Scaremonger Leslie still represents the ugly side of neoliberal New Labour

Chris Leslie: Neoliberal, Blairite, behind the times – another closet Tory.

Today The Guardian wants to tell us the mainstream Labour Party thinks Jeremy Corbyn’s “starry-eyed, hard left” policies would keep the Conservatives in power for another 10 years at least. What a shame the paper is relying on the words of closet Tory Chris Leslie to make that point!

Leslie is the politician who, as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told the Huffington Post last year that a future Labour government would not undo the Coalition’s hugely unpopular cuts but would continue to impose the austerity that has kept our economy in crisis for the last five years.

In that case, as Vox Political argued at the time, why bother voting for Labour? We’ve already got one lot of Conservatives in power; there’s no need for any more.

Particularly galling is Leslie’s claim to represent the concerns of the “progressive left of centre” – a part of the political landscape he cannot ever claim to have inhabited. He’s a regressive member of the Uptight Right.

In the HuffPost interview, Leslie told us: “George Osborne has had his five years to eradicate the deficit. I am determined that we finish that task on which he has failed”. In response, This Blog asked how he proposes to achieve that aim, if his methods are the same?


Chris Leslie’s idea of socialism: Seems a lot like Toryism, doesn’t it?

The man just wasn’t making sense then – and he isn’t making sense now.

Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a hard-left politician; Leslie’s problem is that his politics is too far to the right of the political spectrum for him to belong in the same party – he isn’t a Labour politician at all. Austerity is not the answer to the UK’s woes – five years of insane Tory ideological policies have demonstrated that.

The people are crying out for a change – the overwhelming victory of the SNP, with it’s anti-austerity posture, at the general election demonstrates that – and claims that England is not the same as Scotland in this regard are groundless because many English people have been saying they would have voted SNP if they could.

Mr Leslie is wrong – in what he says, in what he has been doing, and in his choice of political party. Like Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and certain other high-profile neoliberals, he should cross the floor and join the party he really represents.

His announcement that he would not work for Mr Corbyn is the best news we are likely to get all day – and he should keep his scaremongering to himself.

The “starry-eyed, hard left” economic strategy of Jeremy Corbyn would hand the Tories at least another decade in power and end up hurting poor people by leading to higher inflation and interest rates as well as cuts in public spending, the shadow chancellor has said.

As Corbyn outlines plans to end “the years of political and economic austerity” to help create a high-skilled workforce in Britain, Chris Leslie has become one of the most senior Labour figures to say he would decline to serve under the veteran leftwinger.

In a sign of the deep unease at senior levels of the Labour party that Corbyn could be on the verge of a historic breakthrough by the left to win the party’s leadership, Leslie told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday: “This is a fork in the road for the Labour party. On 12 September we will know what the fate is of the progressive left of centre. There are millions of people whose living standards and working conditions depend on making sure we get this decision right, otherwise we face a decade or more of Conservative government.”

Source: Corbyn’s economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says | Politics | The Guardian

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  1. Neil Shaplin August 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    He’s absolutely right, you know.

    There ARE “millions of people whose living standards and working conditions depend on making sure [the Labour party] get[s] this decision right”, and all of them are praying that Corbyn wins the leadership election and starts bringing the Labour party back to the centre-left where it belongs. If red Tories like Leslie say they won’t work with him, then good riddance.

    How many of them, though, will u-turn should Corbyn win, when they realise that to step away from the Labour party means they will have to give up all those delicious expenses and other perks?

  2. Steffi Thompson (@SteffiThompson) August 3, 2015 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    you forgot to mention that Leslie was the director of the New Local Government Network, described as a “Blairite think-tank.” ‘

  3. adriancruden August 3, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    This would be the anti-rent control landlord, Chris Leslie?

    • Mike Sivier August 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm - Reply


  4. Joan Edington August 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    This guy and all the others who say they wouldn’t serve in a Corbyn cabinet. They all sound as if this would be a great loss. I doubt very much if Corbyn would want any of them. As you say Mike, he is giving the English voters the same sort of hope that the SNP gave the Scottish voters in May, whether you believe them or not, and would probably start from scratch. He may have to keep Ian Murray, mind, due to circumstances.

  5. Ian August 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Orwellian language, eh? Crypto-Tory, neoliberal, Chicago school morons become ‘progressive left’? There is absolutely nothing in the Blairite ideoliogy – such as it is – that could be described as either left or progressive, the few leftish things they id in government were done to try and retain the support of their traditional voters and the unions.

    This Leslie person thinks Labour are at a crossroads, I disagree. I say Labour took a wrong turn in the nineties, picked up a few undesirable hitch hikers along the way – to strain the analogy somewhat – and might now be bout to get back on track.

    On a related note, apparently Roy Hattersley was once considered right wing yet if you read his New Statesman columns he’d be classed as a raving commie. That’s how degraded political discourse has become now due to the overweening influence of the right wing media and the widespread acceptance as the norm by people who should know better.

  6. Gusman Jones August 3, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Up against the wall class traitor,

  7. Wayne Leon August 4, 2015 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Tired. Tired of ‘Labour’ MPs pretending to show ‘concern’ for the poor, while still willing to uphold and continue with austerity AGAINST THE POOR! Go and join the Conservatives, because that’s where you really belong.

    We, the people, are sick to death of right wing Conservative-light Labour MPs, who are ‘Conservatives’ in everything but their name.

    You may fool some of the people some of the time, BUT YOU WON’T FOOL THE VAST MAJORITY OF US! Chris Leslie, we shall cry no tears when you eventally leave Labour after Corbyn wins the leadership.

    After all, you will only be following your ‘Conservative’ instincts which will not allow you to stay any longer. All I wll say is, THANK GOD FOR PEOPLE LKE CORBYN WHO SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE!

  8. mrmarcpc August 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Corbyn is true Labour, the others aren’t, that is why they are unpopular, untrustworthy and unelectable, slinging mud at Corbyn is just hurting the party, but that is what the tories want, divide and still rule!

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