Tag Archives: new labour

Nick Clegg MP writes… The Labour and Tory exodus

Something is happening on the centre ground of British politics. An exodus. The Conservative leadership is being lured to the right. Ed Miliband is pulling his party to the left. Only the Liberal Democrats are holding firm.

That creates an opportunity for our party. Over the last twenty years the centre has become a crowded place. First New Labour pitched up, determined to demonstrate a new found credibility on the economy. Then followed a detoxified Conservative Party, hugging hoodies and frolicking with huskies. Yet now – in what, in time, may prove to be a highly significant political shift – the …

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The top campaigning lesson from Ed Miliband’s speech: repetition is what you need

“We are the One Nation party,” Nick Clegg will tell the Liberal Democrats in his speech to their spring conference tomorrow.

Remember this headline? Probably not. Yet it dates from March 2012, just six months ago.

So what happened? Two key things, I suggest. First, Nick’s ‘One Nation’ message was drowned out by the furore over the NHS reforms which dominated the party’s spring conference this year. Secondly, it was one line among many which was uttered and quickly disappeared, like a whispered greeting on a windy day.

There was some snarky commentary from journalists who heard Ed Miliband

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Opinion: Reassessing New Labour

It is worth buying Reassessing New Labour just to read James Purnell’s short preface. New Labour’s would-be philosopher king pretty much disappeared from view after Labour chose the wrong Miliband as leader. Purnell’s piece highlights perfectly the challenge Labour faces in coming to terms with its 2010 election defeat. It is brilliantly lucid in assessing why Labour lost. It is extremely limited in its analysis of how to recover. In particular it completely ignores the 500lb gorilla in the corner – the economy. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

Diamond and Kenny’s book brings together a range of contributions …

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LibLink: Julian Astle – The alchemists of liberalism have left their parties behind

Over at the Guardian, former Paddy Ashdown advisor Julian Astle has an interesting (but controversial) piece in which he argues that there is a ‘secret club’ of cross-party, centrist, liberal-minded reformers at the heart of British politics, who have run the country for the 15 of the last 18 years.

Here’s a sample:

Consider the ease with which the Lib Dems and Conservative leaderships put together a radical coalition agreement. Or the extent to which that agreement builds on the agenda pursued by the Blairites in their second and third terms. “Reform” in welfare, schools, higher education funding

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Opinion: New Labour, New Machiavelli?

What has already become the best-known anecdote in Jonathan Powell’s The New Machiavelli is a snippet of conversation he had with his then master, Tony Blair. Powell asked him how he could put up with having a three-hour conversation with Gordon Brown, to which Blair responded by asking him whether he had ever been in love. ‘“Not with a man”, I replied’ — and we know he was lying. This book is testimony to his devotion to Blair.

It is, for sure, a curious billet doux -– less like a bunch of roses than a handful of thorns. Comparing, however …

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Purnell to quit as MP – what does he mean by that?

Well, there’s a turn-up: James Purnell – former secretary of state for work and pensions, the man who almost brought down Gordon Brown, and seemingly a strong contender for the Labour leadership after the next election – has announced he will be quitting Parliament at the general election. Here’s how The Times reports it:

Labour insiders said that he was telling his Stalybridge and Hyde local party that with regret he was standing down to seek new challenges. …

After his resignation Mr Purnell returned to the back benches and has played a big part in running the Demos centre-left

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John Hutton was right: Gordon has been ‘a fucking disaster’. But who else was there?

At long last, what was widely known in Westminster Village circles has rippled out beyond: John Hutton was the cabinet minister who told the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson in 2006 that Gordon Brown would be ‘a fucking disaster’ in the role of prime minister. Well done to BBC Radio 4’s Eddie Mair for wringing the admission from a reluctant Mr Hutton.

But it prompts two questions.

First, if this was Mr Hutton’s view – albeit one from which he has subsequently resiled, in public at any rate – why did he choose to become one of the 308 Labour …

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CommentIsLinked@LDV: Nick Clegg – The torch of progress has passed to us

Over at The Times, Nick Clegg argues that Labour has run out of steam and of ideas, and that its supporters are turning to the Liberal Democrats. Here’s an excerpt:

have heard people claim that the local and European elections were a missed opportunity for the Liberal Democrats. I disagree.

Of course, as in all elections, there were losses as well as gains. In a contest when the voters wanted to give the Establishment a kicking, it is hardly surprising that we suffered some losses in the South West, where we have been the governing party for 20 years.

And in a

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Davey slams Labour’s foreign affairs shame

Ed Davey, Lib Dem shadow foreign secretary, has taken to the airwaves today to make the case for inquiries into the two dodgy areas of Labour’s foreign policy – the basis for the war in Iraq, and allegations of British complicity in in illegal abduction and torture.

A full inquiry into the Iraq war

Commenting on the latest evidence to show the extent to which Labour’s spin doctors intervened to ‘sex-up’ the Iraqi weapons dossier prepared by intelligence officials, Ed said on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today Programme:

He said the emails show, “there was intervention, and we didn’t know that

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Who’d be a Labour or Tory MP right now?

Here’s a short exercise for a Sunday afternoon: if you woke up today and were one of the following, how would you be feeling?

1) a Labour MP
2) a Tory MP

It’s not quite as straightforward as it seems. For sure, Labour MPs’ self-confidence is going to be fragile just now – for the second time in a year, their party’s poll ratings have crashed below the 30% level, conjuring up memories of the ignominy of Michael Foot’s 1983 election defeat. And yet desperate times can also be quite exciting, too. Just think back to the febrile state of John Major’s Tory …

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Is Martin Kettle right – could the Lib Dems eclipse Labour?

LDV has eschewed mention of the past week’s opinion polls, three of which have shown the Lib Dems to be the chief beneficiaries of the recent slump in Labour support. As our regular readers will know, we just don’t believe there’s anything to be gained from looking at any one individual poll in isolation – the media and blogosphere’s slavish fixation on statistically insignificant percentage changes is usually just an easy distraction from discussing substantial issues that actually matter.

But it hasn’t escaped the attention of Guardian columnist Martin Kettle, who today ponders (with all the necessary caveats) …

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Opinion: 2008 – a final word on stimulation and welfare

For all its ludicrous ‘New’ prefix, Labour remains a corporatist political Party: a believer in Big and On Message and hubris-fuelled promises that quickly become a hostage to fortune. It likes One Size Fits all and universal largesse – both of which reflect the movement’s fundamental inability since 1997 to recognise the difference between the deserving and the desultory. It is this lack of discernment which lies at the heart of its abject failure to deal with the current fiscal, economic and human crisis.

The Party which belatedly dumped Clause Four clings still to the principle of No Means Testing. In …

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Recent Comments

  • David LG
    @Geoffrey Payne I believe the 50 seats figure was for if Farage enters the race. The MRP polls I mention (two this year so far) will be based on polling data fr...
  • Katharine Pindar
    @Peter Martin. I feel your pain, Peter, in that no party is committed to redistribution, since I also would like to see the ratio in industry between workers' p...
  • Geoffrey Payne
    @David LG, look again at the first paragraph, it does mention 50 seats! With our voting system it is a bit of a lottery trying to predict how many seats we will...
  • David LG
    I really don't care for the pessimism of the first paragraph. Most recent MRP polls have us winning around 50 seats already, and the only reason it's not higher...
  • David Raw
    Yes, indeed, Mary Reid, I most certainly do, and after nearly sixty years of doing that I hope you will allow me to reply to that. It's not what's stated on...