The right is still frightened of Tony Blair – why is the left ordered to hate him?


Tony Blair

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters now use “Blairite” as their most deadly insult.

My name is Helen and I have a problem: I don’t hate Tony Blair the way I’m supposed to. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was a student during the lead-up to the Iraq War, when we spent hour after hour railing against the failure to wait for a UN resolution and the shameless bullying meted out by the popular press to anyone who stood against it.

Yet my visceral anger has gone, and I think I know why. Last year, I noticed a feeling you rarely get as a left-wing commentator: the sense of being in tune with a wider consensus. Bash Jeremy Corbyn and you were bathed in support; your opinion was treated as sensible, moderate, obviously correct. Oh, my God, I thought. This is what it must be like to be right-wing.

That realisation has since tempered my criticisms of the current Labour leader. Yes, I might think that abolishing tuition fees is a worse use of money than rolling back benefit cuts, but that doesn’t mean I think Labour’s manifesto was a joke compared to the magnificence of Theresa May’s offering. My occasional disapproval of Corbyn is not an endorsement of the alternative.

Unfortunately, I think the eager Blair-bashers of the left are luxuriating in the same warm bath of consensus, following the line encouraged by the right for its own purposes: that the sin of Iraq is all we should remember of the New Labour era. Tony Blair? War criminal. Take your opinions about Sure Start elsewhere. No, I don’t want to hear about the minimum wage.

Perhaps I’ve been thinking about this because on 4 September the BBC Parliament channel broadcast the 1997 election in its entirety. The Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman often …read more

Source:: New Statesman

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