Dear Mr. Blair
We have not met, but I have talked to your former colleague Gordon a few times and I did some academic work on his 5 tests for Euro entry. I saw a report that you were mystified by the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. I had an article yesterday in The Independent that might help you understand your puzzle.
I know you find it strange that people that appear to you like those your predecessor Neil Kinnock did battle with over the future of the Labour Party in the 1980s are now running the party. It must also seem strange that in the US where socialism once seemed to be regarded as a perversion, large numbers should be supporting a socialist candidate. You suggest some explanations, but you do not mention the power of finance, inequality and the senselessness of austerity. You say that these new leaders will not be electable. But if the alternative is to try and elect leaders from the centre who will do nothing to confront these great issues, and will instead cut spending, accept stagnation and wait for the next financial crisis, is it any wonder that many people would rather take their chance with someone different?
Please do not take this the wrong way. I generally look favourably on the achievements of your government when you were Prime Minister (that war apart). I hope, by reading my piece, or articles others have written, you will understand that the situation today is not the same as the early 1980s. At that time the expansion of the financial sector had only just begun, and the income share of the 1% was only beginning to turn upwards. If you can see this, I would ask that you do one final thing for Labour party members and for those, like me, who try and challenge the damaging policies of the current government.
There are many Labour MPs and left leaning journalists who seem to share your puzzlement, and have decided that they have to fight again the battles of the 1980s by doing everything to undermine their new Labour leadership. For example your friend Peter has recently reaffirmed that Labour is a broad church, but it seems for him it is like a church where those once in charge cannot countenance others being in the priesthood. Rather than celebrating the enthusiasm and interest of the many young people that have recently joined (even if they regard some of their aspirations as naive), and who will be vital in future election campaigns, this overtly anti-Corbyn group seem to regard them as a threat.
You know the electorate above all else hates divided political parties. You might note that the strategy of this group, by creating division at every turn as a means of achieving what they see as their ultimate goal, is not so different from that of some of the left wing militants that you and your predecessors had to deal with. Please tell them to stop. I fear they need someone they respect like you to point out the foolishness of their actions.
This post was first published on Mainly Macro