For the first time in ages, Brexit is not dominating the news. Rather, a possible change in political alliances is breaking with the departure of the 7 Blairite MPs from the Labour party under the banner of “The Independent Group”. It is certainly possible that more Blairite MPs, such as Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper, will join this group – as it is possible that wet Tory MPs, such as Anna Soubry and Nick Boles, facing deselection will also join them. Many in the press, including on the centre-right, have heaped praise on the defecting Labour MPs. That praise is misplaced.
Clearly, many of the Labour moderates deserve our sympathy. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are crazed communists and their followers are often vitriolic anti-Semities. Luciana Berger is one to particularly feel sorry for – she had been active in Labour politics since her adolescence and has seemingly been forced out of the party by virtue of being Jewish – and she even has been heavily harassed while 8 months pregnant. It must be heart-breaking for many good willed people to see their party taken over by anti-Western fanatics. I think of Frank Field in particular – the (non-Blairite) MP who devoted his life to the poor to only be pushed out by the new order. It is a sad day for Labour when Derek Hatton is acceptable and Frank Field is not.
Despite whatever personal sympathies we may have for individual members of Labour, the death of Blairism is long overdue and I welcome its ideological demise. It is true that a Blairite government is better than a Jeremy Corbyn government or even a Harold Wilson one. There were clearly certain advantages to New Labour. Blair and Brown accepted most of Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms and until the financial crisis avoided tax rises and nationalisations (and Mr. Blair himself was no longer in government by that point). Whatever too the faults of the Iraq War, New Labour did some responsible things in the area of foreign policy – such as the successful interventions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone. However, any positives to come from the New Labour years were completely eclipsed by their attempted transformation of Britain.
New Labour’s detrimental affect on British life cannot be overstated. Blair and his heirs view Britain in absolute contempt and did all they could to fundamentally transform the UK from a proud nation to a social democratic western European nation subservient to the EU. It was New Labour’s constitutional vandalism that took Britain’s institutions from being universally respected to being universally despised.
It was New Labour that tried to destroy every vestige of British tradition it could get away with. New Labour made the UK judiciary subservient to European courts with the Human Rights Act of 1998. New Labour then created further constitutional vandalism by virtually destroying the ancient role of the Lord Chancellor without a coherent plan to replace it. It set up a faux “Supreme” Court that is not supreme and did not have the traditional trappings of the British judiciary such as wigs. New Labour also abolished the 800 year old ban on double jeopardy and curbed freedom of speech with politically correct and overly broad “hate speech” laws. New Labour governments worked to harmonise UK law under the EU, but tried to do so without the British people’s knowledge. Though they yielded to publish pressure on the Euro (thanks to Gordon Brown) – they pushed through the Lisbon Treaty without consulting the public despite previously promising to do so.
New Labour’s detrimental effects were not just limited to a PC and Europeanised legal system. New Labour made the House of Lords a den of corruption by “reforming” the House to reduce its traditional members and be replaced by cronies and that were loyal to the Labour Party and would not scrutinize Labour’s bills passed in Commons. Today the house of Lords is second only to China’s National People’s Congress as the largest legislative chamber in the world. The House of Commons became corrupt and amoral as MPs spent wildly to bribe their constituents at home, and enrich themselves, as the expenses scandal showed. When they left office there was famously “no money left“.
New Labour further created cultural troubles in Britain by attacking the livelihoods of the countryside and the working class. To the countryside, despite some of the largest protests the country had ever seen, they rammed through an unnecessary and spiteful ban on foxhunting – a very ancient sport that was (and is) very popular in rural communities. All the while, the working class communities struggled to deal with stagnate wages, overstretched public services, and less job opportunities, as New Labour invited in waves of thousands of unskilled Eastern European immigrants, even more than required under EU law, all in the name of “rubbing their noses in diversity“.
I could go on with the problems of the Blairites. However, their biggest crime is not so much what they have done, but what they would do if they had more time in power.
Some people find it odd that the Labour and Tory “moderates” are so fanatically pro-EU when they tend to have such malleable (to put it charitably) views on most other issues. I don’t. The Blairites love the EU because they are fundamentally technocratic authoritarians. They believe that democracy is a bad thing and that “experts” should rule through technocratic decision making – as it is in the EU. This is a political tradition in the West that goes back to the likes of US President Woodrow Wilson in the early 20th century, but ultimately truly has its roots in Plato’s belief in the “philosopher kings”. The reason Blair and Brown spent public money like drunken sailors in office, while also keeping business happy, was because ultimately they saw Westminster as a cash machine and a stepping stone to being part of the EU machinery – where the money to be made is. For the Blairite, British culture is a nuisance that needed to conform to a greater European identity and British democracy and the British press are dangerous threats to technocratic harmony. It was Blair and his disciples disdain for the British people and democratic traditions that made them lie over the Iraq War and Lisbon Treaty – and that encourages them to push the beyond absurd “Project Fear” about Brexit today. The Independent Group’s refusal to stand in by-elections and formation as a private company rather than a political party only amplifies their anti-democratic Blairite credentials.
With the formation of The Independent Group and Brexit we may be seeing the end of the Blairite project. Sure, they may band together with the Lib Dems and a handful of non-conservative Tory Remainers and form a pro-European virtue signalling party that does about as well as the Lib Dems in the 1990s and 2000s for years to come. But without the EU what are they but a bunch of Jacobins – yearning for a king that will never return. So no, I don’t weep for the demise of an ideology that views Britain and its history with disdain; while openly welcoming rule by buffoons like Jean-Claude Junker and Guy Verhofstadt at the expense of the British public.
Auf Widersehn Blairites. I hope you enjoy the political wilderness and never return.