Statement to Tony Blair

Hinrich Kuhls kls at unidui.uni-duisburg.de
Mon Oct 7 16:16:39 MDT 1996


E-mail from Jonathan E. Flanders, 07-Oct-1996:

>  Last night I watched a bit of Blair's speech to the Labour Party conference
>on C-Span, followed by the Clinton-Dole debate, which I watched for a
>half-hour or so.
>
>  I was struck by the Reagan-Clintonesque image Blair projected. This is truly
>an international phenomenon of the television age.
>
>  Blow-dried Blair offered up sentimental anecdotes, platitudes and paens to
>opponents in the grand Reagan tradition. We have come a long way in bourgeois
>politics from the haggard image of Nixon in the 1960 debate with Kennedy.

Actually these similarities are due to 'hard' organisational work, not just
a phenomenon:

"Much of what Blair has accomplished was begun by Kinnock. Their projects
are seperated, however, by more than John Smith's brief interregnum. There
is a different rhetoric, symbolised by the 'New Labour' label adopted (in
imitation of Bill Clinton's self-description as a 'New Democrat') by the
Blair leadership, and it has different intellectual roots." [p. 21]

"For the visit of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to Clinton's 'transition team'
after the Presidential election of 1992 see John Rentoul, Tony Blair
(London: Little Brown, 1995), Ch. 13: Much of the visit was arranged by the
Political Secretary at the Washington embassy, Jonathan Powell; in 1995 he
left the foreign service to become Blair's 'head of private office'. One of
Powell's brothers, Chris, ran an adverstising agency which had the Labour
Party's account. Another brother, Charles, had been Thatcher's Private
Secretary." [p. 30]

From: Colin Leys, The British Labour Party's Transition from Socialism to
Capitalism, in: Are There Alternatives? - Socialist Register 1996 [London:
Merlin Press], pp.7-32

In addition to this little footnote Colin Leys' article contains very good
background information on the changes within the Labour Party and some
theoretical approaches to explain these changes.

Hinrich




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