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« Hague set to return as Shadow Foreign Secretary | Main | Hustings Report (10): Newport »


wondering about what the future holds

The problem here is that a lot of people don't want to face up to the mistakes we made as a party beyond the unfortunate tone we have often adopted in opposition, especially during elections. It's quite right to do something about that but people are deluding themselves if they think merely dropping the bigotry and nastiness is going to win people over to our side. All it does is bring the party up to date with the other two parties. And yet those who have been most enthusiastic about this very necessary and important change have often had the least to say about what the public really care about--even during an unprecedented six-month ling leadership election. Not very encouraging that.


Just an innocent question.Why do so many people use weird pseudonyms when they post on this blog?I could understand it if they were making stupid or outrageous comments but they aren't always!


Actually, Malcolm, Tony Blair's first cabinet pretty much represented what I'm advocating--a complete "new generation" of leadership. None of his top leadership team (Prescott, Brown, Cook, Straw) were members of the Callaghan cabinet, and except for Prescott all were in their 40s when given their Front Bench positions. TB deliberately excluded such (failed) former leaders as Kinnock and Foot from prominent roles in his administration.

Bill Hague et al won't disappear. They will always be available for advice, and hopefully will be listened to. Maybe even given government posts--AFTER we win the election. But TB's electoral success suggests that the Tories can also win with a team of "new" faces. This is the kind of past we SHOULD learn from.

Tony Blair's first cabinet was 18 years after Labour left office! We have been out for only eight. By 1997, Kinnock was no longer an MP. Foot was not only no longer an MP but was also 84!

In fact most successful leaders of the opposition (in the sense of defeating the incumbent government) had served in the previous government of their own party--and all won shares of the vote comparable or greater than Blair's. Blair is in fact the only post-war Prime Minister not to have served in the cabinet of a previous administration.

There is an ahistorical perspective in some of these threads. If you look at the three times the Tories have come back since the war: 1951, 1970 and 1979--each time the party had a programme that took into account their own party's failings while previously in government and took a much longer view than simply the period they have been out of office.

In 1951, the Tories had a programme shaped not just to rid Britain of the unpopular features of Labour's post-war government but also to address their own record in the 1930s. Similarly, 1970 and 1979 were about changing a lot more about Britain that merely what the previous Labour Government had done. Both Heath and Thatcher acknowledged the shortcomings of previous Tory governments and were explicit about wanting a different approach.

History didn't begin in 1997.


To the anonymous poster of "There is an ahistorical perspective": I didn't take a position one way or the other on whether the Tory Party should ponder the party's past failings. In fact, I'd agree with you that it should. My posts focused not on policy but rather on the need for new leaders.

By 2009 the Tories will have been out of power 12 years; roughly comparable to the 18 year gap between Callaghan and Blair, and similar to the 13 year gap between Atlee and Wilson. In Canada, we see a 22 year gap between Bennett and Diefenbaker. In Australia we see a 25 year gap from Evatt to Whitlam. Each time, by necessity or choice, a new generation of leadership took power. Each time, an opposition led by "new" faces won election. The historical record shows that the Tories should not fear going into an election with an all new Front Bench.

History did not begin in 1997. Nor did it begin in 1951, nor is it confined to Britain.


No ! John Smith "won" the 1997 Election. John Smith was the credible Scot who gave voters the feeling of an avuncular bank manager - his death in May 1994 gave Blair the sympathy vote after he succeeded Margaret Beckett who was interim leader.

You cannot glide from Kinnock to Blair and delete Smith. Kinnock was not electable, Smith was. It was Kinnock who reformed the Labour Party; Smith who won over the voters; Blair who harvested what his predecssors had sown.

The New Labour Mandelson Legend has been too readily absorbed by Tories

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Air Jordan After Game

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