Tony Blair ’believed own propaganda’ in Iraq says Short
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The ex-Prime Minister said that the current opposition party needed to “openly embrace liberal, tolerant but common-sensical positions on the ‘culture’ issues,” and “continue to push the far left back to the margins.” He railed against the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn, saying: “In 2019 – this time with the far left in control – we suffered our worst defeat.”
The 2019 election was the party’s poorest electoral performance in over eight decades.
Writing in The Times, he argued that a “lurch to the far left was not, is not and will never be electorally successful.”
Deltapoll research, which questioned more than 2,500 ex-Labour voters and over 3,000 loyal Labour voters, showed that more than 11 million people who previously voted Labour did not in 2019.
He wrote: “Two-thirds of the British electorate who have switched from Labour define themselves as near the political centre, and that is where a plurality of both main parties also resides.
“Therefore after the 2019 defeat, and after a decade or more moving in the direction of the traditional left, Labour has a cultural problem with many working-class voters.”
He added that this was compounded by “a credibility problem wth the middle ground, and [Labour] is seen as for everyone other than the hard-working families who feel their taxes aren’t spent on their priorities.”
He said that this was a problem for Labour a half-century in the making.
He stated: “The tragedy for Labour is that this is not new: it mirrors almost exactly what happened with the late 1970s and early 1980s.
“This was the last time the far left came into a position of power in the Labour Party – though not in control of it – and when Labour suffered its second-worst defeat ever (discounting the anomaly of 1935.)”
Looking forward to the future, said Mr Blair, requires a dramatic rethink of how current leader Sir Keir Starmer leads the Labour Party of today.
He wrote: “Labour now has an opportunity to become again the party of government, and its enemy is caution.
“It can move to a winning position, but it means complete clarity of purpose and direction.
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“The leadership should continue to push the far left back to the margins.
“The country must know there is no question of negotiating the terms of power with them.
“The party needs a new future orientated policy agenda based on an understanding of how the world is changing which rejects both the old fashioned statist view of the left and the status quo politics of the right.
“I have suggested before that the technology revolution should be at the heart of it.”
He added that Labour in the next few years “should go out and seek the best and brightest from the younger generation to come and stand as Labour candidates.
“And make a virtue of doing so.”
He continued on to suggest that the road he maps out is one Labour could already be on.
He said: “Its leadership today is capable of governing and confidence is returning. The corner is turned.
“But the road ahead is long and the vehicles requires an engine which can accelerate at speed.”
The article originally appeared in a report co-authored by the Tony Blair Institute.
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