Bryan Gould mocks Blair's 'Not Labour'

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The Independent Online
ONE OF the Labour Party's original modernisers has launched a scathing attack on New Labour, describing it as a defence of privilege and affluence that should be termed "Not Labour".

Bryan Gould, the former MP who masterminded the party's 1997 election strategy, says the "project" forced activists and cabinet ministers to ditch the principles that brought them into politics in the first place. In a searing assault on the record of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, Mr Gould states that New Labour espouses "strict and authoritarian" policies that were a complete renunciation of Labour beliefs.

In today's New Statesman he says that many in the party were so weary of defeat at the hands of the Tories that they were prepared to sacrifice every ideal to win a general election.

Most believed that "Not Labour" was a device to beat the Tories but Mr Blair's government had proved that it was not just a device, it was an end in itself. The change to the party went much further than his own strategy of modernisation and renewal and instead killed off every remnant of its past.

"New Labour is not Labour renewed. It is Labour rejected, renounced. It is a negative. New Labour is, and is meant to be, Not Labour," he says. "There is a constituency out there which is instinctively Not Labour. They knew immediately what the three-letter word beginning with a capital N really meant."

New Labour activists and thinkers such as Mr Mandelson were the sort of people who always had a problem with the Labour Party and frequently voted Liberal or Tory, Mr Gould says.