LETTER: Why Blair must not ignore core voters

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The Independent Online
Sir: Political commentators in despair over new Labour's appeasement of the right over immigration are mistaken if they think the Labour leadership is unhappy with the system. Some around Gordon Brown are deeply unhappy, but the dominant Blair-Milburn axis is very happy indeed. This is a system which has brought them two massive majorities and unprecedented power and privilege. Why on earth should they want to change it?

Columnists like Johann Hari can certainly dream that Blair and company will change the voting system, challenge the power of the press, and put Brownite issues at the heart of the manifesto. It is not going to happen. Tony Blair chose Alan Milburn to run the campaign and marginalised Gordon Brown precisely because he is deeply conservative on all the major issues facing the country.

No principled and progressive party would join the Tories in scapegoating immigrants. But New Labour is neither principled nor progressive. It is because Blair and Milburn pander to the reactionary politics of the right that many Labour supporters are considering tactical voting to reduce the chances of a massive Blair majority and even more unprincipled shifts to the right.