Blair attacks Brown's office record

Former prime minister Tony Blair has attacked the record in office of his successor Gordon Brown and warned Labour it needs to avoid any return to its traditional left-wing comfort zone if it is to have a chance of electoral success.

Mr Blair said Labour needed to renew its links with business if it wanted to appear credible on economic issues.

He stressed his support for Labour leader Ed Miliband, but warned that the party could not indulge in the "politics of protest".

Addressing members of the Progress campaign group Mr Blair tore into Mr Brown's time in office, claiming "we lost the driving rhythm that made us successful".

He said: "I remain unremittingly an advocate of third way, centre ground, progressive politics that came to be called New Labour.

"From 1997 we were New labour. In June 2007, frankly we stopped.

"We didn't become Old Labour exactly but we lost the driving rhythm that made us different and successful.

"It was not a government of continuity, I'm afraid, from 1997 to 2010 pursuing the same politics. It was 10 plus three (years)."

Mr Blair highlighted a "pro-enterprise and business policy that took away from the Tories the mantle of the party of business" as one of the reasons for his electoral success.

"Job creation is a progressive project and you don't create jobs by attacking the businesses that create them," he said.

In a warning to Mr Miliband not to take the party to the left he said: "Progressives win when they have the courage to be the change-makers. They lose when the public senses that to please themselves, they retreat to where they feel calm, comfortable and small c conservative, echoing the politics of protest but shunning the hard decisions of Government."

He added: "Parties of the left have a genetic tendency, deep in their DNA, to cling to an analysis that they lose because the leadership is insufficiently committed to being left ... there's always a slightly curious problem with this since usually we have lost to a party of the right."

Pointedly he said: "This strategy never works."

On the economy, Mr Blair said: "There is a risk that the public sees us, when we oppose deficit cuts, as simply wanting more spending for the sake of it, which isn't the case."

He praised shadow chancellor Ed Balls for attempting to make the argument that cutting the deficit too quickly could stifle growth.

But he added: "I still think we need to focus a lot on the micro side about targeted policies that support business, that create jobs that allow that large amount of accumulated reserves in business to be invested.

"That also gives us an opportunity to regain, which I think is very important for us, our relationship with business."

He said that when the Tories produced a host of senior business figures to back them at the election, Labour was unable to respond.

"If you are fighting an election, as we were on the basis 'we are the people best able to manage the economy and look after it', my instinct is ... it's really hard to do that unless you have a section of business that's prepared to come out and support you."

Mr Blair also reiterated his support for the UK's membership of the euro, despite the economic crisis gripping the single currency zone.

He said: "I think the politics have always been absolutely clear in favour of being central players in Europe.

"I believe the euro will survive. I think there are going to have to be some fundamental changes in order for it to do so, but nonetheless I believe it will and I think that Britain, at a certain point in its future, should the economics be right, should be in it."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam