Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Tony Blair Question is a fair one: is Ed Mili's Labour a Left wing or centre ground party?

We are all now familiar with Tony Blair's recent statements that:
“I am still very much New Labour and Ed Miliband would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there,” he added. “I am convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground.”
This came from his recent interview with the Economist: see here -

Blair is clear in his own mind that Ed Miliband is left wing, and offering impractical solutions to the countries big questions - but upon this voters will have to decide. Put simply, what kind of Labour Party are they being offered?
As Dan Hodges, the columnist put it:
"For the past four years. Labour has been trying to win from the Left. The New Politics. The Thirty Five Per Cent strategy. Zen Politics. Whatever you wanted to call it, the grand plan – and the philosophy underpinning it – were clear. To win, Labour had to reject the consensus, “Big Tent” politics of Blairism."

Earlier this week, in a refreshingly honest open letter to Tony Blair, Neal Lawson – a member of Ed Miliband’s early kitchen cabinet – set out the thinking behind the strategy. “In hindsight, the wrong people were voting Labour. The tent was too big and you spent the next 10 years trying to keep the wrong people in it.”

The evidence against the 2 Eds is pretty clear: Labour has formally abandoned the political centre and swung to the Left. Deficit denial. Big state interventionism. Raw anti-capitalism. Public service protectionism; a nation divided between “producers and predators”.
For my part, I well remember the 1997 General Election and the Labour Party rightly won. Blair offered a centre left party which supported business, wanted to keep taxes down as they knew high taxes stop job creation, and which had a genuine offer to Mr and Mrs Middle Ground UK. Clearly the Labour Party lost its way during their 13 years in office but their message in 1997 was clear.

Under Ed Miliband and Ed Balls their hero is the far left socialist leader, Francois Hollande of France - he of the 75% taxes, anti business laws, and pro union policies. The results in France have been catastrophic. Minimal growth, mass unemployment, entrepreneurs and job creators leaving the country in droves.

So it is a fair question, posed by a Labour leader who won three elections largely from the entre: is Ed Miliband a centre ground politician or a left wing politician? That is for voters to decide, but the evidence is pretty clear.