Clarke Loses the Plot

In the New Statesman tomorrow Charles Clarke is superficially writing about the use and abuse of the term “Blairism”. The word is insulting, lazy and misleading he says, calling for an end to “deceitful nonsense”
As various commentators consider Labour’s prospects, the term “Blairite” is being deployed to characterise the policies and personalities of some who question the party’s current direction and urge Labour to face the future. Like “Thatcherite”, the word is not used kindly. “Blairite” (even “über-Blairite”) is a lazy and inaccurate shorthand. It is intended not to illuminate but to diminish, marginalise and insult. It was, for example, the stock phrase used by the Brown political briefing team to traduce David Miliband’s Guardian article in early August.

Moreover, this misleading language damages the vital need for Labour to move on to new, post-Blair ground. Those journalists and politicians who use it are fighting the last political struggle, the War of the Tony Blair Succession, in a way that owes rather more to Just William and the Hubert Laneites than to the challenges of modern British politics.

In the newspapers this summer, I have read about “eye-wateringly ‘Blairite’ gospels”; about “Blairites” “thumbing their noses” at progressive politics; about “Blair privatisers” and how “Blairites” are the “business wing” who “play the markets against the ‘progressive wing’ of the party”. Some argue David Cameron is now more progressive than new Labour and that Labour under Blair became a party of the centre-right.

This deceitful nonsense has to end. Everyone in Labour needs to stop obsessing about the past and to start obsessing about the future…. Similarly, there is no Blairite plot, despite rumours and persistent newspaper reports. There is, however, a deep and widely shared concern – which does not derive from ideology – that Labour is destined to disaster if we go on as we are, combined with a determination that we will not permit that to happen.

So why no plot? If you are “destined for disaster” with Gordon you really need to plot a new course. This is really not the time to be losing the plot…

See also Clarke’s September 2006 article on Brown: He Lacks Courage and Vision, He’s Delusional and a Control Freak. That turned out to be completely on the money.




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Boris on Osborne and Project Fear:

Unemployment has fallen by 250,000 to a new low of 4.2 per cent while record numbers of jobs have been created – including no fewer than 8 for the former chancellor and chief architect of project fear who has become a glorious living rebuttal of his own preposterous warnings.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
US Ambassador on Sadiq US Ambassador on Sadiq
Question Time’s £450,000 Gender Pay Gap Problem Question Time’s £450,000 Gender Pay Gap Problem
Riot Convicted Bastani on “Public Nuisance” Riot Convicted Bastani on “Public Nuisance”
Press Gallery Welcomes: Thornberry Press Gallery Welcomes: Thornberry
Labour Candidate on “Holocaust Mongers” Labour Candidate on “Holocaust Mongers”
Lansman to Discuss Corbyn Anti-Semitism “Smears” in Israel Lansman to Discuss Corbyn Anti-Semitism “Smears” in Israel
WATCH: May Speech Brings About Policy Exchange Collapse WATCH: May Speech Brings About Policy Exchange Collapse
Tories Make Sick Labour MP Vote in Wheelchair Tories Make Sick Labour MP Vote in Wheelchair
Leaked Emails Show DfT Lied About Northern Rail Leaked Emails Show DfT Lied About Northern Rail
Alan Sugar Tries to Get Sacked from BBC Alan Sugar Tries to Get Sacked from BBC
May Considers Asking to Stay in Single Market for Goods May Considers Asking to Stay in Single Market for Goods
Smith Must Hold Firm Against Grieve Smith Must Hold Firm Against Grieve
Eurotunnel: Don’t Buy Border Scaremongering Eurotunnel: Don’t Buy Border Scaremongering
CCHQ Defaced With Anti-Heathrow Graffiti CCHQ Defaced With Anti-Heathrow Graffiti
Labour Parliamentary Candidate Distances Herself From Rothschilds, ‘Zion Scum’ and ‘Fake Jews’ Tweets Labour Parliamentary Candidate Distances Herself From Rothschilds, ‘Zion Scum’ and ‘Fake Jews’ Tweets
Saj: Time to Review Scheduling of Cannabis Saj: Time to Review Scheduling of Cannabis
Sally Bercow: We’re Not Packing Bags Yet Sally Bercow: We’re Not Packing Bags Yet
Shouty Cracker Lord Moat’s Mask Slips Shouty Cracker Lord Moat’s Mask Slips
Jolyon’s Mystery £100,000 Donor Jolyon’s Mystery £100,000 Donor
Sandbach: I”ll Report Non-Constituents to Police Sandbach: I”ll Report Non-Constituents to Police