Tony Blair – ‘He’s behind you’

The future of the Labour Party

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Photograph: 'Corbyn let Labour and the 48% who voted remain down in the EU referendum campaign / CC'

Politics in the United Kingdom is on uneven grounds after the recent General Election and European referendum. A new centre-ground has been established in which neither party has yet to lay claim. Theresa May’s disastrous campaign has seen her strong and stable leadership diminish to puppet status amidst growing tension from Conservative backbenchers. Jeremy Corbyn has appeared as the prince that was promised to Game of Thrones fans, killed off by the Labour status quo yet rising again to defeat the White Walkers.

The one politician who doesn’t seem to disappear is Tony Blair. His role as the pantomime villain is constantly undermining the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn proving how out of touch he is with the rank and file membership. Labour’s ghost of yesterday has to be set free. At a time when Labour needs to unite, Blair is doing more harm than good.

The messiah complex surrounding Blair’s ego makes him believe that he is the man to scrutinise the United Kingdom’s Brexit negotiations. In today’s news, Blair revealed that a combination of Brexit followed by a Labour victory would leave Britain ‘flat on our back’. His opinion offers nothing but irony. Blair has no authority within the Labour Party anymore.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour movement offers hope to the grassroots. It has mobilised people from all walks of life and engaged them in politics. The shift in power within the Labour Party has been substantial. Whilst the leadership has a large influence on the direction of the Party, so do the membership. Blair has no mandate from the members. How he still believes his opinion is welcome in the Labour Party is astounding. His frustrations concerning Brexit are understandable, but to turn it into an attack on Jeremy Corbyn will gain him no support from the Left.

Tony Blair’s rude interruption in the surge of Labour is a clarion call for those MPs who still believe Britain should remain in the European Union. With a cross-party coalition forming to frustrate the process, perhaps he is trying to use his influence to create a mandate within Labour to remain. The surge in votes towards Labour across the country were in favour of their manifesto policies, not Brexit.

Some Labour MPs think they were elected with a European mandate. This belief is nothing but an illusion. A debate needs to happen within the Labour Party to create a consensus for Brexit. With MPs acting off their own initiative, the hard-work done by the membership could be undone in plunging Labour into another civil war. The time has come for consensus and not controversy. The sooner the Blair cohort realised that, the better.

Jeremy Corbyn represents everything Blair does not. Labour has offered hope for a brighter future amidst attacks from both sides of the political spectrum. He has inspired a generation to become actively involved in politics and take their ideas to the ballot box. He has proven that Britain can be great through investment in a sustainable future.

This movement has to last to offer a future for the next generation. It has to last through the Brexit negotiations and continue to offer hope through grassroots politics. The future of the Labour Party is with the membership, not the previous leadership. Jeremy Corbyn understand this and that is why he is the right man to lead Labour into the future.

Simply put, Tony Blair’s arrival in modern politics is far from welcome. He is the elephant in the room amidst Labour conversations. The failure of Tony Blair to represent Labour’s true values has provoked the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. His neoliberal ideology and the conservatism it produced provoked a surge in left-wing populism. As seen with Bernie Sanders in the United States, when people come together they can make true change. The campaign was not about Jeremy Corbyn, it was about a brighter future. Individualism in British politics has diminished for the time being. Progressive consensus must be the future.

About Jonathan Tew 1 Article
Masters in Research student at the University of the West of England

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