Thursday, 2 September 2010
Still a war criminal, still a liar...and by all accounts a lousy writer
You should always listen to your mum.
It is hard to make me feel any sympathy for Gordon Brown but Blair very nearly managed it. He and Mandelson have repeated the mantra that "Labour lost the election because it wasn't New Labour enough".
Who on earth, apart from them, really believes that?
What was striking about Brown was that, despite all the claims to the contrary, he represented a continuation of New Labour, a thoroughly discredited ideology, for all of his tenure in 10 Downing Street....except maybe for one moment. In the last week of the campaign he showed signs of being ready to ditch it and make a straightforward appeal to Labour's working-class supporters. It was too little too late (typically, Brown didn't quite have the bottle to carry it through), but it did cause a mini surge in Labour support and probably cost the Tories outright victory.
What of Blair, Mandelson and the New Labour project? The Iraq War scarcely needs further comment - Iraq is still paying the price of Blair and Bush's vanity and hubris, and will for years to come. There is the love affair with big business and privatisation in pursuit of the myth that the key to success was the cultivating of "middle England" and the middle classes. This approach brought Labour's membership down from just over 400,000 in 1997 to less than 180,000 today. Over the course of three elections Labour has lost 5 million votes and voter turnout has declined markedly. And then there was shutting down of party democracy. Labour Party conference became a rally, a leadership vanity project, to the extent that a third of local consitituency parties stop bothering to attend, and vast expanses of conference halls had to be cordoned off to mask the poor attendance.
I shan't be buying the book - I have no wish to further line the man's pockets. I quite like the suggestion that I got from one of my Facebook friends earlier on - next time you're passing a bookshop, pop in and gather up some copies of Blair's memoirs; then dump them in their rightful place - the crime section.