Is New Labour to blame for why Corbyn’s Labour party lost in Copeland?

Ken Loach thinks so, kicking off another round of bitter arguments over what Blair and Brown achieved in government.

Last night the journalist Paul Mason also linked to the piece in appreciation, drawing a furious response from one Labour member.

He then went on an epic Twitter thread to list all of New Labour’s achievements.

Since so many people were asking for the thread to be collated, we thought we’d help out. It’s definitely worth reading.


Now that is one impressive list.

It’s time Labour members stopped rubbishing New Labour’s achievements in power

  1. Nah. The Tories undid almost every single one of those items within a year of coming into power, and will finish abolishing most of it by the end of this government, rendering most of the list a temporary reprieve at best.
    Because not once did New Labour assert or defend a conceptual framework of values that weren’t Tory values, which left them completely unable to fight on any of this list after 2008’s crash. From the WCA to tuition fees to the bedroom tax and PFI the value system that underpinned New Labour appears seamless with Conservatism, and that was not just its downfall, but also why we have Corbyn, to put clear moral space between that neoliberal compromise and values worth fighting for.

  2. Josh Owen Morris says:

    That “temporary reprieve” lasted 13 years. That’s not temporary if you were born in 1997. That’s most of your life.

  3. David Arnold says:

    Anonandon, oh dear. You don’t know what you are talking about. Did you set out to type some stupid, factually wrong clap trap, or did it just fall out of you?

  4. Chris Bergin says:

    Completely lost the plot about predatory capitalism and we now reap the rewards of being complacent about someone being filthy rich. Unintended consequences of being blindsided by unelected tax-avoiding finance industry so beloved of the tory right-wing. Dont forget which ‘class’ supported the fascist aggression in Europe pre WW2. our Parents and Granparents who gave so much to support a socialist regime for our benefit which has been all but destroyed by tory intent. Blair was indeed ‘made by Thatcher’.

  5. Terry Kelly says:

    Blair’s legacy is bigger than all of that. He left a party which was no longer recognisable as labour and paved the way for the disastrous Tory rule, a tory rule he could have prevented had he shown the courage towards what was supposed to be his people that Thatcher showed towards hers. Oh, and he made himself a multi millionaire, his determination to abolish clause 4 was a clear indication of what his values and intentions were and they did not favour the people that The Labour Party were formed to represent.

  6. Blairs 13 years of torture of doing nothing but paper of the cracks left by thatcher.
    Shown by the 7 years of a tory lead coilition and government.
    He did nothing to rebalence to divide and ghe heart that was ripped of the the uk industrial engine house.
    Thurther enforceing globalitation
    And taking our country to war on a pack of lies.
    If you believe different you only fool yourself.

  7. Lauri de Melchor says:

    ( ) to all and every gift of great plasters to british society from new Labour under bLIAR…I Bombing of Innocents Not in our Names

  8. I really enjoyed the Blair years.
    A lot of people did.
    The war was wrong but he didnt lie.
    I want to vote for social policies so i can feel im helping the needy, buti dont want to vote for a full socialism that might hinder economic growth making all poorer.
    New Labour allowed people to vote for economic strength and social policies at the same time.

  9. Barrie Thompson says:

    Most of what the Blair administration achieved has been quickly got rid of by The Tories because Blair removed the cement that held the Labour movement together Clause 4 which firmly kept all parts together The Labour Party, Trade Unions, and Cooperative Movement they then very mistakenly started to attack the Trade Unions and have kept up that attack relentlessly ever since.

  10. Judging by what Anthony chiverton writes, it looks like Looks like Blair/Brown failed to establish adequate standards of literacy …. or clear thinking.

  11. GReat to see some actual facts about Blair’s achievements from Hammy. Going to war with Iraq was something that the tories would have been just as gung-ho about and they actually supported it. The years of Blair and Brown seem idyllic compared with the awful things happening today in our divided and hate filled country. And the economic recession was a global event caused by greedy bankers and was not Brown’s fault as the tories claimed.

  12. Blair and Brown were awesome, New Labour was awesome, their achievements while in power the Tories would never have ever even tried to equal, simply because the Tories fought against much many of the social changes New Labour introduced, can you ever imagine a Thatcher or Major Government introducing a decent minimum wage or investing Billions in the NHS and in Nurses and Doctors, not to mention making patient care a priority, no you can’t imagine it, because right now at this moment the NHS is dying, patient care is done in the corridors of Hospitals that are going to be closed down, this horrific Tory government that gambled and lost with the Brexit Fiasco, is trying to take us into oblivion without a plan, all we know for sure is the Nasty Party is back and working people and sick people will have to pay for this horrible mistake the UK made when it put the Tories back into power.

  13. Stephen Murphy says:

    Anonandon – if the Blair Brown agenda was simply toryism why did the Tories – as you assert – undo so much of it? You can’t have it both ways. It was a progressive optimistic era which held the nation together in a way that we have certainly not seen since. The war was a disaster of course but domestic politics were not.

  14. Patrick Graham says:

    disappointed it left off my tweet reply to the list –
    “Well apart from that Mrs MasonNews, How did you enjoy the war?”

  15. PFI invented by Tories, enthusiastically pursued by Brown – how much of the NHS debt is accounted for by the mortgages and ‘service’ charges controlled by banks/developers/multinational companies?

  16. Until you understand what a managed decline is this isn’t in context, yes I really liked all those things that new labour did but they specifically didn’t reverse the fundamental underlying principles of our economy that thatcher introduced. If they were introduced then then can be removed and B&B didn’t do that.
    PS Corbyn wouldn’t be able to introduce full on socialism even if he did want to partly because we’re so far behind the scandiwegian countries in terms of the lives the vast majority of their populace lead, and they’re not full on socialist themselves.

  17. Are people STILL harping on about Clause IV???? No wonder we’re not coming across as a progressive forward thinking party anymore!

  18. I am sure you could argue Hitler did a lot of good things as well.

    Him and Blair still both cunts.

  19. Mike Smith. says:

    I was and am still, proud to be a new labour member and supporter, as a gay man and the son of a coal miner I know what it was like living under Thatcher, New Labour brought hope and a way forward.
    I never hear Conservatives criticising Mrs T, they overlook the Falkland’s war, the pole tax, the exporting of industries, the reduction in social housing by the ‘right to buy’, the starving of the N H S, the limiting of workers’ rights and the transfer of wealth from the nation to the rich by the privatisation of state assets.
    Some Labour members, maybe even the majority, want to remain pure socialists and so are prepared to see communities suffer and be destroyed in the hope that a revolution will follow.
    It is time Labour realised that there is a need to build an alliance of progressive centre left parties, to establish a reform of our whole political establishment and create a system that is fit for purpose, and will deliver a fairer society, a true one nation Britain.

  20. I dont know if its me being cynical I think a lot of their electoral success was due to Cambell’s control of the narrative, without ontrol of the narrative, the tories are *completely* out of sorts, unfortunately they learned those lessons well and completely control the BBC narrative

  21. IIrene Martin says:

    Well, Labour has got an honest man to lead, that’s why the bbc and the other tory claptrap papers say he is weak, because he won’t lie, cheat and steal his way through. Good for him, it’s not ‘full labour’ whatever that is, it’s a different kind of politics we all dream about but are too scared of change to make it happen. When will we ever learn. When it’s too late of course

  22. Three letters: PFI. The beginning of the privatisation of the NHS. So small a thing but crucial and yet Hammy decided to miss it off. NHS+PFI=PWC getting very rich while USA waits in the wings to pick of its carcass.

  23. Who is this ‘Hammy’ character? Is it Alistair Campbell? He certainly seems to have swallowed a book of his headline bullshit whole. What did Blair & Brown achieve? They failed to repeal even one anti trade union law introduced by the Tories. They introduced a ‘National Minimum Wage so low that a significant proportion of low paid workers in London actually saw their wages fall. They introduced so many stealth Taxes it made our heads spin. PFI – need I say more – our NHS and Education System is still paying a huge price for all those PFI contracts. Privatisation of everything Thatcher forgot to flog. Mass transfer of Council Housing stock to the private sector. Creation of a huge benefit culture and benefit trap subsidising poverty wages from private corporations with benefits paid by the state. Wage stagnation on a scale not seen for over a hundred years. Dangerous deregulation of banking and financial sectors which lead directly to the banking crisis. Loads of fantasy in that list too

  24. And dont forget Brown taxing dividends on pension contributions which immediately put pension funds into deficit. Thereby triggering the closure of thousands of company schemes and robbing thousands of a half decent retirement.

  25. So people here are saying that much of the good work was undone by the Tories. Well – duh. That’s why you should always fight against the Tories, and why we need a Labour government.

    Unfortunately there’s no chsnce of that with the current bunch of clowns in charge. You almost wonder if they’re Tory sleepers.

  26. “Nah. The Tories undid almost every single one of those items within a year of coming into power, and will finish abolishing most of it by the end of this government, rendering most of the list a temporary reprieve at best.
    Because not once did New Labour assert or defend a conceptual framework of values that weren’t Tory values, which left them completely unable to fight on any of this list after 2008’s crash. From the WCA to tuition fees to the bedroom tax and PFI the value system that underpinned New Labour appears seamless with Conservatism, and that was not just its downfall, but also why we have Corbyn, to put clear moral space between that neoliberal compromise and values worth fighting for.”

    So basically you are saying, these things were good but were undone and do you know who I will blame for the undoing? The people who did the good things rather than the people who undid them? Fucking hell, talk about twisting it. New Labour did good things.

  27. And anyone who thinks PFI was the start of the privatisation of the NHS hasn’t researched the subject.

  28. The Corbynites really hate Labour and everything it has ever achieved but at least there is a list for them to hate. Can one of them ever provide a list of what Corbyn has ever achieved or ever will? Under the last heading I will give them a start: Tory landslide

  29. “Because not once did New Labour assert or defend a conceptual framework ”

    If we had the tories would have said “Oh no, a conceptual framework (whatever the fuck that is when it’s at home)” and given up.

    Pass me my ice pick.

  30. Nobody with half a brain can deny New Labour achieved a great deal, and also made many mistakes. Government involves making choices and decisions. Perpetual opposition, of the kind Corbyn virtually guarantees, allows people to fantasise about an England run along vaguely Venzualan lines. I had to listen to that self deluding ullsgit 50 years ago when in was a student. Incredible to hear the same bleats uttered by new sheep.

  31. Momentum, Loach & “Old Labour” forget that Blair & Brown won elections three times something no other leader managed. There consistently spent more than raised in taxes which contributed to but was not cause of crash. They achieved a great deal of good and while Iraq War was a bad mistake many other leaders would have gone down same path. He is still worth listening to.

    The whole premise of Loach, Corbyn & McDonnell is to invest in new industries, factories, regions seemingly ignorant of the fact that government invariably invests in the wrong things and overspends.

    You could raise top tax to 80% and it would not deliver the taxes to deliver the programs they “promise”. Strange that old socialism has failed throughout Europe and Nordics would not be seen dead adopting them.

    New Labout not half as bad as these dinosaurs dream and waiting for viable answers from them that stand up to detailed scrutiny

  32. To those who say the Tories have undone lots of this – sadly that’s true! The opportunity cost of not winning support from all those who sat on their hands was the chance to embed lots of it via
    Community Interest Companies and Co-operative principles as those (too few) who read the 2010 Manifesto would know.

  33. And of course the Blairite cabal fought tooth and nail against austerity; PFI helped education and NHS to flourish; how many dead Iraqis? Gosh, lots to be proud of …

  34. Maria Carroll says:

    Hang on a minute are you seriously implying that one man achieved all this? It was achieved by labour, all of us. We did it through consensus and consultation policy forums, expert advice, consultation with citizens and public service staff. We pulled back public services from decades of Tory abuse. Labour had at that time the most democratic structures of any party and we used them. We listened, we assessed, we planned formed policy and we delivered. Note the We not one man and not one ‘faction’. The election of Blair as the leader was respected. We all put our energies into getting labour elected and we all contributed to that policy agenda and manifesto. I and many others worked our socks off to make policy that was best for this country for the people.
    Please don’t belittle our input into that success. Corbyn as one man does not set the policy agenda for labour. Our democratic structures are setting our policy agenda – through policy commissions, NPF, NEC & conference Respect it

  35. “Nobody with half a brain can deny New Labour achieved a great deal,”

    You’ve clearly never read the Canary.

  36. Terence Agar says:

    Blair and Brown did many great things when they first came to power. Both Corbyn and McDonnell acknowledge this fact. Minimum wage, tax credits, better NHS waiting times and what seemed to be a fairer society. The third term was when Labour started to implement more right of centre views and in my own opinion, Blair did this on purpose knowing when he handed over to Brown he hoped he’d be absolved of any blame for the lurch to the right. Many Labour voters could see this and either voted tactically for the Lib Dems to give Labour a kick up the backside as in Redcar and Cleveland, these places would never vote tory because of what Thatcher did to the North East but also didn’t believe a Lib Dem would shoehorn a Tory party into power. Some of these supporters now vote Labour again but the real damage was done in Scotland. When the Scots see Milliband stand shoulder to shoulder with Hameron it was a kick in the teeth for them and that damage cost Labour Scotland and the election.

  37. Terence Agar says:

    And now with the Tories cutting seats in parliament by 50 and almost 40 of those seats to be affected are in Labour areas it could be a long time in the wilderness if Labour don’t get back to it’s core values.

  38. Two books released during Blair’s premiership offer great insight into his government’s domestic and foreign policy;

    Captive State (2000) by George Monbiot

    Web of Deceit (2003) by Mark Curtis

  39. “Two books released during Blair’s premiership offer great insight into his government’s domestic and foreign policy;”

    So why not list them instead?

  40. What good does this do. In the present world climate of visciously competitive globalisation, something needs to be done differently, and we will only get some kind of consensus when there is a fundamental economic policy based on genuinely fair taxation, new research and development, a high investment in education, employment, housing and great public services and an end to a society which is the most extreme in differences of wealth since the Victorian era. This cannot go on, the old middle of the road meritocracy and elitism will not bring a ‘brave new world’, we need the attitude of a man like Corbyn and very robust policies for the majority of citizens of the UK to support. Those renegade Labour MPs should be burning the midnight oil getting their heads together to create a better future for all, not destroying their own party.

  41. Blair did some very good things in his first term. The introduction of the minimum wage and civil partnerships were the best two, things the old blue-rinses wouldn’t have touched. There were others but then it became all about his ego and I swear the Americans had some dirt on him to make him go along with the Iraq war. That’s when he lost me and all proper Labour folk.

  42. @Mike Smith

    “Overlook the Falklands War” overlook it? Why does anyone need to overlook it? We were damned right to go to war with an invading country to protect the people who lived there. Not having that kind of talk.

    You say it like you are comparing it to the illegal Iraq War. Thatcher did an awful lot wrong, but the Falklands was absolutely not one of them.

  43. Wether Iraq was illegal or not is a grey area – it was certainly ill advised when looked upon with hindsight, but the repetition of the unproven ‘illegal’ tag is just propaganda, or ‘fake news’ in the latest idiom.
    I worry about the unquestioning justification of any war – one could ask why sanctions, blockades and international political pressure were not given a chance. A ‘just war’, the only kind I can personally support, requires fighting to be a last resort.

  44. @Damon
    Bombing a retreating warship was Thatcher’s idea of negotiation… sums up everything that was wrong with that psychopath

  45. Kenneth Burch says:

    Blair and Brown had achievements. Nobody claims they did nothing. The point is that Blair didn’t have to strip his party of most of what it stood for and didn’t have to endorse what Thatcher did to the economy and the unions to get the chance to do it. Labour was leading solidly in the polls BEFORE Blair took it over. The ERM scandal had discredited the Major government and the Tories weren’t going to be re-elected no matter what. The Great Recantation was never needed, neither the party’s core supporters nor the unions needed to be disrespected and put in their place for Labour to have won in 1997, and the electorate never demanded that Labour adopt a defense policy TO THE RIGHT OF THE TORIES.

  46. Loving this infighting, you’ll be as out of government as long as you are this out of touch. Like two bald men fighting over a comb.

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