Labor Party finally learned to love Tony Blair again

Sir Tony Blair, as he is now royally designated, has a dictum for winning elections. Before the Labour Party can obtain any form of hearing from British voters, it must pass two (quite low) standards: the party must be in terms of safety To be trusted, and it must seem to like the country it seeks to govern. In the past ten years, it has been at a disadvantage among the opposition, but it has failed in both respects.

The former prime minister of the Labour Party is still despised by some within the party and by the general public-more than 500,000 signed a copy petition The Knighthood that called him was saved-but how his textbook was reopened. After Brexit, Britain, which has a strong sense of identity, has challenged patriotism more severely than ever before.

The influence of the former leader on another knight, Sir Kyle Starmer, is obvious. In a hopeful speech on Tuesday, opposition leaders tried to “celebrate the country we live in.” Directly from Blair’s script, he called the Queen, football, the Commonwealth and the BBC-and talked about “safety” throughout. The only thing missing is a direct reference to the Beatles.

Stammer used patriotism as a driving force for change. Citing Clement Attlee’s 1945 election victory, he argued: “I don’t think you are no longer a patriot because you noticed that your country is flawed. On the contrary, our party The reason for correcting these problems is precisely because we are patriotic.” He also cited Harold Wilson, the labor’s only elected prime minister, as the Rockstar who reshaped society.

In addition to his tone of voice, Starmer’s party is becoming more and more like the New Labor Party 2. Some of the most famous appointments in its new front-row team—the shadow minister of health Wes Streeting and the shadow minister of education Bridget Phillipson—have accepted the term “Blleytt.” It is these numbers that the Conservative Party cares most about. “Wes is a person to watch. I can understand why Keele let him play such an important role,” a Conservative Party official pointed out.

Lord Peter Mandelson, a key figure in the New Labor era, naturally welcomes this change, but warns that Stammer must go beyond putting himself on the Union Jack. “He should be clear that he does not want to judge his patriotism based on the number of flags he stands, but based on his true feelings about the country, the British values ​​he believes in and what he will actually do to make the country better. “He said.

Mandelson is right, Starmer may be too dependent on sweet words.Sometimes, he seems to be retelling the role of Hugh Grant Love, The fictitious Prime Minister praised everything in Britain until David Beckham’s left foot. Stammer’s security knowledge framework—economic, national, or environmental—is a compelling framework, but it is currently ambiguous in any details.

In addition to talking about his love for Britain, Stammer’s mission in 2022 must be to define what the Labour Party wants to do. This cannot be restored to the political center that no longer exists, nor can it oppose anything that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done for this purpose. The Labor Party may be relieved that it has taken the lead in the polls, but this is largely due to the unpopularity of the government. If Johnson’s bet to avoid further Covid restrictions pays off, the Conservative Party is expected to return to the lead.

However, Stammer’s biggest challenge is his party.Last year, 61% of the public describe They are patriotic themselves, but 44% of Labour Party voters did so, compared with 88% of Conservative Party voters.

Even though he wanted to readjust, Starmer still bothered him. On Tuesday, someone asked him why he chose not to mention his left-wing predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, who had lost two elections but was still cherished by many in the party. “I keep quoting Attlee, Wilson and Blair because they won,” he pointed out briefly.

Since Corbyn is no longer a Labour MP and he has no prospect of returning, Starmer is trying to draw a line in his era. Fifteen years after Blair Led Office, the laborer is accepting what his government has achieved-a sure sign that the party may take the election seriously.

sebastian.payne@ft.com

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