For Those About To Singe Blair...
by Martin Lewis
Written May 03, 2005

I read an excellent - but disturbing column by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian on Monday.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/election/story/0,15803,1474734,00.html

It spurred me to send the following letter to the Guardian. Though I doubt it will be published.

I doubt that all my UK-based friends will agree with the contents of it. As one who protested very long and loud against Bush on Iraq - I have struggled mightily on the Blair-Iraq issue. "Mixed feelings" doesn't do it justice. But life just isn't as simple as one issue - however important or principled. Would that it were... There is always a bigger picture. And my letter is written by someone living in the USA - in the 5th year of a devastating 8-year Bush presidency that could have been avoided if progressive voters in 2000 hadn't been so concerned about sending Al Gore a message. Sometimes progressives cut off their noses to spite their Gores and Blairs. And the consequences are far worse than the ills they seek to smite by their actions. A Blair in the hand is worth two conservatives in the...

Martin

LETTER FOR PUBLICATION

Letter from British-born, US-based political commentator - Martin Lewis

Topic - How middle-class Labour voters could be about to repeat the 1970 election disaster

Polly Toynbee's astute report ("Good deeds fail to erase memories of war" - Monday May 2nd) presents a chilling insight into how Britain's self-styled progressives may wake up on Friday morning in a 35 year time warp. For the present-day whining ingratitude of Labour supporters is eerily reminiscent of the mood that led to Edward Heath's 1970 election upset. How could a nation possibly be anything but grateful to a Labour government that had turned an 800 million inherited trade deficit in 1964 into a healthy surplus? Very easily it transpired. For the middle-class Labour supporters' habit of sniffy gloom anytime the real world impinges on its naive utopianism is a costly one. Harold Wilson's 1964-1970 government was far from perfect. But its continuation would clearly have been better for Britain than the heartless Heath administration that Labour voters' apathy in 1970 gave us. The same self-defeating, nit-picking attitude in 1979 led to the 18 year brutal Tory regime that virtually destroyed Britain's social fabric.

And now the elitist chattering class Labourites would risk the vast social improvements of the past 8 years just because - surprise surprise - Tony Blair turned out to be a (gasp!) politician. How stupid and selfish can these voters be? In 2000 a lot of so-called American progressives allowed themselves the luxury of a protest vote against the Democrats by voting for Ralph Nader. (In a typical example of progressive self-defeatism - they were of course protesting against the Clinton-Gore administration's stunning economic SUCCESS.) The result of this baby-boomer self-indulgence was an undeserved victory for George W. Bush. And we all know where that led - and who it mis-led along the way... Those who proclaim to be progressives in Britain have got till Thursday night to grow up and learn to accept the responsibilities that come with the beliefs. Call it the lesser of the evils if you are so immature that you still have to sugar-coat grown-up behaviour. Use the "nosepeg" analogy if your inner-snob insists. But anything less than full-blooded support for the return of a Labour government with a big working majority is to repeat the costly mistakes of 1970 and 1979. (And of 2000 in America.) Britain's working people and under-classes deserve a better fate than that.


Home | The Columns | The Bloggings


Copyright © 2004 Martin Lewis