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Monday, February 01, 2010

Tony Blair may be over, but Blairism thrives

This article of mine appears in The First Post.

Neil Clark: Nauseated? Shocked? Sure, but he’s still Britain’s most charismatic politician.

Eight out of ten people think he lied on Friday in his evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry. There is a bounty out for his arrest as a war criminal. Twenty-eight per cent of British people think he should be prosecuted for war crimes.

But while Tony Blair the man is undoubtedly damaged goods, Blairism - despite the debacle of Iraq - lives on. And if anything, the influence that the former prime minister and his adherents have over British politics is only going to get stronger in the months ahead.

After the next election the Parliamentary Labour Party is likely to be more dominated by Blairites than it is today. Those hoping for an 'Old Labour' revival will be disappointed. As noted by George Eaton in the New Statesman, 10 members of the 23-strong Socialist Campaign Group, including the staunch anti-Blairites Alan Simpson and Bob Marshall-Andrews, are standing down at the next election.

In the safe Labour seat of Liverpool West Derby, the anti-war and solidly 'Old Labour' MP Bob Wareing has been controversially de-selected in favour of the uber-Blairite Stephen Twigg, a man who, when MP for Enfield Southgate, voted "very strongly" for the Iraq war.

In Liverpool Wavertree, according to the Mail on Sunday, the 28-year-old Londoner Luciana Berger, once linked with Tony Blair's son Euan, has been selected, to the anger of local Labour party figures, to replace the retiring Blairite MP Jane Kennedy. "There has been an operation to put this woman into the seat," claims the veteran Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle. "All the people who have mentioned her name to me I would describe as Blairites, with one or two exceptions."

You can read the rest of the article here.

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