The curious incident of the Blairite in the Spectator
One of the strangest political trends of the year has been the Blairites, who dominated British politics for many years, carrying out massive unprovoked attacks on their own reputations and doing their best to annoy and alienate people in the Labour Party. This is in preparation for their total marginalisation and defeat by Neal Lawson and chums in an internal faction fight after the election. I find this for the most part entertaining, but also somewhat baffling.
Over the summer, most of their leaders resigned from government, so it is left to the second string to keep up the fight for the true cause.
This week, Phil 'not the singer' Collins, Tony Blair's former speechwriter and chair of Demos, has a smug article in the Spectator slagging off the trade unions. I understand that there is probably some personal benefit in slagging off Labour's main funders for the benefit of a right-wing audience, but surely this sort of behaviour only hurts the faction which Collins supports?
Or take Hazel Blears' former special adviser, Paul 'the Thinker' Richards, saying that opponents of the Iraq war were pro-Saddam Hussein. It's not 2003 any more, so what's with the 'no compromise with reality' attitude?
This kind of behaviour almost seems that they've given up on the Labour Party, rather than trying to win support for their candidates and policies within the Party by building alliances across the party and in the unions, they are running wild, self-indulgent and free, preparing for life as an occasional columnist in the Times tutting about how the Labour Party has lurched to the left and how it's not like the Good Old Days when Tony was in charge.
If that's the case, then I think it is a shame. I disagree with the ideas which the Blairites have about the future of the Labour Party, but the Labour Party will be more effective if Phil-not-the-singer and Paul-the-thinker follow the fine example of Alastair, Hopi and Luke and argue their case forcefully while accepting that their faction won't always get its way.