It's Blair who helps the right No faith in right-wing Blair

Mark Brown
Saturday 03 August 1996 23:02

Tony Blair accuses his detractors on the left of being in an "unholy alliance" with "Tory propaganda" ("My message to the left: have faith", 28 July".) The idea that by merely criticising the Blairite project one aids the Conservatives seems a strangely undemocratic sentiment from a man warding off accusations of authoritarianism.

It should be remembered, of course, that the "parts of the left" which Blair identifies as being in league with the Tories now include Old Labour right-wingers such as Roy Hattersley as much as they do Ken Livingstone and Arthur Scargill.

If Tony Blair wants to talk about elements of the Labour movement whose words and deeds only aid the Conservatives' agenda he should be reminded of a few things. It wasn't his left-wing critics (or, even, many of his centre-left ones) who scrapped Clause Four because it irritated big business; it wasn't us who proclaimed our admiration for elements of Thatcherism; it wasn't us who sent our kids to selective schools; it wasn't us who slavishly followed John Major through the disastrous twists and turns which destroyed the Northern Irish peace; it wasn't us who said we'd press the nuclear button; and it wasn't us who demoted Clare Short for refusing to condemn strike action by tube workers whose unions are Labour Party affiliates.

Blair's "lock up the young offenders, condemn the strikers" vision will do nothing to quieten protests among the ever growing number of people to his left. He may not like the criticism but he'd better get used to it.

Mark Brown


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