Will the Last Blairite to Leave Switch Out the Light?

red-light-milibandThis morning Nick Robinson observed on the Today programme of David Miliband “He was not just the other brother, he was the New Labour brother.” Robinson also reported that one senior figure on the left of the Labour Party told him late last night: “It’s important for the left to avoid triumphalism but it obviously marks the date when New Labour finally accepted that the crisis requires us to turn the page… Now there can be no excuse for timidity [from Ed Miliband] because the Blairites are decisively weakened.”

Milburn, Reid, Purnell and now David Miliband are all gone as they see the writing on the wall, a frontbench packed with more supporters of Ed Balls than David Miliband despite him having won far more support from the parliamentary Labour Party. Dan Hodges identified it yesterday before the news from David Miliband – his brother Ed is a hostage to the left of his party together with the unions who put him in place and hold the purse strings. He can’t move towards the voters on policy without undermining himself and party unity. The Owen Jones digital Bennites are in the ascendant supported by the siren calls of Polly Toynbee, fronting the drive among activists for more left-wing policies – the inherent problem for a party with socialist activists far to the left of the electorate on, for example, welfare reform. As they rise in the polls and scent power the left becomes more furious in its policy demands…

byrneEd’s current poll lead means the left-wing of his party is in no mood for compromising with the electorate. The remaining Blairites like Liam Byrne are on the receiving end of vitriol last seen when Derek Hatton was in his prime. The unions are in no mood for moderation, Len McCluskey last week wrote to congratulate  the 44 MPs who defied a three-line party whip to vote against Liam Byrne’s official line on welfare reform.   They enjoy principled opposition, the Blairite accommodation with reality was an aberration, it matters not a jot to much of the rank and file that it was the most successful period in history for the Labour Party. The capacity of the Labour Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is legendary – a left-wing Labour Party will not form a coalition government in 2015…

Above was how Owen Jones greeted the news of David Miliband’s exit from British politics. Tony Blair hints in his more generous statement of his fears “He is obviously a massive loss to UK politics… I hope and believe this is time out not time over.” It is over, all that remains for Labour moderates is for the last of them to switch off the light…

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