Tony Blair appears to be encouraging discontent within the Labour ranks after branding Gordon Brown’s leadership “vacuous” and confused in a scathing attack that has sparked fears of a Blairite plot against the Prime Minister. In a leaked memo Blair states his belief that Brown has made “fatal” and “lamentable” errors and in doing so has played into David Cameron’s hands. Blair argues that by what he sees as disowning the New Labour agenda, Brown has forfeited the chance of a fourth general election win. The memo, which was drawn up last autumn, was disclosed yesterday, only days after David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, a Blairite, openly positioned himself as a rival to Mr Brown.
Whilst I do have alot of respect for Tony Blair and some of his achievements, I believe he has got it wrong on this one. Gordon Brown is having a rough ride because of the seeds that were sown long before his own premiership and not just his current inadequacies. Of course Brown has to bear some of the brunt but so does Blair. The two have been a political double act, far more so than Thatcher and Major ever were, and therefore Browns mistakes are also Tony Blairs. I believe that Tony Blair had the saving grace of being charismatic and he had the luxury of inheriting a golden economic legacy from the Conservatives in 1997. Brown has had no such luxuries. This made Blair’s premiership far more stable and allowed him to ride on a wave of public good will. Brown by contrast has come in at a time when the mismanagament of New Labour is becoming more apparent. When times are good a government should create a war chest for the hard times that inevitably come out of the long waves of capitalism.
Instead New Labour, under both Blair and Brown, have spent and squandered. Once Labour always Labour. They have attempted to adopt Thtahcerite economics which is marvellous but the great pity is that they don’t quite understand it. Whilst Thatcherism was undoubtedly the ‘midwife’ to Blairism the two are different in many ways. One focused on market modernisation, the other inclusive modernisation – one knows the distinction between a market economy and a market society, the other did not. Either way that is a different debate. Back on topic, I do believe that Tony Blairs leaked memo is stirring a pot that is already so close to boiling point and I think for the sake of his party’s electoral chances he should have kept schtum.