Letter No 63  by Mike Allott: back to directory

30 July 2015

Dear Sir or Madam,

Corbyn-mania and the Labour party’s record under Tony Blair

Your letters page (Jeremy Corbyn might just be able to unite Britain’s progressive parties, 27 July) will comfort those on the left. New Labour was a “rightwing putsch”! It was “greed economics”! “A party well to the left of Blair and co would have walked into power in 1997”. Time for a “postcapitalist future”?

Yes, Corbyn-mania may indeed have captured the hearts of a disheartened Labour party. Whether the minds of Labour voters will follow remains to be seen. The “things can only get better” class of 1997 has moved on, mainly to better lives. If, instead, we now seesaw back to the fundamentalism of the faithful, it will obviously be the will of the party. But it will be a shame.

A political party that seeks to disown itself for being impure – even though it was popular and largely successful – will need compelling arguments and an outstanding new leadership team to win over the electorate. Political self-criticism may purge, but it will not necessarily be seen as wholesome.

Although well short of nirvana, Labour’s real-world achievement has been to export the principles of a modern social democracy into a worn-out Tory party. The Tories, in response, redefined their own “aims and values”. Their hearts and minds are now broadly with us.

So, one-nation politics delivering prosperity and social justice is arguably a “progressive” and achievable cross-party settlement. Our challenge now is to reaffirm Labour’s “aims and values” and to beat the Tories on competence, imagination and delivery. Not on competitive soul-searching.

Mike Allott
Chandlers Ford, Hampshire

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