Michael Gove: Deep red is the new black as Labour reverts to its old ways

Share
Related Topics

What is striking about today's Labour Party is that it hasn't evolved along the path set by Tony Blair, absorbing its more progressive characteristics and developing them further. Instead, under the guise of "moving on" from Blair, the Labour Party has in fact regressed. Under Gordon Brown, Labour has retreated into its traditional comfort zones, ditching the most modernising aspects of the Blair years and going back to many of the failed dogmas of the 1970s and 1980s. The spirit of Seventies socialist nostalgia has re-captured the Labour Party, and it can be found in all those key areas that Blair first recognised had to change.

First, the issues Labour speak about. Class warfare has not only been resurrected; it has been elevated to holy principle, used in every possible circumstance including, most famously, in vicious, aggressive and direct attacks from a Prime Minister who purports to govern in the national interest.

You can't help but listen to Labour ministers speak today and get the impression they feel like men and women set free to campaign in a way they feared had gone out of fashion – but are delighted to find is now all the rage. Toff-bashing, the politics of envy, an assault on aspiration and a war on anyone getting above themselves. We can now see the Labour campaign in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election was not an aberration: it was a prototype.

Vintage Labour is back. Deep Red is the New Black. In place of Tony Blair's self-consciously unifying rhetoric, the politics of the dividing line is everywhere deployed. Tony Blair wanted the Labour Party to be the political arm not of the trade union movement but of the British people as a whole. But now Labour has become once more the party of division – them and us, partisans and enemies, strikers and bosses.

From such a divisive agenda, so policies naturally flow. Increasing the top-rate of tax. Cutting pension relief. Raising national insurance contributions on middle-income earners. Imposing higher costs on businesses. Freezing the inheritance tax threshold.

So Labour is today as Labour was just a few short decades ago: a movement against aspiration, against enterprise, against anyone who dares to make a better life for themselves or pass something on to their children.

This is an edited extract from a speech by the shadow Children's Secretary yesterday

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing...

KS2 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Expenses: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randstad Educat...

German & French Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The EU must take more responsibility for the migrants risking their lives to reach Italy

Benjamin Ward
The view from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh  

Scottish independence: Why I can't wait to leave London and live in a free, independent Scotland

Yannis Baboulias
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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week