Think you want a new Blair to replace Jeremy Corbyn? Let me remind you exactly what that would look like

 

Tony Blair’s latest missive serves as a reminder of the hubristic form of politics that he holds so dear

 

 

Maya Goodfellow
Thursday 31 March 2016 15:39
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Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair who has said that military intervention is needed to ensure Islamic State is 'crushed'
Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair who has said that military intervention is needed to ensure Islamic State is 'crushed'

We need another Tony Blair to win the next election - so goes the conventional argument of Corbyn sceptics. The former PM’s spectre continues to hover over the Labour party, with some dismissing him altogether and others clutching at his memory. But if his recent interventions are anything to go by, one thing is clear: Blair or Blair 2.0 is certainly not what Labour needs.

Blair recently penned a lengthy article in the Sunday Times, in which he advised the West on how to defeat Isis. The terrorist group do need to be defeated militarily by forces within the region but Blair’s latest missive goes beyond his subject matter. In fact it serves as a reminder of the hubristic form of politics that he holds so dear.

Take his argument that a “narrative within Islam” has developed, making millions of Muslims’ views “fundamentally incompatible with the modern world”. Few would rush to the defence of Isis, but the clash of civilizations myth that underpins Blair’s thinking is wrong-headed. It is this understanding that played a large part in shaping the heavy-handed foreign policy that led to a misguided and unsuccessful war in Iraq.

Then there’s the egotism that he applies to domestic affairs. Despite officially stepping out of the limelight when he retired as PM in 2007, he’s still keen to throw in his two pennies' worth when it comes to the Labour party goings on.

This might seem justifiable for a man who won a resounding general election victory in 1997. But the arrogance with which it is done is astounding. Just look at his message to the Corbyn supporters he just couldn’t quite understand: if your “heart is with Corbyn – get a transplant”. He even went so far as to say he wouldn’t want a left wing Labour to win the election. It’s either his way or no way at all. Blair’s casual dismissal of a Labour victory under its new leader is a self-centred way of doing politics. It certainly doesn't speak to the spirit of collective action that is at the heart of the Labour party's ethos.

We have to look beyond Tony Blair. Corbyn and his team certainly have some significant work to do, but longing for this past is not the way for Labour to succeed.

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