New Labour policies
Alan Milburn speaks of new Labour creating “a legacy for Britain’s public services in the same way that Margaret Thatcher embedded the free market during the 1980s” (report, January 26). The same report also speaks of unease by some members of the Cabinet about Tony Blair’s desire for an “unremittingly new Labour” manifesto.
As an ordinary new Labour member, I am disappointed by both those points. I hope we will once again fight this election as a one-nation, classless party of the centre and centre-left, at the same time preserving Clement Attlee’s embedded welfare state alongside Thatcher’s embedded free market.
This was the bargain that the Labour Party made with Blair, prior to the party agreeing our new constitution, and endorsed overwhelmingly in a vote open to every party member prior to the 1997 manifesto. And, of course, this was also the bargain struck with the electorate. The party, in effect, traded in all ideas of traditional socialism in return for political power. The fact that there may now be influential Labourites no longer prepared to honour the deal should not make it any the less binding.
Surely on most reasonable measures of social justice, that bargain has paid off handsomely. It is therefore right that new Labour should continue to be totally unremitting.