Dan Hodges has a rather interesting take on the almost pathological obsession and hatred of Blair within the Labour Party. Read the whole thing. His views on Blair’s record are not in line with my own, and there is much to take issue with, but his analysis is correct. It is time to move on from Blair.
It is infecting everything. Look at the leadership contest. Rather than assess the candidates on their record, policies, or own suitability for office, we are instead asked to grade them on some abstracted sliding scale of how “Blairite” they are.
If you want to know where all this leads, don’t look in the crystal ball, look at the Tories. 35 years after Margaret Thatcher was anointed they’ve still found it impossible to turn the page on her leadership. John Major never successfully defined himself against her legacy. Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard were all selected because of it – blocking the more electorally dangerous Clarke and Portillo in the process. Cameron’s inability to fully cleanse the Thatcherite brand cost him outright victory at the election, while his perceived failure to pursue a robustly Iron agenda is creating problems among his back benchers.
We can’t afford the collateral damage a protracted war on Blarism will inflict on the party. And neither can the people set to experience firsthand the Tory-Liberal government’s brand of one nation Toryism.
The time has come to let go. It’s over. Tony Blair is beyond our reach. We will never see him standing in the dock. His book will be published, and will make him millions, whatever he chooses to do with the royalties. If he gives the proceeds away, they will be recouped with a few discreet phone calls to his business contacts and a round of self-deprecating jokes before the After Eights.
Does that feel as though the hand of history is flipping us the finger? Maybe. But that’s politics. That’s life.