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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 80 Comments

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

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

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 …

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

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

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

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 …

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 8 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

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 …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evans 21st Apr - 10:14am
    @paul barker, We need to make significant progress from the dire performance of 2014, when these seats were last fought. That was the depths of...
  • User AvatarPeter Wrigley 21st Apr - 9:58am
    Re the joke: something similar was quipped on The Archers umpteen years ago. Usha's (I think) mother came to is her. Joe Grundy said she...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 21st Apr - 9:52am
    Michael BG: I spent a large part of my life working in public transport and buses pass my house so I am in a good...
  • User AvatarLawrence Fullick 21st Apr - 9:19am
    Poole Council Lib Dem group are seeking PR elections to the new authority for Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch in May 2019.
  • User AvatarLawrence Fullick 21st Apr - 9:16am
    Pity BBC Parliament are concentrating on Welsh Labour.
  • User AvatarCassie 21st Apr - 9:15am
    The alternative to Prince Charles was who? Whatever his joke was (I can't be bothered to look it up), he's a more unifying option than...