Personally, I hope that his efforts are rewarded with the same result as that achieved by Nicolas Sarkozy who managed to scrape third place in a three horse race in his party’s primaries.
But Blair has higher ambitions. As well as his regular conversations with Peter Mandelson and an alleged search for Westminster premises to accommodate 130 staff – hasn’t he got enough property already? - he’s also been talking to the egregious George Osborne, whom the ‘lightweight’ Theresa May quickly discarded after her ‘election’ as Tory leader. Significantly, he has recruited Jim Murphy, the man who presided over the total collapse of Labour in Scotland.
What, I wonder, does this presage for politics in this country? Is there a ‘vacuum at the heart of the body politic’ that must be filled by the likes of Blair, Osborne and Murphy?
It seems to me that they were instrumental in creating the vacuum. Peter Hain records a conversation with Mandelson in the early days of New Labour in which he (Mandelson) states that “we don’t need to worry about the working class – they have nowhere else to go”.
They sure as hell did.
They did in the States, too. And I fear that their European counterparts will also embrace the similar rhetoric of the hard right parties in France and Italy, Austria and Germany.
Throughout the world, the neoliberal consensus has disintegrated. The centre cannot hold. What it does is move to the right, distorting the traditional alignments to the extent that the Corbyn-McDonnell economic policy (which is actually significantly to the right of the old SDP) can be termed by the mainstream media as ‘ultra-left’.
As a member of the Labour Party, I am not allowed to call anyone in the party a ‘Blairite’. People have been expelled for this heinous breach of the rules. And bizarrely, the ban applies even to Blair himself.
So I’m not clear what this new grouping of the ancien regime, if it materializes, should be termed. I am assuming that it will be a separate party – there is little chance of Blair winning an internal leadership election or even being selected as a candidate within Labour. We’ve seen how New Labour operated and the damage that it caused to the Labour movement, leaving behind – and losing the votes of - millions of traditional supporters. Those of us who remain and the thousands of new members will not accept it.
But the Liberal Democrats might. And Hilary Benn and Tom Watson and Angela Eagle and Owen Smith might.
There have been rumours since Corbyn’s second election that the Blai – sorry, the Labour right-wingers - have plans for a new party. Such a move has been mooted too many times to be mere speculation.
I would not be averse to this. They would receive the backing of the majority of the mainstream media, of course, just as did the SDP Gang of Four. They would probably receive massive financial support from the hedge funds and the City.
But the neoliberals are well past their sell-by date and winning genuine popular support in the country as well as within the enclosed world of the Westminster bubble is not the same as briefing and plotting against your party leader.
'You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you."
Today from the everysmith vaults: Something of a concentration on the finer points of Bob at the de Montford Hall, Leicester in 1966, a show I attended but had not heard since the recent Live Recordings. Also and primarily, Captain Beefheart, especially the Hoboism bootleg and, having just discovered some long lost cousins, Big Eyed Beans from Venus. Oh my oh my!