15 September 2004
Fury on the affront lineJonathan Freedland argues that the prime minister is "a man who has run out of ideas" (Tony Blair's survival is an affront to our constitution, September 11).
The struggle in the Labour party is not about Tony Blair's lack of ideas. It is down to a refusal by many in the party to accept them. The one big idea for Labour was espousing "the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition", written down as a new core principle in clause four. Yet when policy makers argue in favour of relying on such forces, many of the party faithful cry foul.
There are lots more examples of the new vision: fairness but no favours for the unions; accepting the global economy as a reality; politics of the centre and so on.
Now Freedland argues that "every day [Blair] remains [as leader] is an affront to the constitution". Yet his argument only concerns the opinions of people in the party. Blair was chosen by the electorate, on a set of principles and policies presented in clear terms. To seek to remove the prime minister now would be a far greater affront to our constitution.