This woman must never become leader of the Labour Party.
The Conservatives won the election, therefore Labour should become more Conservative. This in essence is the argument being pursued by the Blairite wing of the Labour party at the moment.
The chief proponent of this argument is the current second favourite for the leadership: Liz Kendall. Kendall pursued this point in front of a press gallery lunch yesterday.
Kendall’s simple pitch has since been described variously by members of the lobby as “brave,” “bold,” “courageous,” and “modernising”. In reality it was none of these things.
And far from being modernising, Kendall’s pitch was the exact same one we’ve been hearing from the Blairite wing of the party for about twenty years.
The problem with this approach is that the world has moved on from when Tony Blair first became leader. Back then Labour won by pitching to the right, safe in the belief that Labour’s core voters had nowhere else to go. That simply is no longer the case. As we have seen from the rise of the SNP in Scotland and Ukip in the North, Labour’s core vote have been taken for granted for too long. Simply talking about ‘John Lewis voters’ while backing more private sector involvement in the NHS is not enough to win back all the millions of voters who have deserted the party.
The Blairite answer to these difficulties is to dismiss them and hope that Labour’s problems in the north and Scotland will just sort themselves out. This is fantasy.