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September 09, 2018



'I suspect that for some centrists today, the risk of letting the Tories win is one they are happy to take.'

I wasn't around at the time (being of the 'war, expenses scandal, banking crisis' generation - but I'd think that's the point of a new breakaway party, not a risk. Strangle a left-Labour project in its cradle then sweep in later.

The SDP split seems to have achieved everything Sandelson speaks about here (www.margaretthatcher.org/document/112666), and I'd be surprised if much of the PLP aren't thinking along the same lines now.

Bob Rogers

Speaking as someone on the centre-left, I think austerity was a disaster, but Corbyn (and the assorted Stalinists and Trots who surround him) would be worse. So I would prefer a new party which succeeds, but if failure prevents Corbyn coming to power then it’s a failure I can live with.





«My ideas were disproportionately shaped by the inflation and mass unemployment of the 70s and 80s. These taught me that economics matters;»

What the 1970s taught many others (including in part me) is that oil prices and supply matter a lot, and that once the UK, thanks to scottish oil, became an exporter in 1980, politics matters a lot as to who gets the benefits.
One of the latter was young T Blair, who wrote in 1987 (my usual quote):

«Mrs Thatcher has enjoyed two advantages over any other post-war premier. First, her arrival in Downing Street coincided with North Sea oil. The importance of this windfall to the Government’s political survival is incalculable. ...
Bank lending has been growing at an annual rate of around 20 per cent (excluding borrowing to fund house purchases); credit-card debt has been increasing at a phenomenal rate; and these have combined to bring a retail-sales boom – which shows up dramatically in an increase in imported consumer goods.
Previously such a boom and growth in imports would have produced a balance-of-payments deficit, a plunging currency and an immediate reining-back on spending, with lower rates of growth.
Instead, oil has earned foreign exchange and also produces remittance payments from overseas investments bought with oil money. The situation is neither stable nor healthy in the long term: but in the short term it allows the living standards of the majority to rise rapidly, even though the industrial base, the ultimate foundation of a successful economy, is still only achieving the levels of output of 1979.
The fact that we have failed to use oil to build a productive and modern industry for the future is something historians will deplore.»

Mike W

Interesting and useful set of ideas that, one hopes, threaten the aging, remember the 1970/80s Tories meme in particular. I do however think that the Tories are deeply concerned about this issue. But that they have no members (80,000?), so they cannot simply 'reverse engineer' a 'Fogey Momentum' of young,trade union, socialist, haters.

As a basic Liberal/Geogist I see the underlying 'class conflict' is against the narrower 'rentier class', so have none of Chris's concerns about 1970s, 'Cold War', 'commumism', and these other associations. The good news is that most young debtors, locked out of even a basic council flat in Clapham, are now asking the right 'economic' questions, about labour, property and land, rather than working out kill zones radius, for the Soviet SS20 missles hitting South London, circa 1982!

'I suspect that for some centrists today, the risk of letting the Tories win is one they are happy to take.'

* Funny thing is Chris, that's just what my Blairite friends were saying about the sins of the 'radical 500,000' for the last two years! Won't win. So they do agree. Odd that one should earn the title 'centrist' though.

** Blairites know their SDP history, so fuck them on this particular bluff. But I would love to see Tom 'Jabba' the Watson, in particular, stand as an independent against one of the 500,000 thousand youngsters who joined, or rejoined Labour. Empty stategy, but good for lazy BBC journalsts.

No, the only hope for the old, hereditary elite in Labour, like the idiot Kinnock boy, or ultimately Urine Blair(?)is to hijack 'remain' and hope they can bring down Corbyn et al, later. Yes the only winner during an election will be the Tories. But they will also be a party in civil war during the election too, will they not?


For many SDP scabs keeping Thatcher in power was a feature not a bug.



“For people whose formative years include 2003, the Iraq war made a big impression; it is these, I sense, who are most hostile to Blair. For the rest of us, the war was just another policy error“.

This is both an interesting insight, and shocking. This episode clearly left a terrible impression on me such that I’ll never engage with politicians or politics again. In fact I was convinced that the route to positive change lay outside politics. To be honest, many years later I am enraged at the mere sight of Tony Blair.


True enough. It also only seems to be those of us who grew up the 70s and 80s who think that Corbyn and McDonnell's long association with the IRA and Sinn Fein matters.


There is a similar phenomenon with "plasticity" in the voting literature where voting becomes habit-forming around that age, as well as the party one is likely to support in later life.

Ferdinand van Dieten

The conclusion should be: a voting system (the Anglo-Saxon "winner takes all" ) that does not allow new parties to emerge is the main problem. We in the Netherlands has a constitutional revolution in the 1848 that solved this problem. When the US and UK will follow they are almost 2 centuries overdue.


"that it fragmented the opposition and so gave the Tories a huge majority"

Only because of the First Past The Post system that Labour have always fought to maintain Selfishly so, because it gives them more MPs yet also makes Conservative majorities much more probable.


'It also only seems to be those of us who grew up the 70s and 80s who think that Corbyn and McDonnell's long association with the IRA and Sinn Fein matters.'

And what about the association of so many other non-socialist politicians with a whole host of nasty little dictators and facilitating arms deals with various unsavoury countries. At least Corbyn and McDonnell don't have the deaths of tens of thousands of people on their consciences.

Who do you vote for, Colin?

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