14 June 2007

Blair’s right-wing friends abroad

Few things symbolise more clearly Tony’s Blair’s acceleration rightwards from centre left politics than his infatuation with the political right abroad. His sycophantic identification with Bush is the most notorious, but his early love affair with Athnar and Berlusconi in Spain and Italy only fell apart when both these right wing politicians were defeated in elections by Labour’s ‘fraternal parties,’ much to Tony’s distress. Blair then went on to Back Angela Merkl against the SPD in Germany, and most recently he has boiled over in pleasure to see Nicolas Sarkozy defeat the French socialists.

Throughout this treachery (for how else could the continental centre left see Blair), the straightjacketed Labour Party remained silent – just as it did as New Labour increased capitalist inequalities, rolled back civil liberties and promoted aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. New Labour’s politics also shattered the intellectual topography of left wing political thinkers in Britain. In the 1980s and 1990s two models guided the British Left: the residue of Bennism (Labour as a radical transforming party) and Hobsbawmism (build a progressive alliance with the Liberal Democrats and others for democracy and social change). Now both of those currents are dead. With Brown set to continue in Blair’s footsteps any connection between Labour and Progress – let alone left wing politics – is long gone.

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