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Posts Tagged ‘New Labour’

The Pains of Labour after Blair and Brown

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, June 18th 2011

The condition of British Labour may seem a distant subject to many Scots. We after all have a SNP majority government and our politics now march to a different beat.

Despite everything, British Labour still matters. It is the majority Scots party at Westminster, winning 41 out of 59 seats only last year. And British politics still matter, for as long as Scotland remains part of the UK.

There is a strange atmosphere in what used to be called ‘the people’s party’. Ed Miliband’s leadership has gone through the political extremes in one week, aided by a disastrous Prime Minister’s Question Time, then a victorious one. David Miliband’s victory speech that never was found its way into the press. As did Ed Ball’s political notes from his time in office.

Tony Blair made it known that he supports the coalition’s public sector reforms while Alan Milburn castigates the NHS English reforms for retreating in the face of resistance. Read the rest of this entry »

The al-Megrahi Release: Britain, Libya, Scotland and Doing Business

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, February 12th 2011

The al-Megrahi release may come to be seen as one of the defining moments of the early years of the Scottish Parliament. It was certainly a defining point for the SNP Government – a rare occasion where the world stopped and took notice of Scotland.

There is the central role of the British Government whose actions have been examined in the report of Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary published this week – which found that it did ‘all it could’ to secure al-Megrahi’s release.

There is continuity and difference in how the British government has behaved. In the Middle East the British have a proven record of intervention: two invasions of Iraq before Tony Blair was even born, the overthrowal of the Iranian Government in 1953, the humiliation of Suez in 1956, and the Aden intervention of 1967 of Colin ‘Mad Mitch’ Mitchell, who improbably went on to become Tory MP for Aberdeenshire West. Read the rest of this entry »

The Blairite Ascendancy Goes On and How We Have to Stop It

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, January 21st 2011

What a fascinating end to a watershed week in British politics. A week shaped by the continued Blairite dominance of British politics. Cameron’s ‘modernisation’ of the health service opened the week, and Blair’s evidence to the Chilcot inquiry and Andy Coulson’s resignation, David Cameron’s Head of Communications, closed it.

The Blairite ascendancy continues shorn of its New Labour platform. In many respects this worldview does not now need to be rooted in any one political party to maintain its stranglehold. Leaders of power whether Cameron or Clegg, or business people and media know the way the world works; it does not really matter to them that there are significant reservations in large parts of the Conservative and Lib Dem parties or elsewhere.

I listened to most of Tony Blair’s evidence today to Chilcot; that is I listened to all the BBC coverage that wasn’t taken up with the resignation of Andy Coulson. It was a fascinating juxtaposition; the collision of two mutually admiring forces one of which shaped, even created the other; and of course to the end Coulson was following the brazen New Labour hymn book, finding a good day ‘to bury bad news’: himself. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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