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Political notes

We are in a populist, angry moment. But the real story is the failure of Labour's elite, now as discredited as the Tories before them

By Richard Reeves   June 2009

“We are the servants now,” Tony Blair said in 1997, as he pledged to “restore trust in politics.” Blair’s goal was not to destroy the establishment but to update it, replacing a tired and slightly corrupt conservative elite with a new establishment forged through meritocracy and entrepreneurialism. As Chris Mullin, the former junior minister, wrote in his diaries: “Blair went funny around money.” But it wasn’t just any money. It was new money. The entrepreneurs and risk-takers were the business wing of his new elite. Branson, Stelios, Sugar, Goodwin; all were knighted under Labour. Parliament also began to resemble the…

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