Tony Blair’s ninth speech to Labour Conference as Prime Minister
, and the Dear Leader is evidently still not for turning. Or apologising. Or buggering off.
"New Labour was never just a clever way to win; it was a fundamental recasting of progressive politics so that the values we believed in became relevant to the time we lived in."
I believe him on this. I believe that he believes that Labourite social democracy does not work; but that New Labour does, and has. I also believe that New Labour is not compatible with Labour, and it’s about time he left. TB made a comment implying that the rainbow coalition ("from Dennis Skinner to myself") was a self-evident success, but this is no coalition.
There are definite, unequivocal reasons for celebrating ‘New’ Labour’s tenure (anyone who says ‘Labour are just like the Tories now’ deserves the vote less than they deserve a slap in the mouth): The New Deal, Sure Start, the Working Families Tax Credit, the increase in investment in public services, the healthy economy, the Northern Ireland peace process, the attempted crackdown on yob culture on sink estates and the regeneration projects that go with it, the support for more debt cancellation and AIDS aid from the richest nations… all well, good, and to a greater or lesser extent, socialist.
But – leaving aside the problems I have with TB over civil liberties, the environment, faith schools, and his choice of foreign friends and adventures, there’s one thing which screams out to me still as the clear proof that he is not fit to lead the party which is still (as far as I know) officially called The Labour Party: privatisation. I shouldn’t really need to explain why, nor to say that I do not believe in wholesale renationalisation and the "command economy" he so disingenuously described in his speech. The Labour Party is not a party that should feed the private sector our money and control of our health and our education. There’s a reason why the only stories you ever read in the papers about privatisation are about scandals, overspends, embezzlements, inefficiency and corruption.