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The Defence of the Ignorant Teenager

In Events, Home Affairs, Party politics on September 11, 2010 at 12:30 am


A message from the Co-founder

by Jack Blankley

First things first, may I say hello to all the readers of The Daily Soapbox out there, as a co-founder of this blog I am utterly disgusted that this is actually the first time I am actually writing for it. I suppose my excuse is I actually didn’t know how difficult it is to write one of these things, and also downright laziness.

If you’re reading this expecting a teenager (or twenteen in my case) to defend myself against all the prejudices which there are against the younger generation then I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. I am actually going to defend New Labour, which as of the 8th September 2010, was 16 years and 2 months old, and which like many of us at that age is going through a very sickly and worrying patch.

The importance of New Labour cannot be understated. Without it I would worry this country would not have a credible opposition to the coalition, at a time when cuts are going to devastate huge regions where the public sector is the main employer. With an Old Labour, 80’s opposition, the country would not trust Labour; now I know the critics would argue that they lost faith in New Labour at the last election, but even though there was the worst economic disaster in 70 years, an unpopular war, an even more unpopular leader, and the infamous “bigot” quote; the country still didn’t give the Tory party a majority in parliament, at 36% of the vote, nowhere near as much New Labour won in 1997 when it was still a toddler.

The biggest ideological difference New Labour has over Old Labour is actually a very Tory idea, that is that you will make much more of a difference in government then outside of it, and the way you do that is by appealing to everyone, not just the left (and this is coming from a nutty lefty at Sussex University).

Remember the minimum wage, devolution, improvements in waiting times in hospitals, the complete regeneration of some inner cities which were horribly ignored by the last Tory government. Remember the Good Friday agreement, equal rights for homosexuals, remember the rebuilding of relations with Europe, remember that New Labour politicians made unprecedented actions on the banks to stop this country from having a depression. These changes were mostly opposed by the Tories and can only be done inside government.

I know New Labour isn’t the finished article – it had cash for honours, the Iraq war and foundation hospitals, it gave too much power to the banks – but who is at 16? And going through that traumatic break up of its parents Brown and Blair has always limited its growth. But it’s now looking for a new parent, to take it through the next stage of its life; and I fear if it gets the wrong guidance and leadership, it could turn from a promising, still relatively new ideology into a forgotten about, no hoper who has never really been given the opportunities to fulfil its own potential, nipped in the bud at only 16.

The Labour leadership contest will decide this. I hope people give it a second chance or I fear the Tories will be able to put through their own policies for the long term.