The Labour Party has always fought for equal treatment, and against prejudice and discrimination, but, in their desperation to steer the Party in a certain direction, and get their favoured leadership candidate elected; many Party members are now betraying their own ideals and values.
Those on the left continually decry the prejudicial stereotyping of people; such as those who rely on benefits, who are universally labelled as ‘scroungers’ or cheats’. We hate the lack of opportunities available for young black men; who are labelled as criminals, gangsters, thugs and muggers, harassed by the police and discriminated against by educators, employers and politicians. We favour positive discrimination in our candidate selection procedures, as a way to address gender-bias and the under-representation of women in politics.
Equality and fairness is our rallying cry, but we are failing to practice what we preach.
We have created a negative stereotype regarding one group within our Party. We have turned them into the ‘Other’ and the unwelcome outsider, tarring them all with the same brush, failing to treat them as individuals who deserve to be judged on their own actions and merits.
The group I am talking about; is ‘Blairites’.
‘Blairite’ has now become an insult, or term of abuse.
The term ‘Blairite’, now has incredibly negative connotations attached to it, with anyone labelled as such, somehow seen as ‘not really Labour’, or even a traitor to the cause.
Blairites are castigated for the desire to take Labour onto the centre-ground, therefore supposedly abandoning left-wing values, ideals and aims. In short, Blairites are criticised for compromising; for making deals with ‘the enemy’.
Those who criticise Blairites for this are forgetting the fundamental axiom of politics: the entire point and goal of politics is compromise– to reach agreement between different factions and interests, so as to come to some kind of ‘middle-ground’ that all can accept and agree with.
That’s how society functions– through compromise and agreement.
Politics exists purely for this purpose; to reach a compromise and agreement. To reject compromise, is to invite strife, conflict, revolution, or even civil war.
Therefore, centre-ground politics is not only intelligent politics; it is also moral and ethical politics.
That’s why Blair was so successful, because he understood this fundamental point; to unite the nation, we must reach a centre-ground between hugely diverging opinions on what is considered to be the right, fair and just approach to organising our society.
That being the case, the only person who ever really earns the right to govern and lead the nation, is the person who is willing to compromise- to take all views and interests into consideration, so that all parties can feel in some way represented by the country’s government. Anyone who can’t, or won’t compromise is therefore not fit to lead or govern.
Without the willingness and ability to compromise, there is no peace and unity- in a political party, or in the nation as a whole; there is only conflict. For the perfect example of this, we need look no further than the troubles in Northern Ireland, whose intransigent politicians and fundamentalist militant groups doomed their country to years of violence and strife.
Crucially, it was Blair himself who played the key part in bringing some semblance of peace to that country, bringing opposing groups to the table, to reach some form of compromise and agreement.
Blair’s ‘Third Way’ was the perfect example of centre-ground politics, that not only sought to unite competing interests, but also sought to combine the best elements of competing approaches, to create a synthesis- in which oppositional approaches and interests are brought together and reconciled.
Blair united the interests of business, with the social movement for a fairer society; seeking to use the rewards of a thriving economy to enable massive investment in public services, particularly education. This then brought outcomes that were pleasing to all, as, for example: a better-educated society meant not only more equal opportunities and greater social mobility, but also a much more productive workforce.
This is how politics should be conducted’; it is the ‘holy grail’ of politics- a true ‘One Nation’ approach. Political movements or parties that only seek to advance their own ideology or cause, without thought for opposing interests, doom the country to an eternal cycle of political and social conflict and strife.
David Cameron’s government is a perfect demonstration of this, as its policy of pursuing ideological goals and factional interests, without thought or concern for those disenfranchised by our electoral system, has led to continual protest, unrest and conflict. The recent austerity marches are not only a clear illustration of the Tories’ flawed approach, they also provide incontestable proof that the Tories are not fit to govern.
Therefore, we can see that Third Way, centre-ground, Blairite politics; that seeks to compromise, unite and synthesise, should be applauded, not castigated.
The problem we face within our Party; is that many people have misunderstood the meaning of the term ‘Blairite’. Unfortunately, people have come to perceive those politicians labelled as ‘Blairite’, as being politicians who would agree with, or do, everything that Tony Blair did. This is a fundamental misunderstanding. Just because Tony Blair took us to war in Iraq, does not mean that all Blairites would do something similar.
We have to disentangle and disassociate Blair, from ‘Blairite’.
To be Blairite, is to share his approach, not to copy all his actions.
To be a Blairite, is to be a Third-Way, centre-ground politician, who seeks to unite opposing interests, factions and classes; to promote both wealth creation and social justice; seeking a strong economy for a fairer society.
To be Blairite, is to be intelligent, moral and unifying.
And in case we forget:
To be Blairite, because of these things, is to be successful.
This being the case, we should see that an insistence on a no-compromise, ideologically-pure approach, is to choose ignorance (of the purpose of politics) over intelligence.
It is to choose division, over unification; and conflict, over harmony.
It is to choose defeat, over success.
So let’s look again at those who we name, and seek to shame; as ‘Blairites’.
The truth is; they have not sold out, or abandoned their ideals.
They have instead understood the fundamental principle and purpose of politics.
They have not shown themselves to be ‘Tory-lite’, or a traitor to the cause.
They have instead, shown themself to be fit to lead and govern.