Rev­o­lu­tion­ary so­cial­ism failed Labour: Blair

Po­lit­i­cally, peo­ple saw Jeremy Cor­byn as fun­da­men­tally op­pos­ing what Bri­tain stands for: Ex-Bri­tish PM

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

London, UK - Former Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Tony Blair urged his Labour party on Wednesday to aban­don ‘quasi-rev­o­lu­tion­ary so­cial­ism’ as it seeks a new leader af­ter its worst elec­tion de­feat since the 1930s.

Bri­tain’s shell­shocked left en­tered a pe­riod of soul-search­ing and mourn­ing in the wake of last Thurs­day’s drub­bing at the polls.

The elec­torate handed Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son’s Con­ser­va­tive party a clear man­date af­ter he promised to take Bri­tain out of the Euro­pean Union on Jan­uary 31.

But it also re­drew the po­lit­i­cal map of Eng­land as swathes of its work­ing-class north voted Con­ser­va­tive for the first time.

Labour’s so­cial­ist leader Jeremy Cor­byn - a 70 year old who cam­paign on a rad­i­cal plat­form of state spend­ing and re-na­tion­al­i­sa­tion - has since promised to step down.

The for­mal cam­paign to re­place him is not set to be­gin un­til next month. Yet sev­eral prom­i­nent Labour fig­ures have al­ready sig­nalled their in­ten­tion to en­ter a lead­er­ship con­test.

Blair cas­ti­gated Cor­byn for ‘al­most comic in­de­ci­sion’ about which po­si­tion to take on Bri­tain’s near half-cen­tury mem­ber­ship in the EU.

“The ab­sence of lead­er­ship on what was ob­vi­ously the big­gest is­sue fac­ing the coun­try re­in­forced all the other doubts about Jeremy Cor­byn,” Blair said in a speech in London.

“Po­lit­i­cally, peo­ple saw him as fun­da­men­tally op­pos­ing what

Bri­tain and Western coun­tries stand for.”

“He per­son­i­fied po­lit­i­cally an idea, a brand of quasi-rev­o­lu­tion­ary so­cial­ism, mix­ing far-left eco­nomic pol­icy with deep hos­til­ity to Western for­eign pol­icy, which never has ap­pealed to tra­di­tional Labour vot­ers,” the former prime min­is­ter said.

Blair’s pop­u­lar­ity in Bri­tain suf­fered from his de­ci­sion to sup­port the 2003 US in­va­sion of Iraq on what proved to be false al­le­ga­tions that it had weapons of mass de­struc­tion.

Yet his 1997-2007 spell in of­fice marked one of Labour’s most elec­torally suc­cess­ful eras in its 119-year his­tory.

He pro­moted cen­trist ‘New Labour’ poli­cies and em­braced a lead­ing role on the world stage that ap­pealed to Bri­tons dur­ing an era of eco­nomic growth.

Labour must now choose whether to adopt a sim­i­lar ide­ol­ogy or push through with the left­ist vi­sion that Cor­byn cham­pi­oned since tak­ing charge in 2015.

Some po­ten­tial suc­ces­sors said Cor­byn had the right vi­sion but the wrong ap­proach.

“The case for a rad­i­cal gov­ern­ment has never been stronger,” Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer told BBC ra­dio.

He at­trib­uted the de­feat to Labour’s in­abil­ity to counter John­son’s ‘get Brexit done’ mantra with a clear case for why - or whether - Bri­tain should still be a part of the EU.

“And we car­ried, I think, too much bag­gage into the elec­tion - and anti-Semitism is the ex­am­ple of that,” Starmer added.

The party was rid­dled with anti-Semitism scandals that saw sev­eral prom­i­nent mem­bers quit un­der Cor­byn’s watch.

Starmer is a London lawyer who had pushed for a sec­ond Brexit ref­er­en­dum and now ap­pears to be try­ing to win over more left­ist Labour votes.

Law­maker Re­becca Long-Bai­ley - a ris­ing star who has faith­fully de­fended Cor­byn - has emerged as the early favourite in a lead­er­ship race that is ex­pected to fea­ture sev­eral prom­i­nent women.

She has largely avoided the me­dia since Fri­day’s of­fi­cial re­sults handed the Con­ser­va­tives an 80-seat ma­jor­ity in the 650mem­ber House of Commons.

Some an­a­lysts at­trib­uted Labour’s de­feat to its re­jec­tion of the cen­tre ground.

The ab­sence of lead­er­ship was ob­vi­ously the big­gest is­sue fac­ing the UK


A file photo of Bri­tain’s former prime min­is­ter Tony Blair

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