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Labour’s real leadership problem

Tony Blair is not the cause of the Labour party's fundamental problems. Their roots go back to constitutional changes made in 1981

By Hugh Roberts   October 2006

The difficulties the Labour party is having in managing the succession to Tony Blair are symptomatic of a fundamental feature of the entire New Labour project. The proclamation of this project following Blair’s accession to the party leadership in 1994 simultaneously defined and condemned everything that went before it as “old Labour.” This manoeuvre not only disqualified and disfranchised all other points of view, but made radical amnesia the mandatory medium of political argument within the party. It thereby disabled the party from thinking purposefully about the origins and nature of its own internal problems, which can only be understood…

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