringing the party into disrepute" when Blair can get away with such openly disloyal comments without censure.

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Response to LeftishBrit (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 06:29 AM

4. Dangerous people, pacifist socialists.

The Skin

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Response to non sociopath skin (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 03:42 AM

5. No one's safe from not being killed by them.

 

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Response to LeftishBrit (Original post)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 03:47 AM

7. Labour never needed Blairism to win.

 

ONCE the ERM crisis happened in '92, there was no way the Tories were going to get another majority.

The whole process of stripping the party of nearly everything it stood for, and of all-but-abolishing internal democracy and the power of the party conference, was totally unnecessary.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 05:20 AM

11. Even without having the Murdoch press onside?

?w=375&h=245

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Response to Bad Dog (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 06:22 AM

12. Kinnock lost that election largely on personal unpopularity.

 

Last edited Sun Jun 19, 2016, 02:41 AM - Edit history (1)

His aggressive efforts to push Labour further right after 1987 probably lost him as many votes as it gained.

In most countries, people don't trust politicians who give up that many core values in that short a time.

(And though it had next to nothing to do with the subject of this thread, it's Kinnock's fault that Liverpool and many other Labour strongholds haven't had recognisably Labour policies in local governance since the mid-Eighties. If you insist that only "moderates" can lead Labour authorities and that all of them must be totally subservient to whatever Westminster, your going to end up with "Labour" local councils being indistinguishable nearly indistinguishable from Tory councils.)

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:18 AM

14. I've not insisted on anything.

Just pointed out that whenever a left wing leader is there we lose. I think Kinnock being ginger and Welsh did more for his unpopularity that any move left or right. Derek Hatton's Liverpool council only succeeded in damaging Labour's claims to be a credible party of government.

We keep hearing how Labour's core voters have left the party, and they'll all come back if we move to the left. Well if that were so Corbyn would be riding high in the polls right now. What we've got are Labour voters moving to UKIP, and I doubt they're doing it because Labour isn't left wing enough.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 08:48 AM

16. Labour needs teamwork and competence to win

They lost the appearance of competence even before Corbyn became leader, and at the present time they don't even appear too good at working together as a team.

The whole matter of the party moving right or left to me is a secondary concern compared to those problems.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #16)

Fri Jun 3, 2016, 11:16 PM

17. They do need teamwork and competence.

 

One of the best things that the anti-Corbyn people could do to help on that would be to accept that Corbyn will lead Labour into the next election and to stop demanding and pushing for his ouster.

The plain fact is, if Corbyn were somehow forced out as leader, there is no possible successor in the job who could possibly unite the party and create the conditions for a Labour victory in the time remaining between now and the next election. The only realistic option is for the anti-Corbynites to get over it and to accept that they aren't entitled to treat Labour as their personal fiefdom.

Blairism was one approach used in one era: it isn't the ONLY way Labour can ever win any election for the rest of eternity.

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Response to Ken Burch (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 4, 2016, 04:29 AM

18. It appears that Corbyn & Co aren't exactly blameless in this regard either

If only Labour folk could stop fighting each other and start fighting the Tories and UKIP instead.

http://politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2016/06/01/the-future-for-jeremy-corbyn-s-labour-party-looks-increasing

A new fly-on-the-wall documentary on Jeremy Corbyn's leadership gives a revealing insight into the mentality at the top of the Labour party.

Much of the programme is devoted to Corbyn and his closest advisers' complaints about left-leaning commentators and Labour MPs. The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland is described by Corbyn as "not a good guy," after writing an "utterly disgusting" piece criticising the Labour leader's attitude to antisemitism. The New Statesman's George Eaton is described by Corbyn's policy chief as "the worst judge of anything". Eaton's crime it turns out, was writing a positive review on one of Corbyn's PMQs performances. The BBC, which for years has been accused by those on the right of being part of some grand left-wing conspiracy, is derided by Corbyn as "obsessed" with trying to destroy him. Even Corbyn's own team doesn't escape censure, after his communications chief Seumas Milne accuses one of them of secretly leaking their meetings to the Tories.

Meanwhile the actions and words of their real opponents in the Conservative party barely gets a mention. When Iain Duncan Smith resigns over Osborne's budget, Corbyn's team writes him a speech designed to exploit the division within the government. Yet for some reason Corbyn chooses to excise almost all of the attacks, explaining that "it's not up to me [to say] the government's a mess".

The question of whose responsibility it is to say the government's a mess, if not the leader of the opposition, is left hanging in the air. Presumably it's for those same commentators and journalists Corbyn believes are in a conspiracy against him.

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