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Is Tony Blair a Socialist


John Simkin
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“I came to socialism through Marxism”. These are the words of Tony Blair. They appeared in a letter that he wrote in 1982. In the letter he also praised the left-wing ideas of William Hazlitt and Thomas Paine. Did he mean it? Of course he didn’t. It was in a letter to the Labour leader, Michael Foot. Blair was trying to win favour by suggesting he was a left-winger. He had done his research (Foot idolizes Hazlitt and Paine).

In truth, Blair has never been a socialist. He originally claimed this belief in order to win the affections of his future wife who was a passionate socialist at university. He now insists that no government minister ever uses the word socialist. Instead they have to describe themselves as “social democrats”. It is no surprise that those Labour politicians who left to form the Social Democratic Party (later merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats) are to the left of the current government. So also are the right-wing leaders of the Labour Party in the 1980s who opposed Foot in the 1980s, for example, Denis Healey and Roy Hattersley.

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“I came to socialism through Marxism”. These are the words of Tony Blair. They appeared in a letter that he wrote in 1982. In the letter he also praised the left-wing ideas of William Hazlitt and Thomas Paine. Did he mean it? Of course he didn’t. It was in a letter to the Labour leader, Michael Foot. Blair was trying to win favour by suggesting he was a left-winger. He had done his research (Foot idolizes Hazlitt and Paine).

In truth, Blair has never been a socialist. He originally claimed this belief in order to win the affections of his future wife who was a passionate socialist at university. He now insists that no government minister ever uses the word socialist. Instead they have to describe themselves as “social democrats”. It is no surprise that those Labour politicians who left to form the Social Democratic Party (later merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats) are to the left of the current government. So also are the right-wing leaders of the Labour Party in the 1980s who opposed Foot in the 1980s, for example, Denis Healey and Roy Hattersley.

What is truly amazing is why the Labour Party and Labour movement have allowed themselves to be hijacked by an obvious Thatcherite.

I can understand the desire for "power" after so many years of Conservatism but power without principle or progressive vision is ultimately pointless.

The facts that the present Labour government has overseen the privatization of essential services, a widening of the gap between rich and poor, the diminution of workers rights and job security and the marginalization of the trade unions is extraordinary.

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